Saturday, September 28, 2013


Don and I are home now, safe and sound. It is 8:00 p.m. here. I've been up since 4:00 a.m. Italy time (22 hours). Last night I could not get my pictures to load to the blog, so here is yesterday's post.

On our last day in Italy, we strolled around Merano in the morning before boarding a bus to Verona. Upon arriving there two hours later, we met a tour guide who took us around the main sights. We had the rest of the afternoon and evening to explore by ourselves. No biking today.

While walking around Merano

Everywhere we looked, people were riding their bikes to work and or shop

Romeo's house

Balcony of Juliet's house

Verona's Roman Arena finished in 50 A.D. holds 25,000 people

Our hotel room in Verona

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lake Resia to Merano

After breakfast today, we took a shuttle bus up to 4,500 feet to Lake Resia, near the borders of Austria and Switzerland. The lake is famous for this steeple emerging from its waters, submerged after the village of Curon was evacuated, dynamited and flooded following the construction of a dam in 1950.

Don and I rode 25 miles today then boarded a train in Lasa for a ride back to Merano. Greg and Merry went the total distance on their bikes (50 miles).

For lunch we stopped in the Renaissance village of Gorenza. We ate at an authentic German restaurant in the village before heading back out on the trail.

It is apple harvest time, and we rode through many apple orchards where people were picking apples and packing them up in crates for transport.

Picture of Don near an apple orchard

On our walk back from the train station, Judy took our picture by this unusual church in Merano

Tonight we had our farewell dinner with Christian and Tiziania. She wore the traditional costume from her town in Italy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ride to Bressanone and Chiusa

It was a tiring day. We rode 30 miles altogether. In the morning, we rode on rolling hills which were sometimes pretty steep. Most of the time there was a downhill to get me ready for the uphill ride. I was pretty exhausted by the time we loaded into a bus in Chiusa that took us to our hotel in Merano. Greg and Merry did all the hills with ease. I told them they are ready for an Easy/Moderate trip.

Here are some of the things we saw today:

Cutest little miniature pony at a farm we passed.

The ruins of the Rio Pusteria fortress

Novacella Abbey 

Lunch in Bressanone

Strolling around Chiusa

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ride to Campo Tures

After breakfast today, we cycled 32 miles in the Aures and Tures valleys along the Rio Aurino River.  We saw many wonderful things.

There were a few cattle farms full of friendly cows.

There was a church on the side of the mountain with a cemetery right in the yard.

We saw Taufers Castle, built in the early 13th century.

At lunch in Campo Tures, we hiked to see this waterfall.

On the way back to Brunico in the afternoon, we saw what has to be the tiniest church in the world.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at an outdoor cafe for Gelato.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ride to Brunico

This morning we left our hotel on our bikes and rode 9 miles uphill on an old railroad track. The grade on the path was never more than 2.5 percent because the trains could not climb otherwise. After this, we cycled 13 more miles to our lunch destination and 11 miles after that to our next hotel, Park Schoenblick in Brunico.

We came across a few tunnels that were dug out for the trains to go through.

Don and Greg did a little mountain climbing. Then Greg tried to throw Don over the edge.

We stopped at a World War I cemetery at the foothills of Monte Piana.

For lunch we stopped in San Candido, about four miles from the border of Austria. Here there were two churches side by side. One was a Byzantine church built in 1200. Behind it was an extremely well preserved Roman style church built in 789.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cycle to Caldore

After breakfast, we biked downhill along the Boite River valley on the Dolomites Bike Path. Along the way, we passed the ski jump built for the 1965 winter Olympics. Greg decided to give the jump a try.
We were supposed to bike 24 miles today, but the city of Cortina was holding its annual half-marathon on our bike path, so we had to jump on a bus and skip part of our trail.

Our morning ride ended at Calalzo Lake where we had a picnic lunch.

Our picnic lunch.

 There are 17 of us in the group (19 including our two guides). 

 Our guides: Tiziana and Christian.

 In the afternoon, we took a walk around the town of Cortina to take in the beauty of the mountains.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cortina d'Ampezzo

We left Venice this morning on a water taxi to the airport. We didn't fly, but we got on a bus and rode two hours to Cortina d'Ampezzo, a.k.a. the Pearl of the Dolomites.

The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north eastern Italy, and are part of the southern Alps. Cortina is a mountain ski resort which hosted the 1956 winter Olympics.

Our hotel looks like a Swiss chalet. Greg said it makes him want to yodel.

The center of Cortina

Greg & Merry

We went on our warm-up ride today. It was two miles uphill and two miles downhill. Then we stopped at a bike shop on the side of the road. The Dolomites are behind us. It was a beautiful day.

Me and Don

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Day in Venice

This morning we got up early and walked over to the Doge's Palace. Most of what currently exists was built after 1300. A Doge was something like an elected king.

Every so often I could look out a window of the Doge's Palace and see a nice view of the city.

Inside the Palace, we crossed over the Bridge of Sighs. This was the criminal's last view of the city through a window of peep holes before he or she was locked up in the palace prison.

Around every turn, there were beautiful scenes like this.

Merry and I posed with one of the local girls dressed as an opera singer.

Along another narrow canal.

A gondolier on his break.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More Photos From Venice

Dining and music in St. Mark's Square

Greg & Merry on one of the 400 bridges

The Grand Canal