World Cycle 2014: Italy and Slovenia

Over the second highest pass in the Alps – Passo del Stelvio, and down the Adige Valley. Italy was sun, mountains and lakes. It was also plains, main roads with lots of traffic. Finally, I escaped into Slovenia and breathed a sigh of relief. The roads were quiet and I could experience the scenery again. The caves at Škocjanska jama were an absolute highlight.

Overview: here

Last country : Switzerland
Next country: Croatia

Day 19. 40km. Livigno – Bormio: Rain. Mist. Not a day for Passo dell Stelvio. Instead, I rolled down into Bormio at the base of Passo del Stelvio all ready for the ascent tomorrow in the (predicted) sunshine.
wpid-20141002_135033_richtonehdr.jpg Day 20. 101km. Bormio – Merano: 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.
Day 21. 100km. Merano – Trento: 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.
Day 22. 98km. Trento – Manerba: A picture tells a thousand words. But, a picture doesn’t capture the sound. I experienced the roar of cars and motorbikes for hours, to the beautiful backdrop of Lake Garda. I have been spoiled with the silence and tranquility of my trip up to now. Busy roads will be the norm, and often without the beautiful vistas and cute towns as a backdrop.
Day 23. 72km. Manerba – Verona: Today I felt like an ant, crawling around with thousands of other ants. I was part of the mound of tourist ants. I took photos, holding my phone up high. One of the many. Busses and cars transport the ants along busy roads and then wait outside where the ant density is too high. Drahtesel plies the same roads, and like the busses and cars, waits patiently outside.


Day 24. 111km. Verona – Padova: On a back road in the northern plains in Italy, I thought, this is pretty awesome. I am cycling across the planet. Away from the constant racket of cars, trucks and motorbikes, passing through fields and over valley ridges, I feel like I am cycling again. Not just making sure I’m staying alive. Happy.
wpid-20141007_172033.jpg Day 25. 45km. Padova – Venezia: When I was a kid I loved mazes. Venezia is one big maze of little alley ways, bridges and squares. I ended up cheating and used Google Maps to find my way. And then I watched people on Piazza San Marco.


Day 26. 127km. Venezia – Palmanova: Busy straight roads on the northern Italian plains. Thanks Fabio from the Italian cycling forum for accompanying me for some of today. The kilometres raced by exchanging stories. Then, head down, as I burned the kilometres away. There’s no way to meander here anyway.


Day 27. 77km. Palmanova – Sežana: From busy Italian plains to quiet Slovenian hills. I was warned about the busy traffic near Trieste, so, I thought I would avoid it by cycling through Slovenia. It was lovely.
Day 28. 70km. Sežana – Koper: White horses, science fiction underground river caverns, Trieste in sailing regatta fever, 50kg heave – no gym required, climb into Slovenia. All in beautiful sunshine. Thanks Marko for the tips!

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