From Pordeone we drove over to Tremisone, on Lake Garda. This area has always been a favourite of mine and very many Brits for many years. For me it’s just about nature, the mountains and inevitable lakes. Unfortunately this particular area is just about saturated from a traffic point of view and it is difficult to know how to resolve it. Widening the roads, apart from being difficult, would spoil many aspects of the area, but it is impossible to restrict the numbers.
I had checked into my hotel in Pieve di Tremisone and completed the initial recce of the town and was just about to enter the building when a MGF pulled up in the car park opposite. I walked over and introduced myself to the occupants, a couple from Hebdon Bridge. Unfortunately they are not MGCC members, but still very nice people. First of the family I have seen since leaving the UK.
One of the photos I have uploaded shows Bridget beside a lake with a tower in the background. I will not give any explanation of this location but will turn it over to Julian who will tell you all about it. Don’t worry Colin, you will not be left out; I will take a picture of Calais for you to describe on the way back.
I decided, quite out of the blue, to change direction and head north to Merano, only about one hundred miles north. From there, we will launch ourselves against the Stelvio Pass, listed as one of the ten most beautiful drives in the world. I see from the internet, that for one day each year it is closed to cars so that cyclists can have it to themselves! Bl…y cheek. I wouldn’t mind so much if cars had a reciprocal arrangement, but these people tear around the pavements of Europe with scant regard for pedestrians, etc……. think they own the place.
Wednesday. We drove from Tremisone to Merano today under a cloudy sky, but the temperature remained around 30°C. I arrived and was very impressed with both the town and the hotel. Merano is what I would call a Tyrolean spa resort. It is not too large, welcoming and clean. It is very geared-up for the tourist, not in a glitzy way, but wants tourists to feel welcome and at ease. The town is surrounded by the beautiful Italian Alps which makes it a winner with me straight away.
Having checked into the hotel I decided to visit Castel Trauttmansdorff botanical gardens. These are a real treat in particular their display of dahlias. On arriving back at the hotel I was astonished to see another MG Midget parked in the car park (I know that’s where they are supposed to be, smart ass). This was also had a red paint job, but not Rosso, and had German registration plates. I think the rather bemused hotel owner thought this was some sort of joke we were playing.
We left the hotel at around 8:30 and the mysterious owner of the other Midget had not appeared at breakfast. I had other things on my mind however with todays run. The Stelvio Pass is rated amongst the top 10 runs in the world and reportedly has no less than 48 hairpin bends. The peak is 1.7 miles above sea level. I thought we would get on the road before it became too hot.
It was one of those days when I wish I had a support vehicle or some such thing who could go ahead and take photos as we progressed. I also wished that Germans with Winnebago’s and cyclists in general were banned from the pass on ‘my day’. No offence to either, but they do get in the way.
The run was everything I could have hoped for. The scenery all the way is breath-taking and the road is perfect for MG’s and the like. It has even made me think I should enter Bridget for some hill-climb events, she behaved impeccably and, even after leaving the pass, was still happy to complete another 160 miles on to Como.
It has been seven years since Bridget and I were in Como together. This was one of hundreds of locations we covered in our very first run in 2006. We have completed a lot since then. To end an exceptionally good day I walked along the lakeside promenade and decided to have a beer and watch the world go by. I had only been sitting for a few moments and what passed by just ten feet from me? Another red midget! Yet a different one from Merano and this time I think the registration was Swiss, but I am not sure. I am started to suspect that Mike Parker is having me watched. He has always believed that I don’t actually go anywhere, but just spend my time in a Brighton hotel room writing blogs.