Sunday, March 24, 2013

Europe 2012 Part 3

Day 12  On The Road


On the route out of St Moritz you pass this beautiful church, hang a right towards Pontresina and start the 2328 meter climb to the top of Passo del Bernina.

I spotted this beautiful Belgium Terv and her owners a couple of times during my trip.

Funniest thing happened along the way. I was cruising at my modest tourist pace enjoying the early part of the climb through the forest.
Spectacular glacial views starting to appear.
 Anyway, along comes this guy on a nice looking mountain bike, dressed quite casually and moving at a pretty good clip.
We had just started a fairly steep switch back section of the route.
 I said hi and he greeted me with a wave and a big smile as he motored on by. I was thinking to myself, that dudes in pretty good shape!..

It is hard to do this Glacier justice in my photo. Actually brought tears to my eyes when I first spotted it. Incredibly majestic view. Equal to looking at the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Anyhow, back to the dude on the bike. When I reached the top of the little switchback section through the forest, I crossed the railway line and joined  40-50 tourists taking photos as we do. 
The dude was standing by his bike smoking a cigarette . I looked at him and said that he was very fit. He smiled and pointed down to the bottom bracket on his bike. 
I burst out laughing as I saw the little electric motor tucked into the frame!
Europe has the most amazing Electric assist bikes.

After a solid initial climb up the pass I came to this open valley that went steadily up to the summit.
Seeing the trains going up and down the valley reminded me of the kids and watching Thomas the Tank Engine.

Great Glacial view from the Tea House at the top of the pass and a nice little treat awaiting me for all the hard effort required.

Dropped into the next valley for a couple of km's before turning onto the Forcola di Livigno and the start of my next climb up to 2315m which would take me out of Switzerland and back into Italy.

Pulled over for a short break to shed some clothing and fuel up for the start of the next climb.

 Literally dropping into Italy. This was a massive valley with the road hugging the side of the hill and the mtn bike/ hiking trail following the  floor.

Loved the rock slide sign. Note the cow at the bottom.

Looking back up to the border.

I rode into Livigno along a great bike trail. There didn't really seem to be a central village, more of a strip village that went along the valley for a number of kms.
It was a magnificent day. People everywhere enjoying the sunshine, not that any of these photos seem to show that.
I took some advice from a fellow cyclist who told me to head about 5 km down the valley to a campground.
When I finally found it, it turned out to be for RV's only and was pretty much just a gravel parking lot!
SO, I turned around and headed back up the valley.
Just what you feel like after riding two big passes. Finally found a small family run camp ground for
10 Euro and jumped in the shower.

I pitched my tent, went to the camp restaurant, ate a hug bowl of pasta, salad, couple of loaves of bread, drank a few beers and settled into my tent as the temps plummeted, heavens opened up and the rain came down... all night

Little map of the valley, full of ski lifts. Must be an awesome place to carve a few turns in the winter months.

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