Where are we: Italy
Day Three: Stelvio Pass
Distance: 300 miles
Riding time: Four hours, one long stop in Bormio, one pit stop to find my glasses.
Weather: Blue sky! Glorious! Around 85 F.
Where we stayed: The Hotel Madatsch in Trafoi, Italy (39 hairpin turns up and moreso on the otherside down, we did both, and one trice.
Cost B&B: 35 euro, with breakfast. Additional 20 euro for a five course dinner.
First Impressions: Majestic. Twisty. Wildflowers, Heidi-ville, Church bell towers that reach to the sky, (I counted twenty two in less than a mile.) Snow capped beauties, a ton of motorcycles. If I stopped every time I wanted to take a photo, or visited a charming town, or entered a church...well I would have to live two hundred lives over the next thousand years.
From Tirano Italy, (which has a train ride that cuts through the Alps to St Moritz and tempted us to abandon the bike for a few hours, but that is another story along with Tirano that I'll share tomorrow,) we rode up towards Stelvio pass. The 39 hairpin turns held me captive, the tunnels were dark, wet, narrow … I wondered if Magic Mountain in Disneyland was based on Stelvio Pass? At one point two cars entered a Stelvio pass tunnel, but the tunnel was too narrow for two cars to pass through, so one had to back up… what an adventure that was! Backing up in a dark tunnel with cars, bikes, motorbikes racing towards you in both directions.
At one point I thought it was strange that I felt dizzy and that my focus was unclear, was it the altitude? Thinking my glasses must be crooked, I reached up to rearrange them only to find that they were not there! I poked French Husband motioning to him that we had to go back to the last stop, « My glasses are gone, turn around ! » We turned around, not an easy task, on a narrow, winding road, and went back down the 39 hairpin turns. I prayed hoping to find my glasses, and that they were not smashed.
Each time we stop, which is not often, it is a work out… I take off my gloves, put them on the motorcycle seat, then I take off my glasses because the helmet does not come off with them on, and put them in my jacket pocket, then I take off my helmet and grab my gloves on the motorcycle seat and stuff them inside of it. Next I put the helmet with stuffed gloves inside on the ground. Then I take my glasses from my jacket pocket, put them on and take off my jacket because it is unbearable hot. Then I take my camera out of the top case, unwrap it from the protective case (which is a sweatshirt) take a photo or two, and wrap it up again, and put it back in the top case. Then I start to re dress... take out my gloves from my helmet, put on my helmet, put on my glasses, put on my jacket, put on my gloves and get on the bike . But the last time I missed a step and left my glasses in my pocket and they fell out.
Are you dizzy yet?
Taking photos, and or stopping is not that fun as you can see (which I couldn't because I didn't have my glasses !!)
After I found my glasses, on the ground unscratched we went back up the 39 hairpin turns, by now it was old hat, I wasn’t scared, it was a piece of cake. In all honesty driving in Marseille gets my adrenaline going more than the Stelvio pass. But the Awe factor is what got me: The pass over the Alps is strikingly beautiful and that is the what made me gasp over and over again, "Wow!" Breathtaking is an understatement.
At the top of Stelvio pass is a town called Bormio, (a winter ski resort) it is packed with
hikers, bikers, drivers, day trippers and few cars as there is no room for them to park. Several hotels are situated and their views are impeccable. You can grab a bite to eat, and if you like hot dogs, there is a lively man who talks shops, and grills dogs in front of the snow capped mountains.
The road is impeccably managed, like riding on velvet cream. Though I imagine the weekend to be swarmed, we went on a weekday at noon. Smooth sailing.
Note: Stelvio Pass is for experienced riders, otherwise do not attempt it.
We found a wonderful hotel, on the other side of other side of the mountain, a small town called Trafoi. The Hotel Madatsch for 35 euro a person, and 20 euro for a five course dinner.
I wondered what to wear for dinner, then realized I did not have a choice.. blue jeans and a black tee shirt is all I had, plus a sweatshirt and a pink tank top.
Note: I will add more photos, but time is pressing. We could not find internet service yesterday, and the photos take about five minutes to download. SO more later ...until then thank you for you prayers, good thoughts, and smiles we feel them.