This week has been amazing. Our best friends Meg and Nath met us by lake guarda late Monday evening, and we spent two days with them catching up and doing touristy things.
We rented mountain bikes and got a shuttle to the top of a mountain for 2000m of fun downhill, with incredible views across the valley and of the lake. The route was great, big gravel switchbacks along the mountainside, with a terrifying drop over the edge, which then turned into technical rocky singletrack. This then became a disused road winding down the cliff-edge. It was so much fun! Jim was very happy to be back on the mountain bike!
We also attempted to do one of the many via ferratas by lake Garda. I didn’t know about these before hand and it was awful (but kinda great!). We started off renting harnesses and deciding we would be totally fine doing one which was ‘difficult’. We hiked up a hill to the start where I promptly realised exactly how high up a cliff we were going to be. The start involved free climbing up the cliff face a few meters before cliping in. Jim (who’s more monkey than person) scrambled up ok, but when I tried I couldn’t even get up the first bit. I also was in a massive panic because I could see the route going up the cliff and it looked awful! Meg and Nath also struggled to get up, and when it started raining we decided to head off to a different ‘easy’ one.
In the next valley over we clipped on and started climbing, and I got a few meters up before having a massive panic and giving up, getting some good photos of the others climbing before going for a run instead of following the others up a gorge. I immediately regretted not forcing myself to do it, but it was really really high!
Jim, Meg and Nath said it was brilliant and proper enjoyed themselves! It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. When we met up at the end I was convinced to do the first part, up to an escape route, and just about managed it, although I was shaking and swearing alot! Great fun but super scary!
It was really amazing to meet up with Meg and Nath (thanks guys!!) and to have other people to talk to and find out what’s going on at home. As fantastic as it is to be on tour, it’s ace to catch up with friends.
After seeing Meg and Nath we had a long couple of days speeding east on busy, big flat roads. Outside Verona we were apparently looking lost, as an elderly cyclist appeared, told us to follow him, and towed us through some villages and on lovely little roads to a canal cycle path which he said would take us into Verona!
We also managed to stay with a lovely family in Soave, turning up at an address which Google said was Soave campsite, but which turned out to be a family who let us camp in their garden and gave us a wonderful breakfast.
It’s been incredibly hot this week, to the point where we are dripping with sweat (yum) while cycling, and can’t sit in the tent at night. We finally crossed the border into Slovenia yesterday, but we are really liking it so far! Before the border Italy was totally flat, and now we are in the hills, rolling through fields and forests underneath the intense sun.
We found a great gravel road through a park full of caves and natural stone bridges today, and are now camping on a farm, complete with cows, horses, chickens, a Bermese mountain dog and a taxidermied brown bear.
Jim’s words – Mountain bike, Climbing, Verona, Bites, Long, Slovenia and Cave.