Welcome to part 2 of mine travelogue mine bikepacking Tour through the Alps, Dolomites and to Venice. In my article Bikepacking - Alps, Venice, Dolomites - Part 1 I told you a lot about the preparations, the hurdles and the first two stages. In this article I would like to take you directly to my third stage.
A little reminder: We start in Switzerland, about 20 km from Zurich.
I saved my entire tour in a Komoot Collection and you can find it here: Bikepacking Tour Collection
Stage 3 - Short train ride and (almost) escaped the storm
The next morning after breakfast we went back on the road. We had been checking the weather forecast over and over again for the past few days because a storm was approaching, which was spreading to the South Tyrolean side of the Alps. We rode our bikes to Zurich to get on the train to Lugano and from there to the Lake Como my next destination.
From Lugano it was about 18 km to the Italian border. Of course we had them before we left Electronic immigration application filled out for Italy, in times of Corona you have to prepare a little more for such a trip. At the border, the nice policemen just waved us through and didn't want to see anything from us. We drove to Menagio to take the Olivedo ferry across. From the ferry we could already see the dark clouds a little further north.
As I drove across the border into Italy, I immediately noticed a change. It's probably more of a personal one splies, but somehow my beloved Italy had an immediate effect on me. We drove for a while on the country roads and the galleries that are typical of lake roads and treated ourselves to a cappuccino at the first opportunity: the first in Italy.
On to the ferry and find a place to stay before the rain
Now it was up to us along Lake Como Menaggio to the ferry. We wanted to translate that day and then look for a hotel room. Looking to the back, however, we could already see the dark clouds in the mountains, something will come down today. We are by ferry Menaggio to Varena, driven on the other side of Lake Como.
We still had 15 km to our booked hotel in Abbadia Lariana and pedaled a little harder because the rain was breathing down our necks. But we made it to our destination in the dry, took our bikes out onto the balcony and looked for something to eat.
That was 76 km by bike today plus the train ride.
Stage 4 - Escaped the floods
As already mentioned, we already had the thick and heavy rain clouds on our necks on the last stage and in fact we arrived at the hotel just about dry. It rained all evening and all night and also in the morning the clouds moved low over the lake. Thunderstorms and heavy rain were this morning for the Lake Como hip, trendy, popular.
Start in pouring rain and flooded roads
It was pouring rain, but we bravely packed our bikes and set off. The streets were under water and we were completely wet within seconds. roads? It was more like rivers through which we now moved. The Komoot route should take us along the shores of Lake Como towards Lecco. Unfortunately, it had rained so heavily in the meantime that a tunnel was completely blocked and we couldn't get any further. A look from the outside into the tunnel told us that the cars were standing in water up to the doors.
As always, it never occurred to me to take a photo in such a situation, you just have to believe me.
We looked for a small shelter around Google Maps to check if there are other ways towards Lecco. Unfortunately, there was only one connection to the other side of the mountain. From the day before we still knew that there must be a ferry connection and drove back to the pier. Unfortunately, the timetable told us that we would have to wait two hours. We were about to cycle to the next café, so we had the idea to look for a train station again and lo and behold: right around the corner.
At the train station we found out that in 40 minutes a train was coming that only took 9 minutes to Lecco. Luckily there was a dry waiting room we could get into.
Of course, the Italian train was 10 minutes late, but what the heck 😂
Continue in bright sunshine
It's really crazy in the mountains, but that's kind of what makes it cool. We got on the train and when we got to 9 Minutes When we got off the train, the sun was shining and it was comfortably warm. Just drove to the other side of the mountain and it's already summer 😎
Fortunately, the sun dried and warmed us quickly. Now it should go from Lecco to the south side of the mountains where it is flat. Before that, however, we still had to take a steep climb. Here I realized for the first time that I didn't have the right cassette on it. In places with an incline of over 11%, that was a challenge. Due to the known delivery problems, I still have a 14 - 24 cassette on it 😳 that's what you actually have on a city or trekking bike. The gradients are also feasible with such a cassette, but the result is sore muscles. But at the top of the summit there was a cappuuccino as a reward.
It was still a bit wavy before we came to the level and drove to Bergamo. The route south of the mountains didn't appeal to me at all. It doesn't always have to be hilly, but here it was always along the road with far too much traffic. To be honest, I really lost interest that day. The track was boring and the cars exhausting. It only got nice again when we approached Lake Iseo.
The reward follows in the evening
We arrived in Iseo in the early evening Lake Iseo at. I didn't know Lake Iseo yet and was therefore pleasantly surprised. I was not only attracted by the picturesque nature, but also by the really beautiful town Iseo receive. Today we sat down in a café, looked for a hotel there and enjoyed the view of the lake.
We decided to take the hotel right next to the cafe and took a room with a balcony and lake view 😍 decadent I know. However, traveling as a couple is so much cheaper than traveling alone that we allowed ourselves this luxury.
Of course we had a delicious meal in the evening and walked around the town a bit, you have to look where you are.
I can really recommend Lake Iseo - whether cycling holiday or not. Beautiful and not as crowded as Lake Garda or Lake Como. When you consider the circumstances under which we started today and how the summer presented itself, it's hard to believe!
It continues like this
After the last ride through the flat country, we decided to change something again. In the next article I will tell you exactly where it went and what challenges awaited us there 😉