Today we did an intentionally short and easy day (52 km), as we are still affected by colds.
In fact, I was feeling a lot better today after a good sleep, but I am worried about Kris as his cough is worse and he is not feeling great either.
We had a relatively late start, leaving just before 9 am. It took a while, around 5 km, to find our way out of Bolzano and onto the cycle path again. The weather was cool and overcast but not unpleasant. We were still quite comfortable in our T-shirts as long as we kept moving.
Most of today’s route was on a dedicated tarred cycle way again. Being a Saturday morning, there were a lot of other cyclists – most of them men in Lycra, but some day trippers and tour-ers like us as well. It was overcast the whole day as we rode through a wide alpine valley with huge mountains on either side and snow capped peaks peaking out from high above the clouds.
The biggest town we passed through was Merano, where the cycle-way abruptly ended and was replaced by a maze of town cycle-ways which were difficult to decipher. We probably added around 5 km to our route here. However Kris eventually got us back on track alongside the river.
The route was mostly absolutely flat except for one steady hill climb on the other side of Merano. The view from the top was pretty spectacular. However we didn’t linger as it was threatening to rain, and it did spit a bit as we were going down the other side, but never developed into rain proper.
The town we are staying in, Naturno, is small and cute. We really like the hotel, it is a typical German style country hotel with a large room and a balcony looking out onto the mountain. An old castle is practically next door. This whole area definitely feels more Austrian than Italian to us, in terms of the architecture, dress (Tyrolese vests worn by the workers in the pub) and language spoken (we are hearing a lot of German).
We had a quick walk around the town and then went and had some Franziskaner Hefeweizen at the local restaurant/pub in town and a bowl of warming pasta each. We then bought some more treats at the supermarket, including a Tiramisu from the cake counter and a small bottle of pear liquor which was delicious.
As I write this it is raining properly outside and Kris is sleeping soundly beside me (it is not yet 7 pm). Another short day is planned for tomorrow.