Friday, July 22, 2016

Biking from Munich to Venice


Munich to Bad Tölz

We left our big roller suitcases, my choir dress and folder, and clothes/shoes we wouldn't need and were off on our own with our bikes and two panniers each for the duration of the month.  The clothing included bike shorts/jerseys, shoes, rain jackets, sailing clothing, tourist clothing, medications, spare tubes and a spare tire and toiletries.

The bikes:

We bought Sun brand (knock-offs of Dahon bikes) folding bikes with aluminum frames.

Upgrades: Brooks saddles, welded an extension to the bike rack on the back to hold the panniers and an added cassette for a true granny gear.

Stuffed Panniers

Mike plotting our course 

Kate and her over stuffed panniers

Cycling connects travelling and sport, countries and people, nature and culture, and culinary delights. Delightfully the route leads through three countries, three climate zones, Alpine-Mediterranean environments and five adventure worlds.

In the first of these characteristic adventure worlds of the alpine crossing cycle tour “Munich-Venice” the element water is the permanent companion. In the second section “Treasure chest of Tyrol” the focus is on the tradition of Tyrolean mining and the cultural and nature treasures on the way. The third section begins right behind the Brenner Pass with the “Alpine – Mediterranean lifestyle”. The unique Alpine landscape of South Tyrol with its charm of the Mediterranean south can be seen in many places. In part four the UNESCO world heritage Dolomites dominate the path. On the fifth part, which is without mountains, the “gardens of Venice & art cities” lead through the Venetian plain. The cyclists experience the flair of the world-famous lagoon city, and can dive into the sea near Jesolo.
We cycled through 3 countries:  Germany, Austria, Italy
560 km of biking with an average of 45 miles a day
Through the Alps/Dolomites
3,000 m ascent
Europe has an extensive bike trail system and this dedicated trail (all bike busy road riding).  This trail was completed in 2012, and we were fortunate to benefit from the safety and beauty of it. 

Beautiful Bavaria

Feeling awesome about our first day of riding

We made it to Bad Tölz and missed the rain.  Our friend Claudia told of us a refreshing drink in Germany called a Radler.  We decided to embrace it; half lemonade and half lager.  One fantastic, refreshing drink to celebrate a wonderful day of riding.  Also carb loading.  HA! 


Bad Tölz to Jenbach

Today is my birthday. Severe weather was scheduled for most of the day today, so we decided to take a train 25 miles outside our route to avoid a good part of the severe weather.  We still had 26 miles of riding to do and it poured.  We were soaked from head to toe. Thus, not many photos were taken today.

The beautiful part of the day came when we got to our hotel.  First, I have never been so happy to reach a destination. Second, our host and owner of the Hotel Gasthof Esterhammer in Buch am Tyrol, Austria was amazing.  He saw us arriving as two drowned rats, met us at the front door, and offered to put our wet clothes in the dryer and our wet shoes in the warmest, driest place in the hotel.  After we showered and came down for dinner, he walked with us to the restaurant and made sure we were able to order our food without difficulty. That was the best birthday present ever.

Hotel Gasthof

View from our room


Jenbach to Innsbruck

Another day of clouds but mostly drizzle vs. downpour.  Now I know why Austria is so green and lush.


Innsbruck to Brenner Pass


We took the train from Brenner to the top of Brenner Pass into Italy, as the only road option was a major highway.  Thus, it was a day of rest and time to dry out.  It was chilly!  A record coldest July in Austria.


Brenner to Rio di Pusteria

We are in Italy and it is already a lot warmer.  And sunny.  This is day 4. The Alps are gorgeous but it is a bit daunting knowing we are riding up and over the gorgeous peaks inspiring us up ahead.

Train at the top of Brenner Pass
Old Train Station

Dolomites in the distance
Happy to be in Italy

The gorgeous valley is our first view of Italy

Lamborghini tractor

We had a lovely day of riding up and down mountain passes and rolling hills of grapevines.  We followed the route that had really good signage, but at one point the bike path was closed.  We had to figure out a detour, which was not easy riding.  Thank goodness for the App.


Rio di Pusteria to Dobbiaco

Dobbiaco is the gorgeous Italian town set in the Dolomites.  One of my favorite composers, Gustav Mahler had a home here and has a huge presence.  We arrived in time for a big concert.  Ironically, my friends and colleagues sang Mahler's 3rd Symphony tonight in Vail, CO with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  A big part of me wanted to be there because it's one of my favorite choral works, so it was sweet to be here, surrounded by such beauty and channeling Gustav Mahler by his home. We also stayed at the lovely Romanik hotel.

Mahler's home
 Concert poster


Dobbiaco - Pieve di Cadore

Today was a gorgeous ride up and over the Dolomites through the Tres Cime National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  This was one of my favorite days of riding.  Enjoy!

Lunch break



Pieve di Cadore to Vittorio Veneto

Cortina d'Ampezzo was unbelievably beautiful.  So spiritual. It reminded me of how I feel in Telluride, CO although I think it is even more beautiful.

Kiteboarding on Lake Cadore


We were so excited to see kiters!

That gelato was so delicious after a long, hard ride

This was a very long day.  I planned for it to be a 50 mile day but it ended up being more like 60 and a lot of climbing.  The gelato was a perfect way to recharge for the last push to our hotel.

We stayed at the beautiful Alice Realis Nelle Vigne right in the prosecco region of Italy.  Alice greeted us with her own prosecco and a light snack when we arrived.  This was our view from the table.


Vittoria Veneto to Treviso was the hottest ride so far.  Warm, sunny and another long ride-over 50 miles.


Beautiful Treviso

We were so hungry that we ate this whole pizza!
And the gorgeous gelato sundae

We stayed at a really gorgeous hotel in Treviso, Domus Dotti V.  I felt like I was in a Mozart Opera with the style of the hotel and the furnishings and decor.  However, the bathroom was very modern and updated and luxurious.

Venice.  This is one of the few photos I took in Venice because we had to carry our bikes up and down all of the bridges to the other side of Venice in order to get to the ferry.

I have never done a bike trip before.  I loved every single second of it (except for the bike schlepping up and over every bridge in Venice).  I am now hooked and committed to do this again and often over the next 30 years.

I am exhilarated and happy and looking forward to seeing a new country, Croatia!

First Mate Kate

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