Days 44 & 45 – We take our bikes for a push & Back on the road

Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th August 2018

Apology: I am a bit behind with the blog. There has been a lot of travelling in the last few days and time has been short. There will be 2 posts today to make up.

On Monday (27th) we picked up a mountain bike routes brochure from the tourist office in Cannobio. It graded the rides from easy to difficult via the unsurprising medium.

Back home we do a fair amount of mountain bike and road cycling so feel up to an easy ride. We are after all hoping for a bit of a rest day. We select a medium itinerary. 24 miles. Round the lake. 4 hours. Just the job.

This is what we imagine…

Mrs P. A peloton of one with support rider

…this is what we get…

Mrs P performs photography duties while Mr P dutifully carries her bike. It must be love.

…and this…

Steeper than it looks. I blame wide angle photography

After an hour of this we decide that, whilst this would make a good full day of MTB action, assuming you like pushing, it is not conducive to a rest day.

We head for civilisation (read: coffee shops).

Orta San Giulio on Lago (lake) d’Orta. A beautiful old town on a spit of land jutting out into the lake.

Orta San Giulio

The quay overlooks Isola San Giulio. I’m fairly sure our MTB route description includes swimming across carrying bikes as a simple diversion.

Over looking the Isola San Giulio

After a very pleasant bask in the sun and lunch of the usual cheese, sausage & bread, we decide not to retrace our steps but return via the road. This involves sharing tarmac with Italy’s notorious drivers but, we survive and, apart from the 10.3%, 1.1 mile ride up from the lake to our campsite it is uneventful. Mrs P will point out that I chivalrously allowed her to complete the climb carrying a load of groceries. Well, she had the biggest rucksack and it is good training for the mountains.

Lovely campsite by the way. Though very expensive. Camping Royal. Great view of the lake. If you were prepared to pay an additional €8. We had a lovely view of trees to save money.

On Tuesday, rest days over, we headed, once again, back to the snowy peaks. Our journey takes us over the Simplon Pass and into Switzerland.

Gandalf notices that the Lonely Mountain is not as lonely as it used to be

At 2005 metres the Simplon Pass is only 10 metres higher than the campsite we are headed for. We are pleased to note that we can still wear shorts and t-shirts. That is until we step into the shade. It is like an icy plunge pool. We briefly consider heading back to Lago Maggiore and quitting this silly snowy mountain fixation. Gandalf however pointed out:

“Fool of a Took!” he growled, “This is a serious journey, not a Hobbit walking-party.”

A relatively short drive of 3.5 hours (lengthened only by stops for lunch, to buy groceries in Italy to avoid Swiss prices and a rather lengthy detour due to an accident on the main road) brings us to Camping Arolla, 1950m where we have an appointment with history…

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