After we have come to Lake Iseo on our last stage and have enjoyed the lake and the beautiful place in the evening, we start today with a short but very crisp stage to Lake Garda. A wonderful hotel awaits us there, which we first have to earn with altitude meters and climbs on pilgrimage paths 😂
Everything was there again today! From "how beautiful" to "seriously now?" But now we should start right away.
You can find the Komoot Collection for the trip here: Bikepacking 2021
Stage 5 - short but sweet
Now it should start straight away ... That's exactly how it was on the day of the stage, by the way July 28, 2021. It was pretty hot in the Lombardy, that's the name of this Italian region. The first ascent started almost directly behind the hotel. First, get out of town in a relaxed manner, until the first switchbacks on the country road.
Gravel on the pilgrimage route
After about 3 km up the serpentines, we went on a pilgrimage path on the right hand side. At first the pilgrimage route was passable. Some tar had been poured over the sandy ground and the subsoil was therefore very good, but round the next bend there were thick round stones in the ground waiting for us. Since the climb was very steep and there was simply no grip on the ground, we had to dismount and push.
Due to the heavy rains of the last few days, the stones were partially washed free, which made driving and pushing difficult.
Marcus soon took a turn back onto the road and I wanted to continue along this path a little longer. We just arranged to meet at the top of the mountain where the paths should come together again. It was a short distance to drive before I had to push again. Just before I got to the top where Marcus was waiting, I came out onto the road again. As I was about to drive off, a wasp flew under my glasses and stung me right next to my eye. Damn it burned, I cursed, you can imagine that. I cooled the stitch with water and continued. The sting continued to sting for about five minutes, and then the stinging subsided. Luckily the sting was forgotten by evening.
Continue towards Lake Garda
We were now heading further Lake Garda, our goal today should be above Salò. So on the south-west tip of Lake Garda. There were still a few nice roads to go before we got through Borgo Bailo to lead.
We actually expected Borgo Bailo to be a beautiful place in the middle of the mountains, because it is actually beautifully situated in the valley. Unfortunately, Borgo Bailo was an industrial place and not beautiful at all. Driving through it looked more like the Siberia of Italy, well you know what I mean.
rivers, forest and mountains
But now it was really nice again! It went along wonderful rivers, always on forest paths, here and there on roads and through beautiful small towns. Of course we also had the second ascent with us, but when you know that after that it's almost all downhill, it's a pleasure in the heat. Well, in hindsight it was nice 😂
On gravel to the goal
The last kilometers were supposed to be mostly on gravel through the hills and that's how it was. On beautiful paths towards Lake Garda. When our Wahoo told us to turn left, we were faced with a locked gate. Just when we wanted to check what's going on on Google Maps, the gate opened. We just drove in and were greeted by two big dogs. But the owner came up shortly after and said that there is no long way here and that this property is private. He also didn't know the name of our hotel, although it was supposed to be only 3 km away.
So we drove down dirt roads to the lake in Saló and then drove back up the road to our hotel. Since today's stage was rather short, it wasn't that bad. When we got to the top, we immediately realized that the last few meters had really been worth it. A very nice hotel with a great view.
Stage 6 - Bikepacking pleasure in South Tyrol
Marcus and I had talked a lot about how we want to continue. He has been very happy with the routes so far and I probably whined in his ears a bit 😂 Of course, I also thought our trip was great so far, but I missed the beautiful bike paths and the quiet breaks at the bike rest stops.
So the next day we planned to drive up the valley to South Tyrol and make a detour to Trentino.Agreement must be
After a very good breakfast - I was way too greedy again - we went on the road at Lake Garda. We wanted to Toscolano-Maderno to get on the ferry there. As if we had planned it, we got there just in time and didn't have to wait long for departure. Then we went to the other bank on the ferry Torri del Benaco. Our route should lead us to the Euro Velo Route after a few kilometers.
After the ferry, we walked along the shore of Lake Garda before we turned east to get on the bike route. There were many gravel paths, some of which were steep uphill, but it was a very nice feeling to be off the road. After about 35 km we came to the Euro Velo route and I knew that it was now going gently and only uphill on cycle paths. On that day, I think it was an aha experience for Marcus too, that you can really cycle here on great trails and hardly have to make any compromises. We enjoyed the heat and the famous Bicycle rest stops, which are here every 20 - 40 km. Fountains for filling up bottles are also available here, a dream for cyclists.
Detour to Trentino
Shortly before Trento we took a turn to the east because we didn't want to go all the way up the valley. Now things went uphill again for us. Here, more than 10 meters in altitude had to be made in less than 500 km. We now had a place to stay Caldonazzo lake booked for us. After we first had to drive past the destination because the train tracks prevented us from getting to our hotel 😂 , we then made it to the destination in a detour. Our bikes got their own room 😂 and we were now able to move into ours.
After a proper refreshment we enjoyed our well-deserved sleep.
That was a real pleasure stage with 117 km and 1030 hm. We both enjoyed the great bike infrastructure in Italy and after such beautiful bike paths you want to make fewer compromises in the quality of the route in the future 🚴♂️
It continues like this
On our next stage, we head out of the mountains on the south side again, because we still want to drive in the direction of Venice. But you can read about that next time.