Day 18. 68km. Bergün – Livigno

Posted: September 30, 2014 in Cycling, Italy, Switzerland
Tags: , , , ,

My heart is thumping, my panting is almost all I can hear. Through the adrenalin rush I can hear and observe only one sound. There is no brain capacity for more. The jingling of cow bells. The gush of water. The sprinkle of rain. Or pure silence in the beautiful mountains. The Drahtesel is conquering the Alps.

Looking down from the Albula Pass

Looking down from the Albula Pass

Today I was greeted by lots of lovely people, all wishing me well on my route. At the top of the Albula Pass, on a hiking road to Zernez, on the bus (!) to Livigno, in the hotel and more.

Many look at my bike, trying to find the electric battery. So many people use them around here. I don’t know how easy it would be to charge such a battery in Tajikistan on the Pamir Highway. One would need a mother of a solar panel. 🙂

I hereby name my bike ‘Drahtesel’. Such a cool name, first used by Viktoria Schulte from the Kölnische Rundschau. While crawling up the mountain, I found myself talking to Drahtesel. For me it signifies a heavy but sturdy beast, that, slowly but surely, scales anything. We’re getting there Drahtesel! You’re doing well, Drahtesel. Drahtesel scaled his first pass in the Alps today – the Albula Pass (2315m).

Albula Pass

Albula Pass

Sunrise in Bergün before the Albula Pass

Sunrise in Bergün before the Albula Pass

Looking up at the Albula Pass

Looking up at the Albula Pass

Then Drahtesel flanked the side of the valley in the forest, following a river down to Zernez. Although the river was flowing in my direction (I checked that), it was a steep up and down affair on gravel roads. The group of swiss walkers I met there made my day. What a lovely bunch. They told me all about the railway that was built there, and how the bridge collapsed 100 years ago and killed lots of workers.

The Swiss walkers

The Swiss walkers

The railway bridge

The railway bridge

Mountain view

Mountain view

My planned route was a turnoff from the road leading to the Ofenpass. Oops. I was wondering how the road was going to magically pass into Italy. There were no obvious side rivers. Just massive mountains everywhere. Well, a bike-free tunnel with a bike shuttle bus. My first cheat of the trip (only 3km – I don’t feel too bad about that).. 🙂

The road through to Italy

The road through to Italy

And then ‘Hello Italia’. My home for the coming week or two.

Hello Italia

Hello Italia

Lake Livigno

Lake Livigno

Comments
  1. Pat Gaudry says:

    Hi Matthew,
    Writing from Australia with its major skin cancer problems and remembering it was your mother who correctly identified a skin cancer on the tip of my nose as she had a recurring cancer there, I hope you are using a suitable sunscreen with high block out factor each day.
    Having spent so much of the past 20 years in northern Europe you will not be used to so much sun and are probably absorbing your previous annual quota each week now.
    Remember slip, slap, slop or live to regret it. Enjoy the ride but cover up!
    Pat

  2. Frank says:

    Matthew,
    it is strange to see you moving along bit-by-bit while we continue in our daily routine. Many thoughts… Too bad you were hit by so much rain in Germany. By now you have left familiar (to me) bike territory. You actually skipped the most beautiful part of the Neckar valley. But ‘no worries’ ;-), probably you already made up for it and certainly there are much more rewarding experiences ahead…
    Gruesse aus Aachen, bleib gesund,
    Frank

    • Hey Frank.
      Good to hear from you! Indeed, I heard later that the part of the Neckar between Heidelberg and Heilbronn is beautiful. As it turned out, I could have made it time wise and still get to Heilbronn that evening. Anyway, I have seen lots of nice stuff anyway.. 🙂

      How is the bike webcam coming along? I’m glad I could make someone happy with it.. 🙂

      Grüße aus Livigno.

      Matthew

  3. Matthew a did that Albula pass in almost 10 Years ago from Italy into Austria a will never forget it it was a wonderful clime.

  4. dvanderzwaan says:

    Ja je bent “on the road” samen met “drathesel” wat een geweldige naam. De bijzonder mooie foto reportage …wow ik zit er helemaal klaar voor. Zo bijzonder dat wij buitenstaanders hier van mogen meegenieten. Succes Matthew!!
    groetjes Trudi

    • Hey. Dankjewel Trudi.

      Vandaag zit het weer niet mee.. Regen, regen en regen. Ik denk dat ik de Passo del Stelvio niet probeer vandaag. Alleen een stukje naar het begin van de pass, en wacht op morgen – het weer zou morgen beter zijn! 🙂

      Geen mooie foto’s vandaag, dus.. 😦

      Maar, regen hoort erbij!

      Matthew

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