OK – it is official: I am out of superlatives. This trip is giving us day after day of fantastic scenery, food, roads and experiences. I have tried to describe these as we have gone along, but I think that I am at the end of being able to convey just how fantastic the experience is.
We had a wonderful time at the Aquadome, and were heading for the Italian lakes today. I had planned a ride up the Timmelsjoch pass, and down the Passo del Rombo into Italy. It is a tough ride, narrow and with many hairpins. I was worried about the Harley – with two of us riding, it is not the most nimble of rides, and it doesn’t turn very easily. I had done my research and was willing to tackle the high pass – both for the ride experience and the views – but the weather forecast was pretty shitty, and so I let discretion get the better part of valour for me, and we chose an alternative, easier route today.
We rode back down the Otztal valley to join the Inn valley, and then turned east once more and headed to Innsbruck. There, we headed south onto the Brenner pass, and followed this over the Alps and into Italy. It is a wide motorway, and carried a lot of traffic – it is one of the major alpine passes in use today. The scenery was still superb, and the Dolomites in view are spectacular.
The descent from the pass lasted about 60 kms, I think my brakes were pretty hot by then. We stopped for some fuel, and turned off the main road towards the northern part of Lake Garda about 30 km from our destination. We wound our way through some small towns, and then came to Riva del Garda – the northernmost point of the lake. Gouged by a glacier during the last ice age, it sits 65m above sea level. It is ringed by tall mountains, many over 2000m in height.
It was about now that I ran out of superlatives. checking in to our hotel, our room overlooks the lake. The hotel sits on the shore, and has a small beach for residents.
We had a quick and very good lunch, then donned our swimsuits and went for a paddle in the cool, clear blue water of the lake. We swam, sunbathed, napped and repeated the cycle for a couple of hours, and then walked into Malcesine, about 7 km from the hotel. It was pretty hot (32 degrees C), but not too humid, so the walk was bearable.
The views on the walk continued to take our breath away. We eventually reached the little town of Malcesine, dominated by the 13th century Castello Scaligero.
Using TripAdvisor, we found great little restaurant in the old town, and enjoyed a meal of local foods and wine, and a Tiramisu to die for. Tomorrow is a non-riding day, and we aim to come back and explore the old town further.