To Bressanone - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

September 30, 2018

To Bressanone

We left Hotel Rosengarten for what I’m sure will be the last time.  We’ve had a fine stay here and enjoyed reminiscing over our previous visit but it’s time to move on.  Our destination today is Bressanone/Brixen, forty-some miles downstream.  We’ll be following a string of well developed, well marked cycle routes the whole way.

We begin following the same route we rode west on two days ago, before turning north up the Anterselva.  It’s the same fine ride for twelve miles, but even better because there’s some added excitement: the Kartoffelfest (potato festival) is on this weekend in the neighboring village of Niederdorf.  We stop by to share in the excitement a bit, buy some bread, cheese and prosciutto for the day’s lunch, and listening to Elvis croon Don’t Be Cruel over the PA system.

Wolff from Germany, our favorite fellow guest at the hotel. He’s leaving for home this morning, after a visit of about a week. He’s on his way to the train station with his bike and trailer. His bike weighs a ton!
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Looking south for probably our last time at the valley that leads to Misurina and Cortina. It’s a bit of a bittersweet moment for me - we have a lot of strong memories tied up in this spot.
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The excitement builds as we drop to Niederdorf.
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Exciting isn’t the half of it. It’s the seventh annual Potato Festival!
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Pick a potato, any potato - the south Tyrolean take on Three Card Monte
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I recognize squash and gourds, but what is the dried plant on the left?
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Andrea BrownThose are poppy seed pods.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesPoppy shells. Possibly intended for use in making strudel?
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We’d love to stay here all morning, but finally we tear ourselves away and continue downstream along the Rienz for another lazy fifteen miles until we come to Brunico/Bruneck, another beautiful Tyrolean town with a well preserved historical core.  If the time and distances had worked out for us, we’d have been quite happy to stay here for a night or two.  As it is, we can at least spare time to enjoy our lunch here, leaning against the sunny south all of the Ursuline Church.

Riding west toward Brunico, we come to the Antholzer valley that we biked up two days back. The High Tauerns peek around the corner.
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Another look up the Antholzer Valley
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A tunnel! We love bike friendly tunnels.
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A covered bridge! We love bike friendly covered bridges.
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We get a fine view of Santa Catarina Church s we enter Brunico, another lovely Tyrolean town that looks like it would make a good base for a few days.
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Brunico’s coat of arms, above the gate to the city
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In old Brunico. I like the way that the roof lines cast shadows on the northern wall of the street.
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It looks like a commando raid in old Brunico, but these are rock climbers fixed in place above a sporting goods store.
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In Brunico
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Fancy ironwork, Brunico
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Church of the Ursuline, Brunico.
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The sunny south wall of the Ursuline Church made a perfect spot for our lunch break.
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We haven’t had a bike portrait for a few days. This looks like a good spot.
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The second half of the ride, from Brunico to Bressanone, is a bit more challenging than what came before.  The route tends downriver but it comes with more hiccups along the way, as well as a few extra miles that we weren’t expecting.  When I scoped out the ride in advance I wasn’t faithful about mapping to the bike route, and the ride ended up being six miles further than I’d mapped to and included more climbing.  It was definitely the best route to take though - I could see that the road I had planned to bike into Bressanone would have been at least unpleasant to unsafe - but at the end of the day, how many of us would get enthusiastic about an extra six lumpy, unpaved miles?

We’ll be in Bressanone for two nights before heading up to Ortisei and a few more days in the mountains.  Rain and possibly even a bit of snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, so this feels like a good spot for a rest day.  We’re due for one anyway.  We’ll be staying in the Grauer Bar (grey bear), a traditional hotel in a building dating back to the 1600’s.  The owner tells us has been in the family since 1919 - next year is their centennial.  It’s an interesting year for the hotel to have started up - it’s the year after the Great War ended and South Tyrol became Italian.  I wonder what the story is behind that?

Bressanone is a thousand year old city, and the oldest in Tyrol.  It looks like a great place to explore, which we’ll do tomorrow.

Leaving Brunico, we cycle beside the Rienz, much enlarged since merging here with the Ahr.
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Castle and crow
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On the Corn Route, take one: the sunny side
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On the Corn Route, take two: the shady side
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On the Corn Route, take three: the Wave
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Muhlbach Fortress, built in the fifteenth century to protect the Puster Balley from both the Turks and the Venetians
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Anderson Team selfie, Muhlbach
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Ride stats today: 48 miles, 2,100’

Today's ride: 48 miles (77 km)
Total: 1,063 miles (1,711 km)

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