In and around Lake Como

I arrived at one of northern Italy’s nicest camp grounds Rivabella in Lecco a couple of days before the start of the Moto Guzzi 100+1 anniversary.

What a view to have every morning.

And every night.

The Moto Guzzi factory is in Mandello del Lario on the shores of Lake Como. The 100th festival ran from 8-11 September. But that’s for the next blog. This one is about the setting.

Lake Como and Mandello del Lario are just beautiful. This was my fourth visit here 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2022 and each time I’m taken by the beauty.

The Lake is surrounded by high mountains. Mount Muggio is just under 1800 metres high and provides spectacular views of the Lake of Dreams.

It’s a bit of a climb from the carpark. 4.4km return trip and 260 metre elevation climb. But as the video shows worth every step.

My dream to come to the 100th anniversary in Mandello del Lario was the impetuous of 5 years of motorcycle touring adventure in Europe and Morocco.

On my last morning at the camp site it was grey and still and the reflections were sharp on the still water. It’s my last time here. So goodbye Lake of Dreams, dreams can come true!

Three Col (passes) to Italy

From Gorge du Verdon the choice is to head to the French Mediterranean or into the Alps.

I chose the Alps a big U turn into the Alps before crossing to Italy and on to Tuscany.

Before there big passes including the biggest in Europe I couldn’t resist this little one. Every Michael should visit it!

This little Colle sits above the Vale du Verdon

I had followed the Verdon River north toward its source and found a beautiful valley and and the La Colle St Michel.

It’s a remote farming area in France and negotiating the mobs of sheep took me back home to Australia

Then I was up.in the Alps at the Col d Allos

The source of two major rivers in Provence.

And the view!

The next Col though was La Bonette the highest pass is Europe.

Enjoy the view

The weather was looking threatening so it’s was a quick ride with a short stop to take inthe view from the Col de Lombardy, which sits on the France/Italian Border.

I found a little camping in the tiny village of Forani. They had a caravan for hire.

It rained all night, I was snug in a caravan and woke in Italy to amazing views.

The run across Southern France toward Italy

From La Rochelle my next planned destination was Gorges du Verdon. There is a lot of France in between these landmarks.

So let’s have a quick look

I had a card I had picked up years ago for Camping Moto Dordogne. A camping site targeted at bikers.

Lovely shady camp sites amongst the great roads of the Dordogne Region.

There I met Marco (@marcochopperkingz) a French easyrider who marked up my map with a route to the Verdon.

The south of France is beautiful, the small villages, the rivers and the Gorges.

There is a series of 9 motorbike focussed camping places in France my next stop was in the Drome at Le Camping Moto. Another beautiful part of France for riders.

But the best ride in the area was the Combe Laval. An amazing shelf road cut into the cliff face. What a ride.

Then over a misty Col du Machine

And back to Le Camping Moto where a huge BBQ awaited the hungry bikers.

Next stop was Gorge du Verdon and you dear followers have been there with me already.

It was another great ride getting there!

Gorge du Verdon a walker and rider’s dream

The Gorge du Verdon in Provence offers spectacular riding and views from the top of the Gorge and walks up the cliff face and through the Gorge.

Unfortunately due to the long drought in Europe the water levels I n the Verdon River were low but the views still spectacular. And the cold water inviting for a soak on a hot day.

Castellane was my base for exploring the Gorge.

The imposing rock at the edge of the town provides a first glimpse down the Gorge.

Point Sublime is about 17km along the Gorge Road from Castellane and is a starting point for a number of Gorge walks and for canyoning.

The short ride to the Point gave a taste of the riding joys to come but first day was hiking.

It’s about a 300 metre decent down into the gorge a 1 km walk.

At the bottom of the gorge the first stop has to be a dip in the river.

The walk along the Gorge floor follows a tracks, sometimes beside the river, sometimes cut into the cliff and sometimes a tunnel through the cliff.

The next day was for exploring the road around the top of the Gorge and ended up doing some storm dodging and chasing but what views!!!

Some have said the Gorge du Verdon is amongst the most beautiful places in Europe. I won’t argue.

It certainly makes a wonderful backdrop for the Mighty Breva.

Dear friends a lot happened between La Rochelle and Castellane. I’m in Tuscany now and a lot has happened since Castellane. Sometimes adventuring gets in the way of blogging. Luckily this is a discontinuous narrative and I can fill in the gaps later.

Have you heard of the Moncoutant photographic exhibition.

Moncoutant sur Sevre is a beautiful village in Deax Servages and each year it hosts a amazing outdoor photographic exhibition.

I’ve been lucky to be to 4 exhibitions.

It’s not just the quality of the images but the curating in placement around the Village. I have tried to capture both aspects of the exhibition.

Near to Montoucant is the Fortified Farm B&B. A fantastic place to stop take a break when heading east across France toward the Alps or beyond.

The rain had started when I arrived in France. A friend suggested I might be made a saint for breaking the drought!

I was happy to have a bed rather that putting up a tent, thanks to my hosts.

It wasn’t all wet and Jazz the whippet enjoyed the sun.

And me a walk in the forest.

At cloudless night and the low light of rural France gave a clear view of the Milky Way.

A perfect way to finish a stay with the most hospitable hosts in France.