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Wind Of FrieslandGERMANY


Wind Of Friesland

Article published in Speciali di Motociclismo magazine in 2002.

On the occasion of ITT (International Transalp Treffen), in its ninth edition, a short trip to northern Germany, three Leer and Westerstede, in an environment reminiscent of the Dutch one due to the massive presence of windmills and wind farms. A little known area that can reserve surprises for motorcyclists. When will an Italian edition be?

Read the story published in the magazine.

Background: in early February, I'm on the phone with Elio, president of Lissta (it's not a mistake, that's exactly what it is!) Italian Transalp. He talks to me enthusiastically about this meeting in May in Germany, I listen to him in a distracted way, but when I sense the possibility of crossing over to Holland to visit a friend I met in Argentina, I immediately decide to participate: Augustfehn, a place established for the meeting, it is practically on the border with Holland.

On the day of departure, the Italian group, and I would have bet on this, was drastically and dramatically reduced to a single unit, besides myself. We contact us by phone: Stuart (that's his name, he is from Milan, and this makes me doubt that I will be the only Italian in the event), for some obscure reason, he prefers, despite 4 days available, to follow a path motorway, to get to the northernmost part of Lower Saxony.

The adjective "low", for the Germans, indicates the altitude above sea level. Elio is a fugitive, but he manages to put me in contact with a manager of the German club, Jurgen, who offers to host me in case of need.

Needless to say, I accept the invitation, he lives above Nuremberg, a bit out of the way, but what's the hurry?

So on Thursday, after 4 days of transfer, I am finally in front of the registration desk of this umpteenth ITT, in which I participate for the first time since it has become a de facto private event.

In fact, back in 1987, the year of the launch of the Transalp, which would become a bestseller in sales in the enduro category, Honda supported by the European branches, thought of organizing a demonstration or rather a rally, then repeated in the following 2 years, with a success of ever increasing holdings. The idea in itself was brilliant but, as often happens, given such considerable success, he decided to drastically interrupt what is remembered as one of the most successful tourist events.

And thisITT?

It is certainly another thing; they dribble it in alternating years, naturally without the slightest help from the various national branches, the Dutch and German clubs, but I believe that the event has come to a standstill.

Not bad? If we then consider that the French, Italians, Greeks and Spaniards are practically missing from the appeal, one can well imagine what potential such an initiative could have, especially if well supported.

It is no coincidence that the most recurring question, between one beer and another, in the 3 days of Holtgast has always been: "when the next ITT in Italy".

As for this year's edition, I must say that I was not sorry at all. Nice people, nice and helpful, and this Friesland that impressed me very much, in a positive sense, even if it was quite crowded on weekends.

So 2 days of total motion accompanied by a decidedly mild weather, an even splendid one, many motorbikes along canals and traveling in endless expanses of land pushing up, up to the north, on beaches constantly beaten by strong winds, and by this typical gray sea of the north, following only the information on the road book provided by the organization.

This is one of the areas, together with that of the Baltic Sea, where wind energy is most exploited; just think that in all of Germany there are about 3500 plants, mainly located in these 2 areas. The glance is truly remarkable, due to the number and size of mills that sprout like mushrooms, a little everywhere.

And the old windmills? Like those of Don Chishotte? Don't worry, there are still dozens of them scattered all over the place, some even very old and in working order. Do not stop at the most famous, often for a fee because they have become national monuments, but let yourself be guided by these streets, and discover the most hidden and less famous, as happened to me, near Spetzerfen, where you will be greeted by Mr. Steenblock, from the indefinite age, which will first take you on a guided tour, strictly in German, of the mill of the same name, dated 1818, and then invite you for a coffee before signing the guest book.

Greetsiel then, is certainly the most typical of the villages that overlook the East Frisian archipelago; absolutely not to be missed is its historic center.

Thus, going to the discovery of smaller towns, 3 days can literally fly away, arriving on the last evening practically unprepared for such a sudden epilogue.

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