Part 3: Triglav - Lago di Garda
3d of July, I wake up relatively early and walk around a bit to enjoy the nice weather and view since it was too dark and rainy to do so last night. Definitely not the worst view I could have 8ish am as I step out of my room:
Speaking of my room, this also looks cute from outside:
We are more than happy to ride the 206 crossing the wonderful National Park of Triglav, one of Slovenia's main attractions. Actually the whole country feels like a beautiful dense green forest making almost every route around the countryside impossible to regret.
Slovenia has some of the funniest warning signs for bikers. It's a tough competition with Spain which has some quite funny ones too. Here's Slovenia's approach:
Heading back West towards Italy we take the 401, a route on a narrow road full of bends riding under the shadow of the trees. Very nice, at least as long as you keep an eye for tree branches on the tarmac and upcoming traffic. After these beautiful but a bit challenging km we stop for some rest and lunch at Baita al Botton d'Oro, a very nice place by all means. Plus we have the chance to listen to a local kid playing and singing traditional tunes on his violin :)
Unfortunately it's time to split the group. The guys living in Southern parts of Italy have to head South while I follow the ones from Torino so we continue riding West and how can I complain since we cross the Bellunesi and Lessinia National Parks. Top mountainous routes on both and we don't miss picturing the impressive hermitage of Eremo di San Colombano, hanging on the cliff like this:
As we start descending to Lago di Garda this becomes a really special moment. After so many km around the mountains I finally start to see familiar things going down towards the lake such as insects, flowers, even olive trees! Well, Lago di Garda is at sea level so the nature kinda resamples the Mediterranean! I feel (almost) like home here. We drive up to Riva del Garda, maybe the prettiest town of the lake located at its North end. We had already booked a hostel at the vehicle free historic center of the town which is so neat that I felt guilty for invading it on our bikes. Especially since we had a guy in our group with a Ducati Multistrada notorious for its nasty sounding dry clutch. Imagine something like a robot gargling metal bits to get the picture..ehm sorry the sound actually.
I am impressed by Riva del Garda instantly. This picture doesn't really show but here's my bike just arrived in front of our hostel with those steep rocky slopes behind:
We leave our stuff in the hostel and don't hesitate to walk the town by night. So lovely and soothing. With the exception of a bunch of school boys screaming in their first vacations days this place feels absolutely sweet, including the local beach. I am so excited that I ask the guys "Hey, why not buy a good property here and share it all together?" Antonello, the leader of the pack, smiles and tells me "They're really untouchable here". I am convinced just by looking at them. We have some pizza later and when we're done I picture the dark beauty of the lake with an Italian flag glowing on the rock of the other side:
Next morning I wake before 7am and take a picture of the first thing I see from the hostel's window:
Not too bad.
We go down to get a rather poor breakfast but we didn't expect much from booking the cheapest accommodation possible at one of the most expensive areas. Soon we get ourselves on our bikes as we have a long day riding West up to Torino. We soon make a stop at Lago di Ledro at the sweet spot of Spiaggia Besta:
We ride on West South and the mountains West of Lago di Garda offers us a sweet ride. Regardless the time trial we had to make it all the way to Torino we stop again for some necessary pictures:
We go down the winding road to reach Lago di Garda again at Gargnano and then ride by the coast for a while. At this point I am captured on board by a guy from the group as I have a funny chat for a second with another mate:
We are all already tired enough after relatively long rides back to back on a daily basis hence we decide to be kind to our buts and take the autostrada for the first time in order to reduce the hours exposed to the saddle's "comfort". You should be there to watch us doing our "yoga" on our bikes while eating the miles on the straight and boring af toll road, only to change all body positions possible while (obviously) keeping control of the iron horse. Fortunately we all arrived safe, each in one piece and go straight to Basilica di Superga, an 18th century church located on a hill overlooking Torino. The guys tell me that they used to bury the kings of Savoy on this hill. Great view they had! We try to enjoy the scene on this hot day under some trees but the beauty is spoiled by a family car parked with the engine on. Maybe for AC but still pointless - they could just step out and enjoy the shade of the trees. At some point Gianni, the tallest and among the kindest of the group, decides to talk to the Dad of the family. Dad says "OK, we leave shortly". "Shortly" became close to forever so Gianni stands up again, goes near the front of the car and from his body language and his Italian rant it becomes clear even to me that he says "OK, since they don't kill the engine or leave, I'll take my dick out to pee here". Wish I had a clip of this cause words can't transfer his ultra funny act that cracked us up at lightning speed. Car left by the way...
My good friend Antonello offers to be my host at Torino for the next days and undoubtedly I couldn't have a better one. Most people know Torino for its industrial heritage but actually this city has much more to offer. It's got one of the biggest urban parks, an insane amount of water springs and...mama mia...those aperitivos...you know that Italian trend - with just few euros more on your first drink they give you the ultimate weapon in a bar: a dish with free access to their buffet. Two stomachs required: one to survive and the other exclusively dedicated to the hedonistic side of the whole thing. I won't forget the scene when I had like two or 3 rounds of food at a place when the waitress comes and tell us "Pizza's ready in 5 minutes". Now you might wonder as so many others do how I stay fit. Aussie friends of mine once gave me the answer: "You've got hollow legs - that's where the food goes".
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