Vespa Alp Days Zell am See 2020

Created by Ralf Jodl at 17:10 on October 6, 2020

I first met Isabelle in Belfast, at the Vespa World Days. This year she, with some friends, came to Zell am See for the Vespa Alp Days. Here is here charming report, complete with marvelour pictures:

“Night up on the Großglockner Mountain Pass.“

Meeting point, as always, was the Check-in in Zell am See. As it happened we got there a bit late. But then it had felt as if, on the road up from the Allgäu, every owner of a tractor had thought it necessary to parade it for us. While repacking the gear, in a hurry, of course, I then properly pinched my thumb. Still I managed to put on the glove, two sizes to large. The rest of the riders had been waiting patiently, without complaint, and everybody was touchingly attentive, nice and helpful. That’s the Vespa family for you.

For a change it isn’t the mask that is breath-taking but the panoramic view and the calm up here. There were no incidences on the road, everybody arrived well, whole and content, so in the end it was a good day! 

Now only the Vespa needs to be locked down quickly and then on to a well-deserved beer, yippieeh! 

Our place for the night. The Wallackhaus.

In the morning we were welcomed by a clear blue sky and the sun, over rugged mountains. 

My pinched thumb has turned a very fetching shade of blackish blue, throbbing is better though and using the clutch should be easier today. After a rich breakfast we’re off, down the mountain on the other side. Riding downhill isn’t my favourite really, but the view from every corner, down into the valley, simply is awesome. Once we’d finished the descent we had to deal with a flat tire on one of the scooters. Soon a number of locals gathered around us and helped out with advice and impressive semi-expertise, so the wheel was quickly changed and on we went.

The entire valley smells of freshly mown grass, the sun continues to shine as it should and at 20° C life simply is great. One corner after the other, hardly any traffic, so we put the tiger in the tank and let rip. While meticulously sticking to (most) of the rules of the road code, of course. My engine never misses a beat (DR 177 kit), and the SIP Performance tyre properly sticks to the road. 

Oh, yes: Whoever modelled this landscape here: You did well! 

After taking over our accommodation for the night we still ached for some more twist of the wrist, so we rode around the Millstätter lake. Christ, it really is beautiful here! And, apparently, we have a well-meaning angel travelling with us, because, by chance, we came across an old villa by the side of the lake, where you sit right by the lakefront, in a secret garden. 

Huge luck, let it continue like that!

Leaving in the morning is not easy because of our lovely hosts. We would have loved to stay longer, Christa and Erhardt are simply lovely, entertaining, and they make sensational “Jausen” to boot! Still we started our ride across the Turracher Höhe and left Kärnten and entered Steiermark with the weather still brilliant. Then it was down the pass on the other side, only to feel that this route was so enjoyable that it should have been much longer. The road meanders down the valley, following the river, and after that the Obertauern-Pass awaits us.

Once we’re up at the top it’s high time for a break – and as expected we are having one. After we had about a trillion American Iron horses pass us on the way up three of the Harley guys in the restaurant heartily admire us, both amazed and impressed that we didn’t really lose much time on them on the way up. I share the sentiment – what good was the one litre of displacement advantage again? Oh, yeah, right: nothing!

And off we are again, down into the valley and then along the very same, till we reach Zell am See where the check-in is due. 

Vespa Alp Days Zell am See 2020

The 11th edition of the Alp-Days really are something else!

Where in past years you had to wait with a veritable army of others to be given your packs, and patiently had to suffer the tuning talk and the endless wait, this year things look completely different.

All that’s missing for a perfect desert impression is some tumbleweed. But: everything runs super smooth and quick, perfectly organised with a warm welcome and the joy of reunion. So the awkward feeling makes room for the anticipation and the looking forward to the days we will spend together! A huge thank you to Franzl and Nicole – this is fantastic up to now!

Friday, day of the Alp-Days-cuddly toy quest!

Before we set out together we climb up to the Mitterberghof, where there is a huge picture frame installed. And understandably so. The view of the valley is nothing short of spectacular. 

Perfect calm before we rev up the engines and take off. The real noise is yet to come with the cuddly toy quest. Surprising to see so many Vespisti here after all! As always there’s plenty of chatting and joy of reunion, both of which had been in short supply up to now. Without the stage, which wasn’t possible this year, there wasn’t much of a central gathering point. Franz does another round, and then the it’s time for the start. Everybody gets a stamp card and a pen, and then we all have three hours to find the checkpoints and the solutions to the riddles.

Unfortunately somebody forgot to close the box with the idiots, some guys from Vienna lost patience and kept pushing and jostling towards the start – but then it is a challenge not to be underestimated to ride a meticulously pre-planned route on a brand-new 300 with a few brakes and intellectually perfectly manageable question and the prospect of a cuddly elephant as the crowning glory at the finish.

Good job all others did the right thing: Which was to enjoy the ride and the scenic route and the warm welcome at the checkpoints! Long story short: It was perfectly planned fun!

Saturday, the day of the traditional ride up the Großglockner.

9:30 Riders’ briefing, 10:00 Start! A great tout with lovely corners, through sleepy villages to the bar of the toll route, where everything, as usual, is perfectly prepared. Then everybody pushes toward the summit as best as we can. 15 hairpin bends and many curves need to be dealt with, and everybody deals with that challenge differently. We decide to reward ourselves with two breaks to enjoy the view over mountains and into the valley – all that is almost surreal.

At the top a traditional goulash, served from the proverbial canon, awaits us. It’s a real treat, it’s windy up here and the drop in temperature relative to the valley is very obvious indeed. But then that’s what Franzl warned everybody who wanted to listen of in the brochure. Those who did listen are well prepared now. Those who sought better, and heroes, seek shelter in the restaurant. Which also is where an impressively prized wealth of souvenirs awaits everybody. I personally prefer my memory and a picture to take away.

The last of the Alp-Days 2020 starts with the annual mayoral reception in Zell – not for everybody though, only for the presidents of the clubs. After that everybody gets a chance to receive blessing for himself and for the small wheeled partner. Despite our affinity to anything clerical we sit this one out and go for a sun-tour in the valley instead, where we again find lovely quiet spots.

Hence the last day too is a great one, and, as every year, we leave with many a fond memory stored away. It was a great time we had, and even though this year everything was different everything important, in the end, was the same: the Alp-Days Team is impossible to beat! Always present, always professional and always enjoying what they do. Thank you, and we’ll definitely come back!! 

And the technical resume:

Clutch, brake and gear cables as spares are recommended, as is a spare wheel and a spare inner tube. The old Vespa ladies do need some (well deserved) tender loving care every now and then. They did carry us bravely despite their age, and did us proud in doing so. And when riding through a valley, on a dirt road, up in the high alps, with old men, wearing linen shirts, mowing the grass with scythes, even a 60-year-old Vespa somehow feels modern.

It was a great tour with priceless anecdotes to remember.

And now we’re off to the Allgäu – looking out for a few more alpish curves. 

Servus !

Dream Roads in the austrian Alps

Ralf Jodl
Ralf Jodl

Ralf is managing director and co-founder of SIP Scootershop. He has been riding Vespa since 1990 and even today the working day starts best for him when he rides to the SIP headquarters in Landsberg on his Rally 200. Otherwise he owns a 180 SS, a 160 GS and a VM2 fenderlight Vespa.