Trento Day 2 - Italian Reconnaissance -- Lombardy and Lakes - CycleBlaze

July 26, 2021

Trento Day 2

Next year we will make it to Bolzano. Until then we use it as a directional sign.
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Thunderstorms are the morning alarm. They rumble and have several flashes followed by a downpour. We drink our Nescafé from the comfort of a dry room and await the clearing. By the time we are ready to get out it is dry and slightly sunny. At a nearby cafe, we get excellent croissants (one whole wheat and yet it works) and proper coffee. Then we are ready to start.

The first order is to check on getting a covid test. No answer from the pharmacy here in Trento, but we cannot spend the morning waiting. We are out riding by 10 under ever-changing skies. 

No rain in sight. At first.
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High water levels in a tributary flowing into the Adige.
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High water levels. Tomorrow another inch of rain is expected. 

The backdrop that makes us stop continually.
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Ride along EV7 entire way, 26k up and back

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Not quite selfies….
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…each other-ies?
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That sky is looking a bit more dramatic.
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Riding into the the storm or out of it? I have already forgotten.
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But this I remember — it comes from our ride back, after the storm, which is exiting left.
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Seeking place immediately as thunder gets closer. 

Bike fairies helped out — bike cafe along route appeared. Very German. Waiter tells us that in the town 5k north, the school is taught in German, whereas in his town, 2 km south, school is taught in Italian with 2 hours of German a week.  

Bike corral at BiciGrill Faedo. Only access to cafe is by bike trail which means no one worries about security. It is delightful. Our partly-folded Bromptons always remind me of kneeling camels.
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Inside BiciGrill. Groups of riders surged in — all wearing rain gear head to toe. Ate, drank, and went out again. Along with us there was one other group who stretched out their luncheon until clearer skies arrived.
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Raining buckets. Server told us that yesterday they had hail that broke the roof of the dining area.
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Clearing skies mean we can ride down river.
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We pay for the rent of our table by eating lunch there rather than the picnic we packed. Leek and potato soup, bruschetta buy us the first chunk of time. We look at the radar and see that the storm has another big burst coming. We order fries. Then cappuccinos and cakes. By then the storm is completely gone. Our ride back to Trento is a joy partially because we know what to pause and look at but honestly, we are well-fueled. 

Crops along the Adige are completely different than the Po or the Mincio. Biggest obvious difference is that this is not a mono-culture (corn/soy) and instead there are hand-tended rows of asparagus interspersed with apple orchards. Occasionally there is a family garden on the edge. The grape vines are dense and much heavier than we saw elsewhere. (We stood under one in the heavy rain and didn’t get a drop on us.) There are small irrigation canals and no sign of large spraying efforts. This must be an amazing place in the autumn when the apples, grapes, and hops all ripen at once.

Lots of bike groups doing the EV7. Germans are most frequent and every one of them has matching Ortlieb pannier sets (front and back). Many on ebikes. Then the packs of young men, ages 15 to 25 who fly along — they move as a single being. Packs of older men, less speedy, whose formation falls apart often. Rarely do we see single riders. The trail is not used by farm workers as it was in the southern stretch.  

Ken calls the pharmacy when we get back to the hotel and we have COVID tests somewhere tomorrow morning. They rotate which pharmacy is doing the test and clarification is important on these details. A note on assuming that everyone speaks English — they don’t. When Ken started the conversation he asked if she spoke English. She said no, do you speak Italian? And luckily he has picked up enough that he was able to arrange the tests. Or at any rate, we’re hoping that he ordered COVID tests for tomorrow, and not a spay and neuter clinic for next week.

Looking at our first post, we can remember planning to make a big loop around the Po Valley on bikes. It seemed like a good plan at the time. But we made that plan not knowing much about the area, the cities, the geography, the heat. Not having been to Italy ever before. We have modified the plan several times on the fly — first, by deciding to use the trains to travel from city to city, and then using our bikes for day-trips from the city base. Second, by skipping Bergamot and heading north to Trento. Both excellent decisions, responses to things we learned during our travels. One of the reasons that we like traveling together is that we are fairly well-matched for spontaneity. We make plans and generally stick with them. But, if they are not working, or if something else looks better, then we’re willing to change our plans. 

The trains have worked very well. The ability to run into Milan from Brescia in order to pick up a bike-part, and get back not much after noon, was a great example of how well the train system works here. (And thanks to Brompton Junction, Milan for having the parts!) The trip from Brescia to Trento was not as smooth — work in the Brescia station meant that we had to travel by substitute buses for the first leg, which was a bit clumsy. But we got to Trento all the same, and on the whole we’re glad we turned this into a hybrid train-bike trip instead of a pure trip biking from hotel to hotel, as we did in Bavaria, the Netherlands, and France (in years gone by). 

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Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 335 km (208 miles)

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Jay HanksLove hearing about all the adventures. You never know what will happen when you step out the door. It sometimes makes you late for dinner...
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