Today would be the hardest day: almost 300km and a lot of mountain passes
including Stelvio and Gavia
We started right on time (well, lets say close enough) for the long ride from
Livigno to Bolzano.
The first bit was up the southern side of Stelvio, before we took a left to head
for the Umbrail-Pass and further down to Glurns where we had our first coffestop.
That was the warm up for the 48 switch-backs of Stelvio.
An amazing road, leading from the foresty valley up to almost 9000ft. The
switchbacks are fantastic to look at from above, but they are not so easy to ride.
Especially not two-up, but Kamran had no problems with it. And Sharon, even though
worried (because she knew this time what was waiting for her) did a great job. She
mastered the beast the second time on this trip!
We had a great sausage lunch (yeah, I know, doesn't sound like much, but Brunos
sausage are famous and so our gourmet crew was very satisfied).
We rode down the mountain pass just to hit the next one few miles down the road.
The Gavia, famous cycling pass for the Giro d'Italia.
The ride up was nice (and one may say bumpy). But the road down is really special.
No rails! Super narrow road!
The clouds just rolled up on it, so in every turn we looked into a whiteout. Very special athmosphere.
We continued and followed over the Passo Tonale and the Mendelpass before we
finally arrived in Bolzano.
Everybody was tired but very happy.
what we enjoyed:
- curves of all kind (tight switchbacks, long sweepers, up, down, flat..)
- scenery pimped with dramatic cloud arrangements
- certainly our beds after that long ride
what we remember:
- italian drivers do not know the word safety distance
- we crossed the borders here so often that even the guide got confused
- The val di Non with the great apple fields
Today is a rest day. Time to rest... no motorbiking... enjoying the little town of Livigno...
Well, not with our group. All lined up in the morning to have a nice spin through the area. Okay, almost everybody: our ladies spent the time to do some shopping and to scout a nice restaurant for the evening (and boy they were sucessfull).
The boys had fun on the bikes. The last stretch on a beautiful road we have been on in the rain the day before was the first bit. Now with perfect weather and temperature. What a blast.
What followed was great scenic routes, when you had time to see it... the curves where challanging and fun...
what we enjoyed:
- the fantastic roads and mountain passes (->boys)
- the shopping (-> ladies)
- peaceful rest (2nd tourguide)
what we remember:
- the scouting abilities of our ladies (mushrooms showed the way)
- the neat little town
- the amazing food in the evening
No warm up today: right out of the hotel the first mountain pass was waiting for
us. The Gotthard. What a great road.
After our coffebreak we hit the first rain and we enjoyed the free bike wash all
the way up to the San Bernhadino. Just to make it a bit more challanging some real
thick fog was added to the menu. Wow.
But everybody mastered the challange and we arrived at the mountain pass as it
cleared up enough a little bit. And it got better as we rode the nice curvy road to
the vally of the very young and small river Rhein.
The next mountain pass is the Splügen. Fantastic riding again. And the clouds
offered a very dramatic scenery.
Just shortly after the mountain pass we stopped for Lunch before the ultimate
downhill ride of the day started.
Super narrow curves carved into a wall that seems to vertical. Some of the turns
are in a tunnel, some swing out on a bridge into the void. Breathtaking...
A nice waterfall was our next stop. time for more fotos!
What followed was the Maloja-Pass, St. Moritz, Bernina-Pass, and our last of the 6
(!) mountain passes that day, the Forcola di Livigno before we hit Livigno.
Did I mention the rain? Oh wow. You could really tell if your rain gears was
The second day started with two mountain passes (Hochtannbergpass and Furkajoch) before we even had a coffestop... wow.
Not enough action? well, lets do a little bob slide down the hill!!
We crossed the little country of Lichtenstein before we entered Switzerland.
Now its time to keep an eye on the speedometer... Switzerland is an expensive country, by all means....
The amazing Walensee (Lake of Walen) on our ride we enjoyed the ride before we climbed the Klausenpass into the town of Altdorf. The famous Wilhelm Tell fired on an apple on his sons head... of course we had to proof we are capable of doing that as well...
Andermatt at 1400m was welcoming us with a nice meal in the evening.
What we enjoyed:
- the ride!
- nice castles
- the landscape of the swiss alps
What we remember:
- famous people are not always real (like Wilhelm Tell)
- don't cross the white line on the right side in tunnels
- ups, he did it again (tourguides informed our young rider of the function and use of doors ("you do not always have to climb to peoples balconys, the swiss came up with a handy invention: doors!")
After everybody has arrived safely at the hotel and the welcome briefing it was time to cover some asphalt.
The first day would bring us from Seefeld to the Walchensee (Lake of Walchen) where we had a coffestop, along the nortern rim of the alps to a monestary (Ettal) and the castle of Ludwig II (Castle Linderhof). We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Alpsee (Alp-Lake) before we had a fantastic ride through the Nameless Valley.
The Spa and swimming pool in our hotel in Warth was very welcome after a nice and easy first day.
What we enjoyed:
- the nice sweepers
- the beautiful lakes
- the first taste of the alps
- the wheather
What we will remember:
- the amazing monestary from 14th century
- now we know what a king size bed really looks like
- our tour member who decided that doors are overrated, why not climb the balcony of some ladys room [the hotel owner as it turned out] ("I am not a crazyman, trust me")
- the same lady saying the next day after seeing him in daylight: "if I knew he was that handsome..."