Posts Tagged ‘Merano’


Note: It is now possible to donate to Planet Green, of which Green Pedals is a project which I am supporting with my bike trip. See more here: https://greenpedalsforschools.wordpress.com/donate/

Why cycle along the valley when there are passes to climb? A day cycling the non-standard bike route along the Noce River with my new friend Alessandro from Trento. Oh. And I am now the proud owner of a lucky pig cloth for drying my sunglasses. 🙂

Adige Valley

Adige Valley

Note to self: Climbing 1200m is easier at higher altitudes where it is cooler.
I met Alessandro on the Italian cycling forum, and have received a very warm welcome at his and his wife’s house in Trento. ‘I see you like passes,’ he writes. ‘Well, how about the Gampenpass.’
I googled it. 1518m. Feeling pretty good about myself after scaling the Passo dello Stelvio, I arranged to meet Alessandro in the neighbouring valley to the Adige River. It was hot work.

Adige Valley

Adige Valley

Gampenpass

Gampenpass

All worth while. Here is my new lucky pig sunglass cleaning cloth.

Lucky pig sunglasses cloth

Lucky pig sunglasses cloth

Alessandro met me on the other side of the pass. The nice part about climbing 1200m, is that you then have that in the bank. This extra altitude was spend helping us along getting back to the Adige River. The Noce River is flanked with steep cliff faces, which were, unfortunately, never in the right place in the right conditions for being photographed. I had a go anyway.

Noce River

Noce River

Trento itself is what I really like about European cities. The city is alive with people living, restaurants, bars and things happening. I took some of the standard photos in the main city square before having a lovely evening with Alessandro and his wife Susan.

Trento

Trento

Me and Alessandro

Me and Alessandro


I woke to clear blue skies. The Passo dello Stelvio was calling me and Drahtesel. Forests. Rugged mountains. Hairpins galore. Bare grassy plains, bathed in sun. I stopped pedalling, and there was silence. Just a gentle whoosh of the mountain breeze. Just me, for this moment, in this amazing place.
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When it’s nice weather, take advantage of it.. Strike while the iron is hot.
I guess it must also be old english – ‘strike’. Anyway, in Dutch, ‘strijken’ is to iron, which is good to do when the iron is hot. It wasn’t hot today, but it was sunny, and perfect for climbing the Passo dello Stelvio.

This pass has been on my agenda for ages. I got a tip to do this pass from one of the cycling forums I am writing to. It kind of felt everything has been leading up to this day. Stopping at the start of the pass, I was looking up into the mountains. Up and up and up.

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I cycled up in the shade behind a ridge, first through forests, then through half tunnels, protecting the road from rock slides, then a set of hairpin bends to lift the road up onto a high grassy, lonely plain. On this lonely plain I saw a small ball waddling over the grass. I thought, it looks like an echidna. And then I saw his tail. A beaver! How sweet!

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The road from Switzerland joins the road at the top of the Umbrail Pass. I visited Switzerland one last time before I head further south.
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The top of the pass was busy. Hotdog stands, souvenir shops, and amazing amazing views.
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The descent was FUN! In the sun, the view sweeping from one side to the other as I rounded the bends. Snowy peaks became visible. A big glacier. And it was all downhill.

At the bottom, I followed the Adige River through endless apple orchards.
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Surprisingly, the descent continued. I had to pedal, but, I kept up a speed of 25-30 km/h without much effort. I am sleeping at the Merano camping ground. Again, with a nice sunset.

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