109km San Valentino to Bolzano
Our hard work climbing yesterday paid off today as we hopped on our bikes for a roller-coaster ride downhill and out of the mountains. It really was the bicycle equivalent of being on a theme park thrill ride as the bike path led us around swerving corners, through narrow alleyways in tiny villages and down slopes that were graded as steeply as 20 percent. This continued for most of the day, so although we notched up quite a few kilometers, we really didn’t have to work too hard to get to a big total. In between we had time to lunch under the shade of an apple tree, one of the millions that cover this part of Italy, both on the flatter fields and high up onto the mountainous hillsides. Apples seem to be the sole crop in this area, aside from the odd patch of cauliflower, and it’s harvest time so everywhere we saw farmers out filling green plastic crates with apples ready for market. Plenty of cyclists joined us for the ride along the Adige river and in the afternoon we chatted to German couple who had driven into Italy and were doing short trips around the area. They were very interested in our trip but when we invited them to come along they quickly replied: “not on your life”. Apparently a world exodus doesn’t appeal to everyone! Further down the road we marvelled at another couple going the opposite direction. They had four bags each like we do but also a fully loaded trailer. We thought we carried a lot of stuff. What could they possibly have in that trailer?? We stopped for supper along the bike path and turned on our link to the rest of the world, our shortwave radio, to listen to the BBC broadcasting live from the first day of English football. It’s nice to have a taste of home sometimes. Then we carried on, intending to find a wild campsite but instead we went to the campground in Bolzano. It was nice to set the tent up early, have a swim in the pool and relax before we carry on to the hotter southern parts of Italy.