Morning came and it was time for the next leg. The fragments of a plan I had, pointed in the direction of Stilfser joch (Stelvio pass). From there take a “Swiss exit” out of the Alps.
Originally the “plan” had been to cross the Alps westwards. Eventually end up in the French Alpine section, and from there go north. The realization of too little time hit me while in the Dolomites. As all, well most vacations, mine also had an ending date. Plus I had to factor in the time it would take to return home.
Towards Stilfser joch (Stelvio)
Leaving my base for 2 days I took the the road across Passo di Fedaia again, and headed down towards Canazei. Then followed the SS48 and then right along SS241 in direction of Bolzano. Would not stop there, but keep on to Meran.
Coming across Passo di Fedaia the weather kept on showing itself from its best side. So did the Marmolada Mountains.
Had to make several stops to capture the beauty.
I’ll save some pics for a later album. But before getting back on and ride down, here’s a little of shot of road and vision northwards.
Alpine valleys in July
If you travel through this region in July be prepared for temperature swings. Down in the valleys it can get pretty hot. A little too hot for my liking, with all safety gear. Made a stop along the road to Meran to wash the bike, partially covered in mud from earlier.
It was a quick wash, a real cat wash. Done I hurried along the route towards Meran where i just stopped briefly.
From Meran I continued along the SS38 to Spondigna. Signs in plenty so there’s little chance of missing Stelvio. Possibly the biggest, most touristy mountain pass of all. I was soon to find that out in more ways than one.
On the way up to Stelvio (Stilfserjoch) pass
it begins kind of easy riding, but that changes as you begin to climb. Then there’s lots of sharp turns, some of which can be rather challenging the first time around. Reason being traffic, another that elevation differences begins in the middle of a turn.
Riding up from the side I did also offers the most challenging route. Gave me a sense of accomplishment. I rode past the cluster of cafe’s, buildings and traffic to get a better view.
The ride aside, coming up to the top was a bit of an anticlimax. Very touristy, souvenir shops, cafe’s restaurants and what have we.
I grabbed something to eat, a coffee and some mineral water, then decided to carry on.
Into Swiss Alps & Switzerland
At this point I’d pretty much decided not to carry on alongside the Alps on the Italian side. With another weeks worth of vacation I might have chose to zig-zag towards France and French Alps. Decided to leave that for another adventure.
From down on the other side of Stelvio I took the Umbrail pass into Switzerland. A pleasant, somewhat downbeat experience after all the twists and turns up to Stelvio. Lots of nice twists and turns, the sort that requires much less focus and concentration than those up to Stelvio from the Meran side.
I rode down and across some valleys. It appeared my ad-hoc decision on direction also had weather oriented benefits, at least temporarily. I headed along road 28 towards Davos, which would take me across the Flüela Pass.
Flüela Pass is not among the higher passes but the road is pleasant and the scenery pleasant.
Made a short stop at the pass for a coffee. It was later in the afternoon so I pressed on, but hadn’t made definite plans regarding where to go, or where to stay for the night.
I thought about the Swiss town Davos, being close to the pass. But felt it was a bit early, so pressed on along road 28, which eventually led me to Maienfeld.
Liechtenstein and Vaduz
A friend suggested, while I was in the region, to sweep through Liechtenstein. Never been there before in my life, sort of was on the bucket list,. so decided well, why not. Took off northwards and headed in that direction. By now the weather had caught up with me and granted me a not too pleasant shower.
Riding into Lichtenstein is something you only notice if you pay attention to road signs. It was getting into evening so I looked up on the web for accommodation. Quickly found a decent hotel given good reviewsm in the affordable range, about 10 minutes walk from Vaduz City.
There wasn’t much going on in Vaduz. In fact, early evening it was pretty dead. In a conversation with a local waiter I said it had been on my bucket list for a long time to visit Liechtenstein and the Vaduz.
She responded “well.. you haven’t missed much”. All fine by me, full I walked back to the hotel. And that pretty much was the end of yet another eventful, adventurous day.
Go back: to previous post (Part 11).