Posts Tagged With: Food

Day 16: Garmisch-Partenkichen to Munich

103 k to ride with 409 meters to ride up and 603 meters down

95% of the day was on bike paths. The paths ranged from paved, to rubble through forest, fields along lakes, and towns.

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Bike path along Lake Starnberger

The last 25 km into Munich there were hundreds of bikers. These ranged from mountain bikers, families with babies in seats or carriages attached to the bike, other touring bikers, individual riders of all ages and sizes, and a number of them going really fast.

Along river Isar coming into Munich, there were so many people swimming and picnicking along the banks. About 25 km there was a raft full of people drinking, playing loud music, and even a barbecue on board.

A number of the cyclists were going really fast weaving in and out between other cyclists. It was the first time I have been more concerned I will come to harm from fellow cyclists rather than a car!

Some paths on the way in were steep up or downhill and some were very rocky rocky, and I would get off and walk. One bit you had to ride up over a bump, between a gap in the fence, which other riders seemed to be able to do with no trouble. I of course had to get off and wait for a gap. I commented to John W that I would never make a mountain biker, and one mountain bike rider who had waited for me to come through was laughing and agreed.

We got to Hotel Holiday Inn at 2pm, and the rooms were not ready so Brett, Graham, John and I (later joined by Tony) waited in the bar with a cold beer. This is Tony’s first TDA ride, he is from USA and is an organic farmer and hobby wine maker.

Riders leaving in Munich are Tom and Miriam, Walker, The Sydney Aussies (Tony, Kerry, Robert, Torpe (in the picture from yesterday with Daryl. Torpe is retired, he used to own a kitchen ware and related goods, store his real name is also Robert), Alex and Daryl), and Tony from USA

Interesting I was also somehow on the list as leaving the ride in Munich! I was asked when I wanted to box up my bike! Just as well that was quickly sorted, as otherwise I may have had no accommodation tomorrow night!

We had Dinner at restaurant called Wirtshaus In Der Au. First we had a wheat lager beer called Erich Sattler it was really nice. Then we had a Wine called Cronos red, with the house speciality which was Duck and pork crackling dumplings, sauerkraut, and gravy.

We had a really friendly waitress who had hitchhiked from Invercargill to Auckland, and commented that many friendly NZ males were happy for her to stay over at their places. I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact she is young and pretty.

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Waitress at Wirtshaus In Der Au

Two weeks later I am still wearing plasters on two of the bites from the second riding day. I suspect they were sea lice which I reacted badly to, at least I don’t seem to be adding to the list of afflictions.

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A home on the shore of Lake Starnberger

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Day 14: Rest day in Innsbruck (16 June)

It was nice to wake up today and not have to pull on the Lycra and head off on the bike. The biggest challenge today was trying to work out amongst the many selections which was black tea.

My arm and wrist was very sore when I woke up this morning, but I think this is most likely because of all the braking, especially on the downhill yesterday.

After breakfast the first job was laundry, followed by the continuing hunt for conditioner. On the way to the laundry we went past a shop selling shampoo etc so stopped in there on the way back. Success! I now have conditioner called Pfledge -Spulung, moisturiser, more sunscreen, plasters and a new toothbrush 👍.

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Golden Roof

Back to the hotel for a couple of hours to catch up on emails, blog and the news, then we went for a wander around before lunch in the old town.

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Inns River and Old Town

There were a number of street performers, a lady all dressed in silver with her dog with a hat and a plaster on his paw. Real or not, it evoked sympathy and cash, followed by the Headless man and Charlie Chapman.

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The Silver Lady

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With the Headless Man and Charlie Chapman

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Where’s the Silver Lady gone?!

There were a number of stores selling souvenirs, but nothing of enough interest to try and fit in my bag for the next three weeks.

We had lunch at a restaurant called the Golden Adler.  I had fish fettuccine which was with a fish called Bio Char. It was nice, not creamy like the fettuccine I am used to though. Brett had braised leg of lamb with cremolata, garlic sauce, polenta and vegetables.  We had a bottle of red wine: Kaiser Josef Blauer Zweigeit classic 2015 winery Philip Grass from the lower Austria region. This is the most common red wine grape in Austria.

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Lunch at Golden Adler

While we were eating a nun with twins turned up and settled them both into high chairs. One of the twin boys was very friendly, and kept engaging me in smiling and chatting. The mum said they were 12 months old but were born 12 weeks early. One of the boys was smaller at birth and is still smaller, he was not as friendly but I did get him smiling a few times with peek a boo, hiding my face behind a serviette. I felt quite honoured when the mum asked if she could leave the friendly twin with me while she took the other one off to change him.

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Gran “baby sitting” while mum changes other twin.

At the back of the restaurant outside the hotel, there was a wall list of names going back to the 1494 Kaifeng Maximilian the first century, two of note: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1773 and Albert Chamus who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1952.

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The wall

After lunch we wandered around for a bit more, and saw a pretty pink bike with flowers and a basket – I thought if my daughter Kelly rode a bike, I think it would look like this. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and a couple of messenger calls with two of my children Kelly (blog editor) and Tracey.

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Found a bike for Kelly 🙂

We caught up with Janice (who had fallen off her bike yesterday) and she had been and had a CT scan, and thankfully nothing ominous was found.

We had dinner at a restaurant called Ottoburg. It was really nice being able to sit outside and eat without having to worry about the gusts of Wellington wind. I had a really nice rack of lamb for dinner.

Afterwards it was back to the hotel to pack, and get ready for tomorrow.

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Central Plazas

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Day 13: Brixen, Italy to Innsbruck, Austria

94 km: 1,369 meters climbing and 1,426 meters down

The first 3 km was down a steep hill, then for the next 52 km it was mostly up. We went past vineyards and went mostly on bike paths. Some were paved, some were rocky, and some were steep with gradients up to 19%, with slippery stones so I got off and walked.

We spent about 5km on one track that had slips, it was really steep and hard to navigate. When we got to the end of this track it had a barrier across and a sign that the track was closed!

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Coming out of the closed off bike path

The last 15 km to the Brenner pass / border was a rail trail – yay mostly 2.5% gradient and no more than 4% gradient.

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Beautiful rail trail – only 2.5% gradient.

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Passing through village of Vipiteno

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Scenery from the bike path to the Austrian border.

There were lots of cyclists going both ways, some independent touring with panniers, and others in groups, and a surprising number on E bikes.

On the whiteboard we had been told the profile of the day was up to the Pass and then downhill to Innsbruck.

When we started going down the road. it was really busy both ways. I have never seen so many cyclists and motorbikes. It was like it was the national “ride your motorbike” day.

We had about 15 km downhill, and then turned to the right and started climbing again! This was totally unexpected, and not at all welcome. I had pushed really hard in the morning in the belief that it was downhill in the afternoon.

I was hot and tired, and although the views were magnificent, I did not enjoy the next 15 km of steep (up to 17% gradient) up and downhills in the beating sun. Finally the 10 km downhill into Innsbruck.

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Into Austria, descending down to Innsbruck

Riding through the city to the hotel, I was very careful with the tram lines as they are just the right size to get your bike wheel into and get tipped off. Also the edges of the pavements, if you hit them the wrong way they can also tip you off your bike. Sadly this happened to Janice, one of the riders, just 300 meters from the hotel – she clipped the pavement, went down with a crash, broke her helmet and knocked herself out! Luckily she was riding with Cathy and Peter M who are both ED doctors.

After checking into the hotel we had a cold beer in the hotel bar, and chatted to the Aussie riders Kerry, Tony, Robert, Darry, Torpe and Alex. After this we went out for some dinner and went into a place called Stiftskeller. We ordered red wine and food, and it arrived within 5 minutes! It was actually nicer than I expected given the preparation time!

I had pork cooked in beer and shared a mixed salad with Brett – a different type of mixed salad than I have ever had before: sauerkraut, potato mash with onion, and grated carrot. It was pretty nice. We had a bottle of red wine Blaufrankisch 2014 Weingut Hansigley, which was pretty nice.

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Dinner menu and wine

On the way back to the hotel I noticed a balcony with a number of dummies dressed up like workers. The streets were pretty deserted at only 8 pm at night. We found out the next day it was because the previous day was a holiday. It was Corpus Christi (Roman Rite Liturgical solemnity celebrating Jesus Christ). Corpus Christi is the second Thursday after Whitsun (which is the 8th Sunday after Easter).

The hotel we are staying at is called the Hotel Central.

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Workmen & women figurines

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Day 12: Cortina d’amezzo to Brixen

68 km – 680 meters climbed up and 1,290 meters coasted down

We had the most amazing views of the Dolomites most of the day today. For the first 30 km we were on a rail trail, so pretty easy gradient. The trail is used in summer for cycling and in the winter it is used for skiing.

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On the bike paths

There were what I thought were old railway stations approx every 6 km, but it turned out they are actually houses. There were families living in them, and it was the job of the father to check the section of line he was responsible for every morning, and confirm it was free of avalanche etc and safe for the trains. This would be done over the phone. Also, he was in charge of maintaining that section of the line.

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On the rail trail today

There were a number of tunnels to go through, it reminded me of the Rimutaka Incline in NZ (but the tunnels were lit). There were quite a number of other cyclists today, heading both ways.

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Tunnels on the bike path

We stopped at a monument showing the different climbs on three of the peaks. The climb grade is an 11, which is pretty serious. It has the name and dates of people who have done the climbs.

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3 Peaks Category 11 climb in Parco Naturale Tre Cime

You can go hiking up in the middle mountains, and walk between mountain lodges without having to come down. There are no roads up to these lodges, and they pull the food up on things that look to me like ski lifts, they have big balls instead of chairs that the supplies go in. The lodges have big dormitories that can sleep up to 200. The thought of that is like waking up in a nightmare!

The bike trails are a mixture of rail trails and bike paths, rather than one large trail. A number appear to go through people’s properties – at one place between a barn and a house.

There were lots of cows wandering around with bells on so they can be found.

We are still in in Italy but the buildings and the furniture are very Austrian.

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On the way from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Brixen

We have had the largest groups of cyclists out on the paths I have ever seen. We were playing leap frog with a group of about 25, as we would each be on different trails and then keep intersecting. I was surprised at how well some of the cyclists were doing, until I noticed they were on E bikes (electric bikes).

One of the riders got an instant fine of €17.5 for riding through a tunnel with a sign saying “cars only” – there was an alternative route for bikes and walkers next to it.

We stopped at a Cafe with seating outside, attached to restaurant. We had the most amazing apple strudel I have ever tasted. It was nothing like anything called apple strudel I have ever had before.

This place also has the award for the most beautiful cafe or restaurant bathroom, with a great big marble basin so big you could almost have had a bath in it, and a range of soaps and hand lotions, and real hand towels.

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An old fort as we approached Brixen

I had dinner with John, Walker, Tom, Graham, and Brett. Dinner was salad from a salad bar, pasta with tomato sauce, shoulder of beef with apple and horse radish sauce, tiramisu, washed down with sparkling water.

The Internet is not my sending emails again! Frustrating as I can get emails and use Facebook. I wanted to send email to two friends who are having surgery before they had it. I tried being in the room, and the bar, and the restaurant, and just can’t get anything to send.

Introducing

Jeff and Dianne from Colorado, USA. Retired, they had a business setting up video links etc. They have 2 children and have done 7 TDA rides, they are not currently planning any more. (Editors note: but do they have any pets?! I’m pretty sure this is the first time you haven’t told us about a rider’s pet status!). 

The name of the hotel we are staying at is the Temhof Hotel.

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View from the room balcony in Brixen

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Day 11: Maniago to Cortina d’amezzo

The whiteboard said 120 km, with 2600 meters up and 1100 meters down. I was not sure what the gradient was going to be and was a bit daunted as we set off from the hotel.

We pretty much started climbing straight away, with some sections not so steep. At about 15 km I realised I must not have done the top on one of my water bottles up properly as I have lost it. Hopefully we will pass a shop so I can refill the bottle I have.

We seemed to go up and up and up and up, some tough gradient. At about 30 km we had some very pretty lakes and not much of a gradient for awhile, but then the climb began again. We had a couple of small tunnels, so it was nice and cool inside. At an average speed of approx ten km/hr this was going to be a long day.

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Old rail trail

We passed through a number of villages, and all the houses had impressive stock piles of wood ready for next winter.

At 52 km we went through quite a long tunnel, but it had gaps on the side and way below it was a very pretty town. We had a fantastic 10 km downhill to the town, then climbed up to turn and leave the main road, to go along a side road along the river to the lunch stop.

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Big climb Day. Check out Kaye’s eyes “WTF have you got for me around the corner you bastard hill?”

At 1:30 pm, after 5 and a half hours riding, I got to lunch. By this stage I had climbed 1,330 meters with only 68.5 km ridden. At this stage, looking at my riding speed I wouldn’t get to the finish until 8 pm. Taking into account my cold and my sore arm, we decided Brett would ride ahead and I would take the truck.

The only problem with that idea, is that on this trip there is a lack of infrastructure and the truck can only take 4 riders – and 6 riders wanted a ride. We tried to order a taxi, not but not surprisingly a driver from Cortina (60 km away) was not keen to come to pick up people from a ‘river’, with not great directions and language barrier.

The next option was to get the dinner truck (the one that goes straight to the hotel and flags the route to come back) which meant a couple of hours wait. Then this wait would be even longer as Gergo, who was driving the dinner truck, had to go and pick up Tony who had come off his bike. We were not clear about why he couldn’t then continue to come and get two of us. So then we had a bit of a standoff: none of the 6 of us now want to start riding, as another hour has past and we will be looking at arriving at 9pm instead of 8pm.

Without any other solution apart from two of us riding, and not wanting to be involved in deciding who that will be, I asked John W if he is prepared to hitch hike with me.

John W and I set off taking our helmets (but not our bikes as they can go on the rack on the back of the truck) with us to hitchhike. To start we had to walk back the 3 km to where we left the main road – while wearing our cycling shoes.

Luckily once we got there the 12th car stopped for us. The male driver was Italian and spoke no English, he wasn’t going as far as Cortina but agreed to give us a lift to where he was going. He wanted to know where our bikes were, but with the language barrier we were not able to explain.  We did manage to convey that we had accommodation in Cortina, and John knew how to say it was a beautiful country.

We thought at least if we get to a town we will be better off. Well bless this man, there may have been a language barrier but he took us into the middle of a town about 20 km from where he had picked us up, and dropped us off at a bus stop. We offered him money but he wouldn’t take any.

So there we are at the bus stop trying unsuccessfully to read the bus timetable in Italian, when a bus turned up.
We asked the driver “do you go to Cortina?”
“No” he said “3 minutes”, then got out of his bus, locked it, and went across the road!
So then John and I are wondering does he mean he drives the bus to Cortina but not for 3 minutes?
Well exactly 3 minutes later the bus to Cortina arrived! To say we were happy would be an understatement! The bus took us to Cortina and dropped us off in the centre of town at the bus stop. Then we just had to find the hotel! Would you believe, right there in front of us: orange flagging  tape! Which we followed the 2.5 km to the hotel.

We arrived at the hotel at exactly the same time as a Brett, who had of course made excellent time not having to wait for me.

Tony, the rider who came off his bike, was unharmed but broke the hanger for the derailer and had no spare! Luckily the bike shop in Cortina, whilst not having the correct one for his bike, managed to fashion one to fit.

On arriving at the hotel I immediately had a cold beer with John W, Brett and Walker (all four of us did the Trans Europa in 2012).

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Safe arrival beers: 2 riders, 2 hitch hikers!!!

Afterwards, I had dinner with John, Walker, Brett and Graham. We had pasta with tomato sauce, Chicken schnitzel  (nasty and dry), Strudel and ice cream, and Red wine called Pinot Nero

The Hotel we are staying at is called Menardi Hotel.

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View from the balcony

Introducing
Walker and his Wife Carol – both retired
Walker and Carol did the 2nd half of the 2012 TransEuropa
They are from USA. Walker was an investment banker and Carol a music teacher. Carol is on a singing tour (she is in a choir) of the UK, whilst Walker is doing the ride. They have 3 children and 2 grandchildren, no cats or dogs.

John W and Marilyn (doesn’t ride), they have 2 sons, no pets
John is an almost retired university professor from Vancouver, he still does some consulting. This is his 4th TDA ride.

 

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1956 Olympic ski run

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Day 10: Trieste to Maniago

123 km: 800 meters up and 430 down

This is the start of another four day section, and this was the easiest of the four days.

Instead of having to take notes from a whiteboard like previous trips, this trip we get them passed out in their already printed version. Some riders pour over them, highlighting certain bits, others – like me – shove them in their pocket to be taken out if needed if there is confusion about which way to go.

We started at 8am with a convoy, which was meant to be for 4 km but after 1.5 km most of the convoy was out of sight due to having to stop at the lights. As Gergo doesn’t flag or give notes for the convoy to ensure riders don’t go off on the their own, it was just by good luck and guessing that we managed to stay on the right track.

The first 18 km was along along the coast, then we turned inward and took the last view of the Adriatic Sea (the top of the Mediterranean). The next time we see the sea we will be in the Netherlands.

We went through a town called Palmanova, which is an excellent example of a star fort from the Renaissance. This was built by the Venetians in 1593. The whole town is walled, and there are only entrances/exits through the walls.

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An aerial view of Palmonova (picture source)

This is also where the Trans Europa ride we did in 2012 intersects with this ride, the Oydessy. In 2012, we came through here on the way to Venice.

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Walled town of Palmanova, inside the south gate

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Cathedral in Palmanova square

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North-west gate out of Palmanova, onwards to Amsterdam

There was a big market in the square with lots of stalls selling food, clothes, cooking ware, and lots of fresh flowers.

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Market square inside Palmanova

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Through the palace gate to the Villa Manin

Where we stopped for lunch there was a man trimming his hedge who was chatting away to all the riders, and telling to make sure that they stopped in the next town Mortegliano to see the biggest bell tower in Europe.

 

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The locals reckon this is the tallest bell tower in Europe, Mortegliano.

One of the TDA staff Ozgur had made homemade lemonade for lunch, which was very thirst quenching. It’s made from lemonade, honey, water and soda water.

 

In the afternoon the breeze from most of morning was replaced by beating sun, it was 35 degrees C and felt hotter.

There were lots of very long straights, broken up with interesting small towns. All the town were deserted and the shops were shut as it was siesta time.

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Beautiful riding today through the agricultural flat lands north of Venice.

Whilst going around a roundabout I was bit/stung by bug (through my riding top!). I wasn’t sure what it was, but took an antihistamine just in case it was a bee or a wasp. Luckily I did, as later that night when I had a look I had a big welt.

The last twenty km of the day seemed to go on and on, a bit of an uphill gradient, and into a bit of head wind.

Although we were riding towards the Dolomites, because of the heat haze we did not get a view of them until about 8 km before the end of the ride, where they slowly started to appear through the haze.

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Approaching Maniago and the end of the flatlands. Next 3 days climbing up to Passo del Brennero and entering Austria 🇦🇹

We got to the hotel at 5pm and found out dinner would not be until 8pm. To start off with I could not find my bag anywhere. I looked through the bags twice, and was starting to get really worried. I then went through the bags again, bag by bag. I had never noticed until now that my red bag is actually half black. The bottom half is black and it was upside down. Relieved, I went off to the room to get cleaned up.

The hotel room had a nice big bath so I had a relaxing soak and then I intended to have a quick nap, but ended up sleeping for two hours. I was more tired than I would have expected, as not much climbing, but we had had 9 hours in the sun and although there was not much climbing there was no real downhill, so we were constantly peddling all day.

Dinner was tomato pasta, grilled pork and potato, vanilla ice cream, washed down with sparkling water.  I had dinner with Brett, Miriam, Tom and Cathy.

Introducing

Tom and Miriam, retired they live in New York, and have 3 sons and one grandson. No pets. This is their 4th TDA tour. Miriam was a lawyer and then taught law, and Tom was an engineer.

Cathy is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives with her partner Peggy (who doesn’t like bike touring, so is not on the trip). They have no children and have a German short haired pointer. Cathy has done 2 previous TDA rides and is an ED doctor.

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Tom and Miriam on the left, Cathy on the right

Tomorrow is going to be a big day, 130 km and 2600 meters climbing and I am feeling a bit daunted. We are going to be climbing through the Dolomites.

The Dolomites are the mountain range located in north-eastern Italy, and form part of the Southern Limestone alps. The Dolomites are also known by the name The Pale Mountains, they take this name from the carbonate rock dolomite. The rock was named for the 18th century French mineralogist Deodat Gratel de Dolomieu (1750 to 1801) who was the first to describe the mineral.

The Dolomites are renown for skiing, mountain climbing, cycling, and BASE jumping.

The first week in July is the Maratona dles Dolomites, where in a single day, road bikers climb all 7 mountain passes.

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Day 9: Rest day in Trieste (11 June)

It was very nice not to have to be up at 6am with breakfast at 7am, and then out on the road. Instead I made it to the dining room at a leisurely 9am. English breakfast tea in a tea pot! Bliss.

After breakfast we set off to the laundromat or Lavanderia (as they call in in Italy), we caught up with Janice and Gregg, and Yvonne and Scott there.

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Janice and Gregg (left) and Yvonne and Scott (right)

There was also a good looking Italian woman who was very frustrated as the second dryer was not working, as someone had put the wrong coins in. Of course all the men set about trying to sort it for her. Brett went back to the hotel and got the tweezers out of his bike tool kit, and came back and removed the two coins. She was very grateful and told Brett he was just like MacGyver.

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MacGyver saving the day 

After the laundromat I went back to the room to catch up with the blog.

Then off for lunch, we decided to go back to Eataly for the 2nd course we hadn’t tried on the blackboard menu.

We had white wine: Movia Sauvignon Blanc, and we shared two different courses – Filetto di orata gratinato ai pistachio gamberi e zucchini (a very nice fillet of fish with a nice coating and cheese)  and Frito misto croccante (fried squid and prawn rings).

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Lunch at Eataly, day 2

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Wine in a bucket with slushy ice pellets

We then wandered around for awhile, then had an afternoon siesta.

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Super yachts on waterfront berths

Later on the way to dinner, we could not help noticing the number of motor bikes and scooters parked at each curb.

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For dinner we had a wine – Bastianich Vespa Rosso, and Brett had fillet of beef which was was very nice, I had slow roasted pork which was tough because it was overdone.

Then back to the hotel to get organised for tomorrow.  We have 120 km to ride, but only 650 meters climbing.

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Goodnight Trieste, riding again tomorrow

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Day 8 – Malinska,Croatia to Trieste, Italy

119 km – 1,430 climbing and 1452 down

I woke up feeling a bit jaded after the last long day yesterday, plus the 3 days of riding already this section. I am really looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, especially as we will be in Italy.

For breakfast I had black tea and toast. Well sort of toast, really warm bread, as even after being put through the toaster three times it still was not what I would have called toasted, but by that time there were people waiting … so I didn’t feel I could put it though again.

To start off the day of course a climb, and then some a reasonable downhill followed by a big uphill, but with a reasonable gradient. At about 30 km, after 10 km climbing, we came to a turn where to the left was to go down and to the right we would have kept going up. We went left to go down through the city of Rijeka.

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Port of Bakar

After going through Rijeka at 38 km, to lunch at 71 km, it was all up. Mostly a reasonable gradient, but it was steep from 66 km. At 50 km I realised that I had lost one of my water bottles and I only had half a bottle of water left! I was hoping there would be another shop, as half a bottle of water wasn’t going to last the 20 km to lunch.

At 55 km there was a pub so we called in there and bought water. Two other riders were there, Greg and Maureen. Greg’s wife Janice is on the trip as well but they don’t ride together as she is faster than him, so he rides with another rider Maureen. I told them about my water bottle and Gregg asked was it a blue camel back bottle, which it was. Turned out it had come off my bike on a bit of bumpy road and a passing motorist had picked it up, and recognised that Gregg had the same trip placard on his bike and given it to him. Thank you kind Croatian motorist 😀 I was so relieved to have my second water bottle back, and the nice man at the pub filled them both up for me.

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Time for a beer in Slovenia 🇸🇮 before entering Italy. (Kaye just had sparkling water)

Then back out in the heat to ride onwards and upwards. This seemed endless. At 67 km and 69 km I had to get off my bike, I was done! Gregg said that the climb finished at 80 km, I was not sure I had another 10 km of climbing in me!

At 71km I got to the lunch truck. Thankfully the Slovenian border did not require all the cyclists to go across in a group, otherwise I would have had some very annoyed fellow cyclists waiting for me, as I was the second to last to lunch. Brett came in after me as he had stopped just around the corner at the money changer. Caitlin (TDA) and the other 4 riders at lunch didn’t believe me when they asked where Brett was and I replied “I dropped him on the hills, as he couldn’t keep up with me”.

After lunch we crossed the Slovenian  🇸🇮 border. We were in Slovenia for 30 km, then headed into Italy.

After the border crossing there was quite a steep upwards gradient. At 75 km I was thinking “I am not going to be able to cycle another 5 km uphill” – at least 3 of the other riders had gone in the truck. At 76 km I was close to tears, riding at an average speed of 6.5 km an hour, which would be almost another hour of this. I gritted my teeth and carried on, one pedal stroke at a time.

Then at 76.5 km there was a down hill, I was thinking “hopefully it will last at least a km
– well it was pretty much downhill the rest of the day to Trieste 👍👍👍

There was uphill, but generally you had a good speed and could get up most of the hill for free, and nothing involved granny gear (the smallest gear) for more than 2-3 minutes at a time.

At 103.5km we crossed the border into Italy 😀  🇮🇹

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At the Italian border – 3 countries in one day on our bikes.

Grego (TDA tour leader) had recommended that we turn at 112.1 km and do a 10 km detour to see the Lipica horse Museum. The Lipica horses are white when they are adults, but when they are born until they are two they are black. Given that we were already estimating 5pm to get to the hotel we decided not to make the 10 km detour, however if we had known that from 112.1 km it was a continuous downhill we would have made the detour.

We arrived tired and hot at 5pm as predicted, at the Urban Hotel. Thankfully it was Saturday so we did not have to contend with rush hour traffic coming into Trieste.

The room is comfortable, but no view unless you count a concrete wall, but I am just happy to be here.

After a shower the first task, as always, is checking out the laundry situation. There is a laundromat, or Lavanderia as called in Italy, around the corner but they don’t do it for you. We checked they are open on Sunday, so will leave it until tomorrow.

We went for a walk, first of all we went to Italy’s largest sea facing Plaza called a Piazza del Unita d’Italia, where they were having an outdoor concert. We decided to have a cold beer at a bar on the corner of the plaza. It wasn’t until we were sitting down that we noticed the bar was blocking the lovely concert with its own music. We stayed there and had the beer, which came in a huge glass, as there wasn’t anywhere else to sit in the square. As it was very hot afterwards we went for a walk along the sea front. So many boats/yachts, and 2 super boats worth a few million each.

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Reward for a hard earned thirst 🍺

We went into a place called “Eataly” which is like the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown but 6 times the size.

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At Eataly

So far the whole trip I have seen no stray dogs, and only a few dogs with their owners in the places we have passed through, but in Italy there are dogs everywhere. Still no stray dogs but every second person here appears to have a dog of some shape or size. They are allowed in the food court and restaurants, everywhere you look they are snoozing under tables. or as in the Eataly walking with their owners, nose on full twitch.

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A dog inside Eataly (Editor’s note: A greyhound!!! Woohoo! Look at its little white socks)

They seem welcome everywhere, apart from one restaurant where there was a sign “no dogs”! Guess what the outcome was? Unlike every other place that was full, there were only two diners in this restaurant!

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No dogs = no diners! 

We decided to have dinner there, it was pretty good. Wine was a white Bastianich Friulano. This came in a wine bucket with slushy ice pellets which is much better at keeping the wine chilled than ice cubes.

To eat we had Orecchiette con pesto and gambeni, and Tagliolini con scampi alla.

After the big glass of beer I needed to use the restroom. I locked the door and then it wouldn’t open again. I tried it every setting numerous. times but it wouldn’t open! Unbelievable! So then I resorted to kicking the door and shouting help! Someone must have heard me as an attendant came and unlocked the door and let me out. She asked me if I had tried unlocking the door. There were many responses to this, and I chose putting up my hand and walking past her to the sink, where I couldn’t make the water work. Luckily the tap in wheelchair toilet worked.

Then back to the hotel to bed, with the luxury of a sleep in and no riding tomorrow.

Introducing some of the TDA riders

Scott and wife Janice from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. It is both their first TDA ride. President of big fishing company .
Janice and Scott now work with indigenous people restocking Salmon reserves. They have no pets and no children.

Yvonne and husband Scott from Alaska, this is their USA 3rd TDA ride
Yvonne is a retired epidemiologist and Scott is a retired Economist. They have 2 daughters and their eldest daughter has done 3 TDA rides.
Yvonne is Chinese and is struggling with the food on the trip as she does not eat bread, milk, cheese, cereal, or processed meat – which has been pretty much the food so far. So today in Trieste she will be able to eat food she likes.

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Waterfront outside Hotel Jadran, Sibernik

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Day 6: Sibenik to Pag Island

126 km – 1,200 meters climbing and descent

Today the first half was pretty easy riding, ups and downs along the coast, and reasonably cool. My legs were still feeling the benefit of the rest day in Split.

I drink about a bottle of water an hour which seems more than anyone else, which means having to stop and buy water a couple of times a day. So I decided if I am paying for water I may as well have sparkling. Interesting fact: the gas in the sparkling water and the motion of riding doesn’t work so well. No matter how tight your bottles are screwed shut, the gas builds up and pushes through the spout, and sprays your legs at regular intervals with trickles of water.

There are many beautiful coves with beautiful clear water, sandy beaches, boats at the shore, certainly this is a country to put on the list to come back to. The country is very clean, especially the hotels and the shops.

Lunch was at 65 km, then next 5 km was along the coast. We crossed a big bridge onto PAG Island. After this we spent about 20 km in the country side, with lots of long hot steady climbs. The country side is very much like Spain, lots of rock walls and olive trees, and hot.

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PAG Island Bridge

Then there was a three km down hill, which was followed by 26 km of what seemed like endless long clinbs and descents in the beating sun.

The landscape was very rocky, dry and barren. I am finding the bumps in the road hard on my arm, and my right foot felt like someone had shoved a knife into it. When the lunch truck came past 15 km before the end the temptation was great, but I resisted.

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Dry rocky lunar landscape

Finally we came to the township of Pag, there was a choice of left or right. The left was a steep long climb and the right was a short climb. Yay the flags showed go to the right!

Finally got to the hotel, a lovely place set right by the beach, called Hotel Frane.

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Hotel Frane

As soon as I got my gear up to the room, I was off to the beach for a swim. Amazing how different I felt after a swim and a shower. The room has a nice balcony which was great to dry the togs and air the riding shoes out.

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Room balcony at Hotel Frane

I am still having some problems with the bites from a previous swim in the ocean, and have to keep two of them covered, but whilst yucky they don’t look infected.

I look a bit like a crazy woman, I still have not been able to find any conditioner so my hair is all over the place, and despite putting sunscreen on frequently, my face is red.

Dinner was Chicken noodle soup and bread followed by an amazing platter with seabass, potatoes and veges, accompanied by fried squid rings, and octopus and rice. This was washed down with cold water as today was one of the two alcohol free days for the week. Dessert was a sticky cake thing, it looked nice but I was too full to eat.

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After a long hot 127km day – dinner for a starving cyclist

Tomorrow we have to catch 3 ferries.

 

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Day 5: Split to Sibenik

88km, 800 meters climbing and 800 meters descent, with no hill more than 80 meters in total

Not sure how it will go with riding, my arm feels better today than yesterday but is still very sore. I took 2 Panafon and an anti inflammatory, and headed down for breakfast.

Breakfasts generally consist of some sweet cereal, even if it’s rolled oats it’s full of little chocolate bits, so I stay away from it. Generally scrambled eggs or omelette , yoghurt, and a range of cake, meat, fruit, cheese, and bread and rolls, some days a toaster and juice. I generally have a yoghurt and toast if there is a toaster, or bread and cheese if there isn’t. Black tea is hard to locate, but thankfully I have a box so I bring a couple of bags with me each morning.

After breakfast we had to bring the bikes down the stairs from the 3rd floor which was a bit of a challenge with my arm, I had to carry the bike on the other side and stop after each flight.

At 8am we left in a convoy, only a 7km one today. Getting on and off my bike is difficult but possible, and I can use my brakes. My arm is uncomfortable – 4/10 on the pain scale but compared to sitting in a truck most of the day it is doable.

Riding along, having trouble getting on and off the bike and braking, I was thinking about my friend Wendy who had a very nasty accident a couple of years ago, which has left her with very limited use of her right hand – I had a small insight into her world.

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A town called Marina

Thankfully the riding today is easy, fresh legs, and no big hills. Before I know it we are at lunch. Beautiful spot for lunch, jaw dropping view, amazing harbours, clear blue water, sandy beaches. Every turn is more beautiful.

 

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Lunch stop

I found it a bit difficult going through the towns with the traffic lights, having to get on and off my bike, and the last few km had a couple of climbs but then a descent to the hotel along another promenade. We stayed at the Hotel Jadran, not as flash as the one in Split but pretty nice. The hotel is very dated, another place that would have been grand in its day. The carpet is worn but the room is small, clean, and comfortable.

There is quite a lot of noise outside which turns out be a basketball tournament which goes on until about midnight.

Before dinner we walked up and down the promenade looking at the boats and ships. They are all in beautiful order. They range from small to charter boats to ships.

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Sibenik Waterfront

Tonight I had dinner with Brett and John and Walker, both who rode with us on the Trans-Europa. John rode from St Petersburg to Barcelona, and Walker and his wife Carol joined us in Venice and rode to Lisbon.

Dinner was a vegetable soup, over cooked fish / over cooked chicken / mushed vegetables and cold chips, and a really nice lemon and strawberry ice cream.
Plus we shared a couple of bottles of chilled red wine, can’t remember the type.

 

I went to sleep with the loud music blasting.

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