We woke up early and made our way down to the dingy meal area attached to our restaurant for a continental breakfast consisting of (for Vince) a cappuccino, cereals and stale bread and (for Karen) weak tea and cereals. It was drizzling outside as I retrieved the bike from the garage opposite our hotel and started to load it up, but we were so keen to say ‘Arivadechi’ to Madesimo we didn’t want to stay longer and pull on our wet weather gear, so we headed off into the light rain as quickly as we could.
I’d plotted a zig-zag course to our planned destination – a camp site near Bormio, the base of the Stelvio Pass, with zigs occurring at Chiavenna and Tirana, and the zag taking place in Saint Moritz. The first section of riding took us on a roller coaster hairpin-encrusted ride down the side of a mountain that I wasn’t expecting nor really prepared for. This section of road (Pianazzo) was amazing – the road and it’s many tunnels and hairpins had been chiselled out of the mountainside, a bit like an ant-farm tunnel. The road was wet and chopped up, and the hairpins were so close together it was almost a continual spiral that we descended. Again, Karen was put to good work looking forwards for oncoming cars, difficult to spot in the twisty conditions.
After leaving Chiavenna we took the more gradual and open road towards Saint Moritz, enjoying the short but twisty Moleja Pass, and then followed the beautiful road as it wound up the hills and past the lakes leading into Saint Moritz. We pushed straight through and then stopped for a bite to eat from our supplies a bit north of the town, overlooking a glacier in the distance that Karen had spotted through the trees.
The next pass we took was the Bernina Pass, and this was a little gem. The turns were a bit more open than previous passes, allowing for a more flowing ride, and the valley scenery was beautiful. Karen mentioned over the Sena’s that the Bernina Pass goes through a UNESCO World Heritage area, and it was absolutely breathtaking.
The remainder of the ride into our camp ground at Valdisotto was relatively uneventful, the only real challenge was locating the actual camp ground as the GPS led us to someone’s house by accident, and from there we had to do some exploring to find the camp site.
Once located, the next challenge was for Karen to deal with the Camp Commendant, who wanted our passports before checking us in. Karen flatly refused 🙂 We were allocated a cute little campsite up a horrendeously steep hill – it’s paved but an absolute struggle getting the bike up there. Nevertheless, I got the bike wedged into our little plot, Karen pitched the tent, and then (thanks to a local supermarket in Bormio that has a real butcher) she cooked a delicious steak with pepper & mushroom sauce, and mashed potatoes, carrots and peas over our single-burner Dragon Fly for dinner ….. MMMMMMmmmmmm – what a great way to finish an excellent riding day 🙂