Day 8 Camping Il Sergente to Bologna – 81kms
We got up early knowing that we had a difficult 3 kilometer climb to the top of Passo Della Futa than another even higher one Passo Della Raticosa before the downhill to Bologna. We started at 05:00 with a stiff 8% climb, just were we left off yesterday. All the climbing was hard today with fantastic views al around, and thankfully very light traffic. We were happy we started so early in the cool of the morning and by 10:00 we were over Passo Della Raticosa and had one of the most wonderful downhills ever. It was a fantastic ride until we reached Bologna city limits, by then is was getting very hot. Coming off the mountains with their cool clean air and getting into Bologna traffic was bad. Camping in Bologna is extremely expensive at €39 including pool but still cheaper than a hotel I guess.
One of the switchbacks to the top of Passo Della Futa.
It seems that this road was part of the famous Mille Miglia races of the past.
Finally the top of the first pass.
And the fantastic views all around. Click to view larger.
The morning mist is still visible in the valleys bellow.
Every time we stopped we couldn’t help but take more pictures.
The climb to Passo Della Raticosa has started.
Looking back from near the top of Passo Della Raticosa.
We came from the lest side of that collapsed hill.
And the top of the second pass.
Monique found some shade to take a break.
The thermometer was showing 37°c but it felt warmer riding in the suburbs of Bologna.
Finally the city limits and an end to a most challenging and wonderful days. And with the temperature knocking on 40°c the large pool at the camping was very nice indeed.
Day 9 Bologna to Mantua – 126kms
We got on the road at 06:45, we wanted a bit earlier but some days its just nice to take a few extra minutes before getting up. We knew it would be a long day today but WOW! The whole ride was flat and we were doing 18kph with over 40°c all day long. The heat in the end was really bad and we both were on the verge of collapse. In Mantua the camping is a small farmers camping, very basic but expensive at €21 for what they offer. After setting up we treated ourselves to pizza and beer. We weren’t in the mood to cook after such a difficult day.
The long shadows of early morning riding.
Wheat fields ready for harvest.
We cycled along many quiet country lanes.
And a few even had shade.
Leaving Bologna and entering Ferrara province.
quite a difference from the mountains yesterday.
And Monique on my rear view mirror.
We passed many Italian cemeteries already but this one we stopped to check out.
Looked like high-rise apartments for the dead.
By early afternoon it was getting hot.
Crossing the river Po.
And the temperature kept rising.
And by quarter to five…
…it topped off at 42°c by the time we reached Mantua and an end to the longest and hottest day we’ve ever ridden.
Day 10 Mantua to Lake Garda – 52kms
We were on the road by 06:15 after a good nights sleep in the basic and mosquito infested camping. Pretty straight forward day, we knew it was about 50kms to the lake and we would a choice of camping when we got there. The roads were good and only a handful of idiots. You know the ones that cut you off just so they don’t have to slow down. We found lake Garda to be extremely busy with hundreds of cars on the road that hugs the lake. We have chosen the wrong time of year to come here. The first camping we decided to check out had over 1000 places and cost €33, but it was hot and we had enough of all the traffic so we agreed just for one night and were out. BUT we later found out that there was no electricity, no WiFi, we needed €2 caps for our heads to get into the pool than later on we found out between 01:00 and 05:00 they would spray the trees for bugs and we needed to keep all windows closed. That was the last straw. I went back and demanded my money back. Now were about a kilometer down the road to Europa camp at €30. We can’t wait to get out of Italy. This evening we sat down and counted our penny’s only to find that we’ve blown our budget in Italy. We had planned for around €50 a day but we’ve been spending around €80 a day. We have underestimated how expensive Italy would be and the time it took us to get to Lake Garda so we decided to take the train to Camping Moosbauer in Bolzano, and the next day take another train to the top of Brenner pass before ridding down to Innsbruck.
Early morning shadow along the SP249.
Fortress wall in Peschiera del Garda.
The extremely busy SR249 next to lake Garda.
Sunset from our camping.
It didn’t take long for these threatening clouds to come over and cool everything down.
Day 11 Camping Europa, Lake Garda to Camping Moosbauer, Bolzano – 19kms
We didn’t sleep well last night. After hearing some bad news from my family in Greece and the bad new about our budget we were feeling pretty down. So we made a straight line for the nearest train station in Domegliara were we had a 2 hour wait for the 2 hour train ride to Bolzano. The camping in Bolzano is good and has a very nice pool.
Early morning ride through country roads.
Lined with many grape orchards.
We wished we had the time and money to ride this pass. Maybe next time.
It’s not the last time we visit the Alps.
Crossing the Torrente Talvera, in Bolzano.
Later on it got very busy but everyone was real cool. We all got together to watch Croatia get cheated out of a game with Brazil in the world cup.
Day 12 Bolzano to Small camping in Unterperfuss (about 8kms West of Innsbruck) – 61kms
Got out of the camping at 07:00 got bread, coffee, cash and made to the train station with 10 minutes to spare for the 08:01 to the top. At 09:30 we started the very beautiful 30km downhill to Innsbruck. It was a fantastic downhill ride and we enjoyed every minute of it. After Innsbruck we tried for the camping we stayed at in 2010 but after checking with maps with me we decided to go for something different. The camping here is very nice and about half the price of the Italian camping’s.
Church in Belzano, Italy.
The downhill begins after Brenner.
We had a more steeper decent than the E45 above us.
Looking back up the valley.
Lunch stop along the way.
Innsbruck is at the bottom of that big mountain straight ahead in the distance.
Another valley with another huge mountain in the distance. Just fantastic views all around.
Innsbruck. click on image for a better look.
Crossing the river Inn, with threatening clouds above.
Heading West upriver to the village of Unterperfuss in the distance. With the dark clouds approaching.
As soon as we set up it started to rain pretty hard. Luckily we found shelter under the porch of an empty cottage next to our tent.
Day 13 Unterperfuss to Tennsee – 41kms
We hit the road at 08:00 after a very good nights sleep. We rode into Zirl, Tyrol soon afterwards and found the nearest supermarket for some supplies. The climbing started immediately after leaving Zirl on the extremely busy 177. It didn’t take us long to figure out that this would be the steepest grade we’ve ever cycled. We weren’t but a couple hundred meters up the road before we were soak wet with sweat. For the next two kilometers we really struggled to get on top of this hill. After the village of Seeveld it became very nice and we enjoyed the rest of the ride. The views were again some of the best ever. Just before the village of Scharnitz on the Austria German border the wind really picked up and being a crosswind we found it difficult to go fast on the downhill. There were many cars the whole ride because the 177 is the main road between Innsbruck and Munich. Camping in Tensee was OK, we camped on gravel but the facilities were second to none from all our tours. Super clean and very tastefully done. They even have bathtubs, and that is a first. Clearly this is ski country.
Looking back we saw the first sign to confirm that we were in for it.
Right after the switch back. Note the road going off to the right, there were several and we can only assume they have these for anyone that has problems with their brakes.
If you miss the Notweg you go off the mountain.
Taking another break about 2/3 the way up.
Can’t see it on Monique’s face but we were glad to have made it here. Surprising how good a 10% grade feels after 2 kilometers of 16% 🙂
When it finally leveled out a bit we really began to enjoy the ride.
Especially with the great feeling of accomplishment.
The views from above were some of the best.
But nothing beats a nice downhill on a good road with views like these.
A monument outside of Seefeld.
Right after Seefeld the downhill began.
Just before the village of Scharnitz. We turned left just before that huge mountain on the left side. If you look closely at the trees, you can just make out how strong the crosswind was.
And the great views continued. We just love Tyrol and will be coming back soon.
We were very happy to be cycling on quiet cycling paths after nearly two weeks next to heavy traffic.
This is more like it, perfect German cycling paths through heavily wooded areas, heaven 🙂