Faster than that we have thought, we leave Switzerland and are in Italy.
The first tracks were hard and we enjoyed a break in Bormio. We let our muscles relax in the thermal bath and enjoy a massage:-) We set up our tent between the caravans at the cableway station.
With new energy, we go up to the “Passo di Gavia”. It is a very nice ascent and we can keep up with the fat cyclers ? At the top we look forward to the visit of Bruno and Eva. The two hikes and the common time remain in our best memories. Thank you very much for your visit and for the excellent dinner! Then we cross the narrow pass road of the Gavia over the Passo del Tonale to the Val di Sole.
What is going on with the Val di Sole? It is not so sunny … We brave the rainstorm and we are happy that in Arco we finally meet the summer and Andi finds new cycling shoes. In Arco, we decided not to cycle to Venice, but to surprise Judith’s siblings in Tuscany with a visit.
After an amusing train ride through the “Poebene” from Verona to Parma, we will cycle up to 1000m above sea level and head over to Tuscany. With full speed ahead, we drive along the beach to Piano di Conca, where the holiday villa of Judith’s siblings is. The surprise is successful and we are very welcome. The grill is already hot and at the big table we are served delicious food. We spend the next day at the beach. Thank you very much for the nice stay !! We were able to relax. The next morning we say good-bye to Judith’s siblings and their families and leave again …
It gets so hot! Even for the dogs it is too hot! Fortunately, there are always fountains, which are a welcome cooling.
We decide immediately to set the alarm clock at 05:00 and spend the hot temperatures in cool parks, coffees or shopping centers.
Yes, exactly after so many hours on the bike, the bums can hurt terribly! Judith hopes that the Velomech Andi can do something 🙂
On the national holiday we have a rest day. Well recovered, we continue towards Monte Sibillini. Shortly before our destination to the village Visso, we disregard a closed road. We think that we can pass these with the bike. But there flows a river, instead of a street. During the last August earthquake, the mountain has slipped and has totally destroyed the road. We have no choice and have to return. At lunch in the village we hear that two other mountain bikers have the same problem and the host spontaneously offers a ride by a Jeep up in the direction of Castelluccio.
We drive and push our bikes the rest of the way to Castelluccio. The beautiful view rewards the hard tour! Shocked, we see that Castelluccio was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake …
Since we didn’t come through Visso, we have to get some money down in Norcia. Also Norcia was hit hard by the earthquake, the church is completely collapsed and large parts of the city are blocked off. However, we get everything we need and then we go back to Arquata del Tronto. This road is blocked as well and so we have to drive to the next valley. Since it’s Andi’s birthday, we want to dinner in a nice restaurant. So we decide to go to Amatrice as it is the next bigger village. Shortly before Amatrice we are once again in front of a closed street! We ask and we are told that there is no more Amatrice and only the military is present. The next shop was in Sant Angelo. When we arrive in this place, our breath stops: This village is also totally destroyed! The police help us and explains that Amatrice is accessible from behind and there is a new restaurant in the “Area Food”. Tired we take note of this and fight again over two small pass and 18 kilometers. But we are rewarded and we can enjoy Andi’s birthday dinner in the new “Area Food”.
In the morning we realize that all Amatrice is totally destroyed and we recognize the extent of the earthquake series! At the “Area Food”, a provisional school was also set up, since the other school is no longer safe. 300 people have perished and children ‘s drawings at school show that the processing of the experience will take a long time. We meet an Indian who shows us the destroyed villa of his bosses. He tells us about the happenings and tells us that today, after almost 12 months, the shop opens for the first time. We urgently need food, but the onslaught is so great that we do without it and continue in the direction of Abruzzo to Gran Sasso.
To the Gran Sasso it leads over a larger pass and we enjoy once more in the height to stay overnight. The next morning, the cable car leads us comfortably to 2100m to Campo Imperale. We enjoy the fast ride down and drive through the steppe-like landscape towards Torre de ‘Passeri. We spend the night in a B & B, where we can use our freshly learned Italian 🙂
A narrow, beautiful ravine leads us to the lakes and the park of Abruzzo. For the midday we choose a lake, which should lead over a short Singeltrail away from the pass road. However, this turns out to be a narrow, blocked trail! Since it is mostly downhill, we decide to flee to the front and are rewarded with a shady and secluded spot on the river. The 100 bears and 50 wolves that are supposed to be in this park will keep us from spending the night at this beautiful place, so we will end the torture this evening. At the end, there are still short, flowing singeltrails, which leads back to the solid road. After that, we head down to Scapoli.
After a day of laundry and a rest day, we enjoy the train ride to Napoli. The city and the beaches are quite polluted. The coast from Napoli to Salerno is very nice. It has always lonely bays, whose beauty has also discovered large, luxurious yachts. Again and again we come to beautiful villages and treat ourselves to a Cappuchino.
We are well advanced and already reach Basilicata. Brrr, in Basilicata we are surprised by a cold wind and some rain. As we called, we are lucky enough to find shelter at the roadside in an unfinished, detached house, where we can enjoy the wind protected place to spent the night there. Again and again we strengthen ourselves with the Schüsslersalz 3,5 & 7, so we have our mineral household under control. The beautiful starry sky attracts photographers. Oops! What’s wrong with Andis Expedmatt ?! A first chamber is solved and there are still more … There is no more sleep !!! We look for a replacement. Unfortunately we only find a cheap, uncomfortable mat in Decathlon. Luckily we can order a new one online and thanks Andis’s work colleague Lazaros we have an address in Athens. @ Lazaros: Thank you very much for your help!
Alberobello is a popular tourist destination and also the Giro Italy was there 🙂 It is famous for its trullis. Trullis are houses, which were built after the model of the shepherd’s tent. The roofs are only stacked with stones (without mortar). The fast build-up and dismantling of the city helped to circumvent the taxes in the 17th century.
In the caves of Castellana we make a two-hour tour through the 3-kilometer grotto. They were the most beautiful in the world. Then we go to Bari where we take the ferry to Greece.
Conclusion: Italy is a super country, which we actually already knew 🙂 Everywhere, even in the most remote villages, one gets top Capucchinos and in almost every park it has a fountain with cool water. Top cycling country, although further down we were often glad that we were not with the road bike, since the roads are often quite sh ….