Italy: a different cookie
If you’d ask us what makes bicycle touring so great, our answer would be: freedom. Since we live in an overcrowded country, which can be oppressive, we constantly search for remote areas while bicycle touring. To really experience that happy shiver down our spines as we feel totally free surrounded by vast landscapes. Not another soul in sight. Does Italy have the answer to our desire?
Maybe, but not on this trip. 😉 So, lesson learned, next time it’s offroad again or far less crowded places! I don’t want to sound dissappointed, but in one hour I have seen (and heard) more Porsches, Ferraris and noisy motorbikes than during a car fair! Cycling in this part of the world is a ‘different cookie!’
But, despite our experience, we did find that feeling of freedom. Freedom in moving at our own pace, sleeping in our own tiny home, the sun shining, raindrops falling and the wind blowing. The beautiful and rugged Dolomites and an unknown narrow road climbing to an unknown pass. And unknown means not a lot of traffic! As soon as we reach the pass a steep and hairpinned descend through forested area follows. We pass Tolmezzo and cycle towards the Dolomites, where I’ve been before, but these peaks still amaze me. It was back in 2010, when my friend Chantal and I decided to go hiking here for a couple of days. With backpacks we hiked from one mountain hut to another, seeing Tre Cime (Drei Zinnen) up close and personal. Now, as we ride passed these three beautiful peaks it’s raining and they are hiding behind the clouds. The weather is bleak, but the Dolomites are still well worth to visit.
As soon as we have reached the pass a smooth off road bicycle path brings us all the way down to the valley and the moment we turn left, we leave the rocky peaks behind us to be replaced by smooth rolling hills.
Our plan was to ride up Jaufenpass and Timmelsjoch Pass before returning to Innsbruck where we have to catch the train back to the Netherlands. But, as always, plans change! This time because we lack time… but, we don’t want to leave without riding up a proper Alp pass, so we decide to ride up and down the Jauffenpass just for the fun of it. Really? Really! Who’s idea was that? Yep, Ellen’s… Really? Really!
We leave most of our stuff at the camp site in Vipiteno and armed with a down jacket, rain gear and cameras we start the 15 kilometer ride up to gain almost 1200 meters.
Clouds are rolling in from the West and temperature drops as we get higher and higher. At about 2000 meter a few snow flocks drop. I’m having fun riding up! Really? Really! Climbing without all our stuff is so much easier, wow! Too bad all those ‘Ich habe ein kleines Schwanz’ Porsche, BMW’s etc. riders with fat bellies, barbie chicks and obvious toupets (sorry, but almost all German and sorry, but yes, I am stereotyping) think they are on a racing circuit… Nonetheless, nobody spoils my amazing ride up in speeding time! At the top we treat ourselves to a cappuccino and a huge piece of pie. Yes, the view is great and yes, next year we’ll definately be riding somewhere remote again!