Day 50 - Back on the Passes

Thursday 14th August 2014

The weather looks a little brighter when we wake up in Sankt Jakob. There's an excellent breakfast to be had at Pension Enzian so we take our time before packing the bikes and preparing to leave.

Waiting at the lights on Staller Sattel

It's a few miles up the valley to the Staller Sattel, a small pass road over into Italy. From the top of the pass down into Italy the road is so narrow as it clings to the side of the gorge that the whole stretch is traffic light controlled.

For 15 minutes on the hour the lights are green for travellers to drive into Italy. At half past the hour the flow is reversed. We arrive shortly before 10am and filter through to the front waiting for the green light.

It has started to drizzle and soon heavy rain is again battering into my visor as we wind down the tiny gorge road. Such a pity, as the scenery is quite beautiful in sunnier times.

Riding into Italy

We stop for good coffee when we come out of the one-way section. The rain eases off a little as we head south towards Bolzano.

The Passo delle Erbe or Würzjoch in the more prosaic German version is another little cracker of a pass especially on the south side. It takes us over into the Adige valley and the town of Bozen / Bolzano.



Cloudy summit of Wurzjoch
Sud Tirol is an odd region. Politically a part of Northern Italy it is almost entirely German speaking, the TV stations are in German, the school children are taught in German and the cuisine is almost entirely Germanic (apart from the ubiquitous pizza of course).

It's not far from Bozen to the lovely little Mendelpass. I've ridden this pass a number of times with Charly and it never fails to thrill me. The first part is a series of fast hairpins with good radius and great tarmac. Then comes a rocky and narrow section as the road clings to the side of the mountain with vertical cliff walls rising high above. Finally another series of broad fast hairpins to the summit and a selection of good cafés and restaurants.

 
Pretty coffee stop
The rain is holding off. We have coffee then ride down the gentler western approach towards Our overnight stay in the Italian town of Edolo.

On Mendelpass


More Mendelpass
The route takes us past lakes and over viaducts. Before Edolo comes the Passo Tonale, fast sweepers and hairpins to the busy summit. We stop for more fuel (coffee). Clive and I are on the black stuff but Mick insists on cappucino every time. This time the barista has drawn a little heart on the creamy surface with chocolate powder. I'm beginning to worry about Mick.


Past lakes and over vaducts

Clive too has attracted a fan. Or rather his Ducati has. Big hearted funster that he is, he plonks the little lad on the seat so dad can take a photo. We don't seem to get the same responses with our Beemers!
Clive's bike has attracted a fan

I stayed at Camping Adamello, above Edolo, last year and remember that they advertise 'bungalows' for rent. Our 'bungalow' is, in fact, a caravan with an awning pinned on the front. But it's comfortable and warm and gets us out of the rain which has begun to fall.
 
We dine on snack food and beer from the camp bar and are in bed by 9. It's been a tiring day. The weather is supposed to improve tomorrow. 

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