Bike Trip: Italy and Austria

26 May - 11 Jun 2005

A great trip! Nice companions, beautiful scenery, interesting cities, lots of history...and plenty of exercise. Packing for this trip was a puzzle. However, as it turned out, we all packed just about right, although some of us could have used a few more layers in Austria. Italy was hot and dry (mostly) and Austria was cold and wet (mostly). I ate lots of ice cream in Italy and lots of goulash soup in Austria.

I believe I heard Peter, our bike guide, say that there was no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothing. I suspected that was not original with Peter, so did some research. Click here for more weather quotes.

Click here to see our trip memorialized in poems and rhyming riddles.

The following daily photo albums contain a total of 695 photos (out of about 1500 that I shot). That works out to about one photo every 0.4 mile, although I know most of you were thinking it was more like a photo every 100 yards. Since viewing all these photos might be as tiring as the bike trip itself, you may want to warm up with the photo sampler (only 30 photos).

You can download any image by right-clicking on it and selecting "Save to Disk" (or some similar wording) from the drop-down menu.
(Click on images on left side to go to page of thumbnails for that day)

Stresa and Lago Maggiore  

Stresa, Day 1, Thu, 26 May

Prior to hooking up with the bike group at the Milano airport, Ken Kirk and I spent three days in Stresa on Lago Maggiore. (See map.)

Day 1 photos include scenes from the plane window as we flew from Frankfurt to Milano over the Alps, scenes around Stresa, and a boat ride to Isola Bella, one of the Borromean islands near Stresa in Lago Maggiore.

Weather was hot and very hazy during our stay in Stresa.

Stresa, Day 2, Fri, 27 May

Round trip ferry boat ride to Locarno, Switzerland, at the northern end of Lago Magiorre.

Stresa, Day 3, Sat, 28 May

Funivia (cable car) ride to top of Mottarone overlooking Lago Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. Stop at Alpine Gardens on way back down.

Bike Tour: Italy  

Bike Tour Day 1, Sun, 29 May

Meet up with Peter, the tour leader, and other members of the bike group at the Milano airport. Bus from airport to our first hotel. Get acquainted with each other and our bikes.

Hotel Certosa 2, Villanova di Giussago

Dinner at hotel; "Raw ham and melon, home-made ravioli in tomato sauce, taste of our pizza, escalope of veal in white wine, mixed salad, mixed boiled vegetables, strawberries with ice cream"

Mileage: 1 (bike fitting, test ride)

Bike Tour Day 2, Mon, 30 May

Morning lecture on safety and IBT biking rules. Ride to Pavia and back. Simonetta leads guided tour of Pavia: Visconti Castle, University of Pavia, and Ponte Coperto, a covered bridge over the Ticino River.

Hotel Certosa 2, Villanova di Giussago

Dinner at hotel; "Caprese (tomato and Mozzarella), risotto with mushrooms, taste of our pizza, mixed fried fish, mixed salad, assorted vegetables, home-made cake"

Mileage: 11.8

Bike Tour Day 3a, Tue, 31 May

Morning: Short bike ride to Certosa di Pavia. Guided tour of the Certosa.

Bike Tour Day 3b, Tue, 31 May

Bike ride to Vigevano (vee-JEH-vah-noh). Pass by lots of rice fields. Cross Ticino River on floating bridge. Peter leads us on walk around Vigevano.

Hotel Europa, Vigevano

Dinner at nearby restaurant

Mileage: 33.7

Bike Tour Day 4, Wed, 1 Jun

In the morning, Simonetta leads guided tour of Vigevano: Castello Visconteo Sforzesco, Piazza Ducale, and the Duomo. Ride from Vigevano to Fumo. Cross Po River to south side. Rice fields replaced by fields of corn, sugar beets, soy, oats, tomatoes, and potatoes. A few small vineyards and orchards as we approach Fumo. Accordian performance and singing after dinner.

Albergo (Hotel) da Angelo, Fumo

Dinner at hotel

Mileage: 39.4

Bike Tour Day 5, Thu, 2 Jun

Morning lecture on agriculture (rice, wine, cheese) of Lombardy region. Ride from Fumo to Piacenza, mostly on levees along the Po River. A national holiday in Italy.

Hotel Milano, Piacenza

Dinner at hotel

Mileage: 41.5

Bike Tour Day 6, Fri, 3 Jun

Bianca Maria leads field trip to Piacenza center. Ride from Piacenza to Cremona. Ride along big canal.

Hotel Astoria, Cremona

Dinner at Ristorante Duomo: Huge antipasto buffet

Mileage: 28.2

Bike Tour Day 7, Sat, 4 Jun

Lecture and walking field trip to town center. Lecture on violin making. Visit Stradivari Museum. Museum curator plays a 1715 Stradivari for us.

Hotel Astoria, Cremona

Dinner at Ristorante Martinelli (in the Palazzo Catteneo Ala Ponzone): Giant T-bone steak served on a very hot stone.

Mileage: 0

Bike Tour: Austria  

Bike Tour Day 8, Sun, 5 Jun

Bus ride from Cremona, Italy, to Krimml, Austria. We do not cross the Alps at Gerlos Pass as the tour description states, but take a route through Lienz, then cross through a 5-km long tunnel at Matreier Tauernhaus. From there we descend to Mittersill, then climb slightly to Krimml. Before dinner, Peter leads us on a stroll around Krimml backroads.

Hotel: Gasthof zur Post, Krimml

Dinner at hotel: pancake soup, salad bar, veal, strudel

Mileage: 0

Bike Tour Day 9a, Mon, 6 Jun

Morning: Taxi ride to near top of the Krimml waterfall; hike down.

Bike Tour Day 9b, Mon, 6 Jun

Ride from Krimml to Niedernsill, through region known as the Pinzgau. Beautiful valley meadows and hillside farms. Occasional glimpses of Alps in distance. After dinner, lecture on Hohe Tauern National Park.

Hotel: Landgasthof Kehlbachwirt, Niedernsill

Dinner at hotel: cream soup, salad bar, sole with potatoes, ice cream.

Mileage: 31.0

Bike Tour Day 10a, Tue, 7 Jun

Morning bike ride to Kaprun. Hike through gorge, Sigmun Thun Klamm. Hydroelectric power lecture at Tauern Kraftwerke.

Bike Tour Day 10b, Tue, 7 Jun

Ride from Niedernsill to Leogang. Stop in Zell am Zee for lunch. Beautiful scenery. Cold with occasional rain, sleet, wind.

Hotel St. Leonhard, Leogang

Dinner at hotel

Mileage: 31.8

Bike Tour Day 11, Wed, 8 Jun

Ride from Leogang to Lofer. More gorgeous scenery, along with cold and occasional wind, rain, sleet. We make a long uphill climb (from 750 m to 1000 m elevation), disheartened to see water rushing down as we bike up! Another few hundred meters of elevation and we would have been in fresh snow. From our 1000-m peak, it is a net downhill run to Lofer, although many short uphills remain. Beautiful mountains on either side. High, narrow, marshy valley. No hillside farms, just dense forests. Large part of bike trail is through woods.

Hotel Post/Brau, Lofer

Dinner at hotel: soup, salad bar, wienerschnitzel, palatschinken

Mileage: 25.5

Bike Tour Day 12, Thu, 9 Jun

Ride from Lofer to Salzburg. Cross into Germany. Lunch in Bad Reichenhaller. Tour Alte Saline. Cross back into Austria. Mostly downhill, through woods.

Hotel zum Hirschen, Salzburg

Dinner at hotel: red lentil soup, vegetable strudel, marzipan parfait

Mileage: 34.3

Bike Tour Day 13, Fri, 10 Jun

Morning lecture on Mozart by Brigit, who then leads tour of Salzburg. Afternoon free.

Click here for a large panorama view of Salzburg (3957x1312 pixels, 616 KB)

Hotel zum Hirschen, Salzburg

Dinner at hotel: clear soup with small dumplings, fish or beef (with applesauce/horseradish)

Mileage: 0

Bike Tour Day 14, Sat, 11 Jun

Morning walk to Salzburg Zentrum, then catch plane to Frankfurt, overnight there, then plane to Miami, Florida and rental car to home in Satellite Beach.

Hotel: Mercure Frankfurt Airport Hotel

Dinner at nearby Hessan restaurant, Bembelsche: liver dumpling soup, gypsy-style breaded pork cutlet, pear soufflé dessert.

Mileage: 0

Please send comments, corrections, or requests for larger versions of photos (suitable for framing?)
to Wayne Matchett (

Posted 20 June, 2005