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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

June 18th: Reschen Am See to Merano

The morning started with a lovely breakfast, after which while packing up in the hotel room, we saw a lovely rainbow which made me glad that I had a real camera and not have to rely on the crappy camera on my LG V20. After we were packed, we immediately made a stop at the zipline that so captivated Bowen the afternoon before. He made 10 runs before we decided that we didn't have infinite time that day.
The lake itself is famous for a town that was famously submerged when the hydroelectric dam was built, flooding the town so that only the top of a church tower can now be seen. This was my first time in this part of Italy, and the views were outstanding. Unlike the lower part of the Alto Aldige valley, it had a lonely isolated feel to it. The bike path runs on the opposite side of the main road, ensuring that you were isolated from it for even more solitude, especially in the morning.
After the dam, we saw the Monte Maria Abbey. We stopped for a picture, but it didn't seem particularly remarkable, and almost immediately after that, the bike path took a series of descents that quickly dumped us out into the Glorenza snack stand that I was so familiar with from previous years.
From Glorenza, it's a short ride down to Prato Allo Stelvio, where I told Bowen that the only way we'd climb the Stelvio was if we found someone to carry our bags up the hill. My memories of Nobert's pass was still fresh, and I felt as though I need a few rest days before signing up for more intense riding. At the visitor's center, the information center person gave us a list of numbers, but I called all of them, burning about $3 in Skype fees and nobody was willing to even quote me a price for carrying 2 panniers up the mountain. Bowen was surprisingly emotional and disappointed about not getting to do the Stelvio. "You've seen the mountain, so why don't I get to see what you've seen?" I assuaged his disappointment by spotting the zipline playground right outside the visitor center, and then as we rode down towards Merano, found an ice cream place and fed him a banana split for lunch.
From Prato Allo Stelvio, the descent down to Merano along the bike path is pretty easy. We found a self-service honor system fruit stand with some of the best tasting fruit we'd had (Bowen remained a huge fan of apricots for the rest of the trip), and also another zipline playground.
I'd booked a hotel near the center of town while Bowen was on the zipline, but as we approached Merano, my phone rang and it turned out to be the hotel, which was calling to cancel our reservation as they were full! This led us to a mad scramble: we checked out one of the hotels near the center of town, but it wasn't acceptable and the man running it tried to take advantage of my desperation. I ended up booking (via Hotel Verdorfer, which had excellent reviews. Of course, Komoot would route us but my Wahoo Bolt stubbornly refused to download the route, so I ended up giving Bowen the phone and having him use Google Maps to navigate us while we were riding. By the time we arrived at the hotel, my Vivoactive HR (which wasn't fully charged in the morning) was dead, and Bowen's Garmin Edge 25 was also in low power mode. I learned to be more careful about charging those devices and we never had a ride as long for the rest of the tour. I would get more and more frustrated with the Wahoo Bolt for the rest of the tour.
In the future, I'll know that when in this situation, I could have hired a limousine to take us to the hotel and then charged it to for reimbursement, but the bicycle ride up to the hotel, painful as it was, was under the rules of the web-site not considered worthy of compensation. 
Nevertheless, when we were greeted by a very friendly young man who looked fresh out of college, I was inclined to let bygones be bygones. The hotel's not great for cycle tourists, as the walk to the nearest restaurant was substantial, but the pool was crystal clear and the facilities very nice.
At dinner, the world cup was playing but the food was just not that good, though portion sizes were generous enough to feed two very hungry cyclists. The wind was high so I was certain that our clothing would dry by the next day.


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