Weekend of the return to solar time, from 25 to 27 October, from Friday? on Sunday, the weather forecast is excellent and then you decide for a bike ride. For a long time we have promised ourselves to do, at one time or another, the cycle path that accompanies us for long stretches when we drive the Brenner motorway, that strip of asphalt where we always see many runners and cyclists running alongside us , first on the Adige embankment and then, after Bolzano, on that of the Isarco, the first Italian section of the Eurovelo 7 cycle path, also? known as the Ciclopista del Sole.
The initial idea was to arrive by car up to Borghetto all'Adige, where the cycle path in the Trentino area begins, then park and take a regional train (with change in Bolzano) to Brenner and then return to Borghetto pedaling, a little further ? two hundred kilometers with two overnight stays along the way. With our new car, the Peugeot Partner, we can now afford to organize bicycle tours more easily. effective: by removing the 2 thirds seat, we are able to load both bikes comfortably without disassembling anything.
Unfortunately, a few days before departure, we almost by chance learn of the national transport strike called for 25 October, the day that for us should be the day of the journey to Brenner. With a bit of regret, we then decide to change our program and strategy: no train on Friday? but transfer by car to Egna / Ora and first stop in Bressanone; then on Saturday continue up to Brunico on the Val Pusteria cycle path; return on Sunday along part of the journey by train.
Wake up early in the morning so, as usual, on the day of departure you go to have breakfast at the bar. The Brenner not? particularly smooth, several trucks and traffic from working day, but all in all we manage to arrive at the Egna / Ora tollbooth shortly after 9:30. On Google Maps we had identified the free Rio Trodena car park, on the outskirts of Egna, as a good solution to leave the car for the weekend; and in fact upon our arrival we realize the good choice. So let's unload the bikes, mount the rear bags containing the essentials to stay out for 3 days, put on a helmet, sunglasses, gloves and start our adventure.
From the parking lot we easily reach the cycle path continuing along the road that passes under the state road n.12 towards the river; they will be at most three hundred meters. Reached the embankment we turn right for Bolzano and, for the first two kilometers, we pedal on the Adige embankment, then the cycle path deviates on the embankment of one of its small tributaries, the Rio Lusina, and then returns to the main embankment after another two kilometers. Apart in some sections where it is necessary to pay particular attention and prudence as there is no? protective barrier on the sides, pedaling on the embankment? all in all quite safe and pleasant, our pace settles on twenty Kmh. The landscape ? the typical fluvial one of the area, cultivated with orchards and vineyards up to the bank to our right and spontaneous vegetation of broad-leaved trees and shrubs on the bank to the left.
Being Friday ?, working day, the cycle path is not? extremely busy, we cross other cyclists who travel it in the opposite direction to ours, but no excessive overcrowding as maybe it can? be on Sunday. We are therefore able to keep a good average which allows us to arrive in Bolzano before noon. Here the cycle path moves from the Adige bank to the Isarco bank. Cross the city? Bolzano by bike turns out to be quite simple, the city cycle paths run alongside the main arteries even if you need to be careful not to make mistakes in the roundabouts and always follow the Brenner direction. Despite this, near the train station, inevitable works in progress force us to make an unpleasant detour, which we still manage brilliantly by taking the cycle path a little more? forward.
We continue for a few kilometers on the river bank until we reach Cardano, the first town outside Bolzano, where we stop at a minimarket to buy something to eat, a Sch? Ttelbrot, or a dry flatbread typical of the Isarco valley. made with rye flour, fennel seeds and wild cumin. After Cardano, we resume the cycle path that begins to rise with a little more? of consistency. The high passages above state road 12 and alongside or under the A22 motorway are spectacular. We also cross some tunnels, a remnant of the old railway line now transformed into the cycle path we are traveling on.
The day goes on wonderfully, the weather? splendid, the temperature? pleasantly warm. Wouldn't it even be an autumn day if it weren't for the colors of the leaves on the trees and the scent of those falls that form here and there? soft carpets that run along the sides of the cycle path. We continue our ride towards Bressanone enjoying the beauty of the landscape to the fullest, at times we travel parallel to the river, at times we skirt the state road, in some points we pass under the high and imposing pylons of the highway, we pass alongside the towns of Prato Isarco, Campodazzo, Ponte Gardena, before literally entering the medieval village of Chiusa with the cycle path.
It is now 14:00, has the earlier dunk exhausted its driving effect, hunger? returned overbearing and having entered in such a way? Suddenly directly inside a square where some bars, given the summer, still allow themselves to keep the expanse of outdoor tables, so that we decide to stop for a quick lunch, before returning to the saddle and covering the last kilometers separate from Bressanone which we reach shortly after 15:00. Here we stay overnight at the 3-star family-run pension Pension Mayrhofer which will turn out in retrospect. an excellent choice, both for the courtesy of the owner, and for the quality ratio? price.
The first stage ends positively, we are a little tired but very satisfied, in total we cycled for 72 kilometers. We close the day with wellness and a few hours of relaxation at the Acquarena, a wellness center with saunas that we know well given the various past frequentations.
The restorative night goes well, the bed? comfortable and the room? sufficiently spacious, we certainly have no difficulty? to fall asleep. We wake up early anyway and at 7:30 we are already? in the stube for breakfast, excellent and plentiful as usual here in South Tyrol. After paying the due and saying goodbye to the kind owner of the pension, we take the cycle path, which goes up the Isarco river, which we had left just the day before.
Immediately outside the town, the cycle path begins to rise leaving the river to its course and we begin to follow the state road. In fact it would be quite a challenging climb, but thanks to the help provided by the batteries of our pedal assisted bikes we have no particular problems. At a certain point, near Varna, we are diverted to the viability? ordinary and we have to go through a couple of hairpin bends before we find again the brown cycle path sign that shows us the direction to take for the Varna lake and the Brenner. We are pedaling now on a dirt road in the middle of the woods, mainly downhill. Only after a few kilometers do we find the asphalt, in correspondence with the A22 motorway to which we begin to run alongside. In this way, after a few kilometers we arrive at Fortezza, near the Habsburg fort, where the Val Pusteria cycle path begins.
From the fort, in easy descent, where the cycle path runs along the sides of the provincial road, apart from a short stretch where we are diverted to the viability? ordinary, we reach first Aica and then Sciaves, where we stop for a coffee? at the Sonneck hotel restaurant that we find on the carriageway that leads, more? below, on state road 49, road that runs through the valley to San Candido and the state border. Now, for a short distance, the cycle path deviates from the main road and climbs following a scenic route between meadows and woods and then descends again and crosses Rio di Pusteria-Mhulbach. At this point, after leaving the town, finally the situation of the route? back to take shape clearly and we pedal on the definitive cycle path, in a separate location, which will take us? up to Brunico, our destination today.
Pedaling quietly, but at speed? constant, in a fairytale landscape that develops between the river, the main road in the valley and the regional railway of the San Candido - Fortezza line, touching the centers of Vandoies, San Sigismondo, Chienes, Casteldarne, San Lorenzo di Sebato, we finally arrive at the gates of Brunico where we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a large fair-market (in Stegona) which, we will discover more? later, to be an annual event that attracts thousands of visitors from the surrounding area and even from Austria. It is past noon, so we don't let ourselves be tempted by the sirens of the fair and we continue towards the center. Do we want to find accommodation at the most? soon why? one of our goals? to spend the rest of the afternoon at the legendary Cron4, one of the wellness centers with the most? renowned in South Tyrol, especially for the setting and the spectacularity? of jets of steam. Cron4 is located in Riscone, a hamlet of Brunico, directly at the foot of the Plan de Corones, the area's ski and hiking mountain. After having asked unsuccessfully in some of the few (given the low season) hotels that are still open, we finally find availability? a spacious room in B&B formula at the Reipertingerhof hotel, a good 3-star hotel equipped with, among other things, an internal wellness center. We have cos? traveled another 50 kilometers.
I spent the afternoon and evening at the Cron4 wellness center, where we were able to dispose of the accumulated fatigue by relaxing in the sauna and, given the hot and sunny day, also taking the full sun in the beautiful outdoor garden, we return to the hotel and throw ourselves under the covers for a well-deserved restful sleep.
As always, we wake up early in the morning. The clock still strikes summer time, but in fact it is only 6:30, breakfast starts at 7:30 so c '? time to calmly store our things in the bicycle bags we had brought to the room. Outside the window, a thick wet fog reminds us that, despite the mild temperatures of these days, it is still autumn.
We have a hearty breakfast, typically South Tyrolean with sweet, salty, yoghurt, cereals, eggs and fruit, then at 8:30 we leave and set off on the way back. The descent from Riscone? a bit difficult given the poor visibility? and the damp cold that is felt right into the bones. However, we get off without problems, slowly and carefully, to the station where the timetable shows the first train useful for us at 9:31. We buy the ticket only for the bikes (at the hotel they gave us the Trentino Card which gives us the right to travel for free on all regional routes) paying 14 euros and we travel from Brunico to the Fortezza terminus, where we have the connection that will bring us? in Bolzano, where we arrive around 11:30. Meanwhile ? out of a beautiful sun and the temperature is? made mild. Indeed in Bolzano there? just hot.
From the Bolzano station, we go backwards along the path of the first day in order to reach the cycle path that runs along the river. We have to cycle about thirty kilometers to return to Egna, to the parking lot where we left the car. Sar? perhaps the accumulated fatigue, or even the fact that being Sunday there? pi? traffic on the cycle path, we keep an hourly average a little more? low than on the way out, but in the end we arrive in Egna at 13:15, just in time to enjoy a good plate of Tagliatelle with Porcini and Chestnuts at a pizza restaurant in the center.
We had been aiming for years to make a stretch of Eurovelo 7 and, in the end, even if not as we had planned, we managed to hit it. The odometer on arrival marks 153, done in three days would seem too few, but we both know well that not? the quantity? of the kilometers traveled that makes the experience unique, but? the satisfaction of having spent three days together, on an ecologically sustainable journey, in the midst of nature, mainly oriented to the care and sustenance of our physical and mental well-being.
All there? thanks to a bicycle.