July 23-Trento, Italy to Riva Del Garda, Italy (42km)
We awoke in Trento, Italy on the morning of Day 4 of our cycling adventure with a rather ominous looking sky. We were still in disbelief about the distance we had covered the day before-over 130km!! For me, the particularly cool part about achieving this distance was that my 27th birthday was approaching in 1 day and getting one year older seemed a lot less scary when my body was accomplishing feats I’d never done before!!
I could tell already that 27 was going to be a very memorable birthday!!
On that note, our first order of business that morning was to visit the Trento Tourism Office to see where we should cycle to next. We wanted to find a cool place to celebrate and Skott knew he was in big trouble if we were in some hole of a hostel on my birthday. hee hee Additionally, all the information we were able to find in English on the internet about the cycle route had ended in Trento, so we were actually not sure where things went from here.
We looked at a couple of different options….we considered staying in Trento for an extra couple nights to take a break and have some fun in the city. The night before we didn’t really find that Trento wowed us the way that Brunico and Bressanone did (it’s funny how some cities just give you an awesome vibe right from the start) but in the morning once we got to the city centre, we were quite impressed and felt it had lots of potential. We bumped into a really cool bed and breakfast that would have been perfect, but it also would have meant blowing the budget. We decided to table that idea and do a little more research.
Then the weather decided things for us…the clouds cleared and it turned into a beautiful sunny day. We decided to get on our bikes and continue our journey even if we made it just a light day of 20-30km. We were worried that with the weekend approaching, we might have trouble finding a place to stay so we had the receptionist at our Trento Hostel book us into the next hostel in the area-Riva Del Garda. This way if nothing else popped up along the way, we had a place to stay 50km down the road.
We still didn’t have a map that showed the path beyond Trento (and for some reason, neither did the tourist office) so it was an excellent stroke of luck when we bumped into a group of four Belgians that were also doing a cycling tour heading south of Trento. We had a really nice time riding with this group and Skott got to know Philip quite well as they were hanging at the back of the group chatting while we cycled.
We stopped along the way at a really cool little cycling bar/cafe and they treated us to a drink. We had all brought lunches with us so we found a picnic table and enjoyed a lunch together as well. It’s totally spontaneous times like these that I love travelling-the weather was beautiful, we had met some cool people and it was fun watching all these hard core cyclers stop for a drink at this small roadside hub while Van Morrison played in the background. These are the times you try really hard to take a snapshot in your mind, because even a photo cannot do the experience justice.
We continued our journey with the Belgians until Rovereto where they decided to go on to the next smaller city. We decided to have a look around and see if Rovereto would be a suitable place to spend the weekend or if we should veer to the west and head to Riva De Garda. Cheers to our fabulous Belgian cycling partners!!
Rovereto turned out to be bigger than we expected and we have found that smaller cities suit us much better. We had trouble finding the city centre and when we did, it was definitely a bit of a let down. There wasn’t really much of a main square and the city seemed to be quite chopped up by the river and the mountain that it was built into. We both agreed that this wasn’t what we wanted. There were signs for the bike path that showed how to get to Lago Di Garda and several locals confirmed that Riva (where our hostel was booked) was only about 20km further…so on we go!
BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE!
As we got closer to the National Park where Lago di Garda is situated, we noticed that there were tons of vehicles backed up, inching along (it’s rather gratifying when you’re going faster on your bike than the folks beside you stuck in their cars). Apparently this is one of the world’s largest outdoor playgrounds-there was a World Championship going on for cliff diving and a huge mountain climbing competition taking place over the weekend. Thank goodness we already had a place to stay!
Along the road we met a young couple from the area that were out for a cycle. They were really fun to chat with and definitely helped us take our mind off the fact that the road was slowly getting more and more uphill. The girl of the couple was this uber-fit, amazingly beautiful Greek goddess…so clearly there was absolutely no option but to pile up these hills like it was nothing-you know me….highly competitive. If she could do it, sure as shit I could!
But the climbs were worth it…about 20 minutes later we found ourselves cruising downhill into a stunning lakeside town, with Italy’s largest lake glittering in front of us.
We were both almost lost for words. Thank goodness we rode the extra 20km because we could tell already this was going to be an amazing place to spend the weekend!
Paradise is found! : )
Skott swung a deal with the owner of our hostel and we ended up getting a cute little room down the road in a hotel above a restaurant instead of bunks at the hostel. It felt like we were in our own little Italian apartment.
Once we got settled, we celebrated the Saturday night of my birthday weekend sharing an order of the most amazing ricotta-spinach cannelloni and pizza for dinner right on the harbour. Then I splurged on two scoops of gelato…the major dilemma being how to choose which flavour when there were about 60 shiny looking mounds of this fabulous Italian style ice cream before me. I’m a sucker for chocolate so I went with one scoop of coconut and one scoop of chocolate.
To top off the night, I took a break from my Americano coffees and enjoyed a lovely, calorie laden cappuccino before tucking in to a couple more glasses of wine and the novel I was obsessed with-The Girl with the Dragon’s Tattoo. (Side note-apparently Italians NEVER have cappuccino after dinner, they only serve them to tourists after lunch because Italians think having the milk like that in your coffee is very bad after consuming tomatoes at lunch). Oops! Who cares, it’s my birthday!
Total Distance Cycled To Date: 293.3km