Yesterday was great, but today will be a top 10 checklist day, the Stelvio. The Passo di Stelvio is one of those passes that you see and read about in any article that mentions the passes of the Alps of Northern Italy.
After another great breakfast of Chocolate Croissants and good coffee we took off with building anticipation, and increasing altitude, toward the passes. Riding through a couple towns we enjoyed the churches and architecture of the old buildings.First up is Passa di Gavia which was a beautiful gradual climb followed by the tight back and forth, twists and turns of the perfectly aligned asphalt leading to the top of the Passo di Stelvia at 2757 meters. This pass isn’t terribly high by most standards but, the views are incredible. The curves are very predictable as this road was built as a military road with a predictable grade and curves. The curves are tight requiring, on the inside turn, a handlebar stop turn while climbing through the corner. This is a little unnerving at first as before the start of the turn you need to look all the way through the corner to see what may be taking up your lane as you are part way through. This definitely got us ready for the crazy passes that were to follow.
At the top of Passo di Stelvio it was teaming with people that rode all kinds of motorcycles, bicycles and 4 wheels vehicles to this iconic location. This was made for tourists as there were many shops with everything Stelvio. Melanie and I both bought a souvenir, a Stelvio buff, as space was very limited. Our grandson Caleb also scored his very own Stelvio shirt. An Italian man had a little kiosk and was making kraut and brat sandwiches as fast as he could turn them out. I don’t know why, maybe the atmosphere, those sandwiches were as good as any I had ever had. I am happy.
It was time to leave and Melanie almost had to kick me off the mountain, but we had places to go and people that we hadn’t met yet somewhere out there, back down the hill. Riding down the road we came across a funky piece of land filled with bone, metal and rock art. This person had quite an imagination as you can see from the pictures.
Leaving the city the Swiss border was just a few more miles. Out of the 14 countries in the European Union that we visited, Switzerland was the only country that had a manned border crossing. They are not a part of the EU and do not use the Euro, but use their own currency, the Swiss Franc.
Time to start looking for a place for our tent tonight in Switzerland. With snow capped mountains surrounding us and beautiful green trees and flowers we found a small campground on a stream with an area with no one around. Everything was good but we had forgot to get food that day, so peanuts and wine are going to be supper tonight. We both said that we better lose weight this trip. It was easy to forget about food though as we were camped in a field of yellow flowers close enough to hear the shallow, crystal clear, cold water of the stream cascading over the rocks as it melted from the surrounding mountains on its journey to some distant river or sea. So peaceful. Tonight, I will sleep well. Cheers.
Greg and Melanie