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Friday, August 05, 2022

June 21: Hotel Alpenrose to Sporthotel Vetzan

In the cool morning air we did the descent stopping less frequently than usual, but once we got into Santa Maria we took off our jackets and arm and leg warmers and put on sunscreen. From Santa Maria to the Italian border, we could ride on the paved road but at the Italian border the bike path started. When Arturo, Pengtoh, and I rode that bike path in 2016 it was unpaved, but since that was 6 years ago, I hoped that the bike path had since been paved.

Of course I was wrong! The bike path was in the same condition, with large unpaved sections and not much fun descending --- we would have been better off on the road. Near the intersection at Laatchs, we even had the indignity of being watered on by the irrigation devices that were misaimed at the bike path instead of at the agricultural assets they were supposed to be aimed at.

In Glorenza, we saw a sight that wouldn't be seen in the USA --- a school led bike tour, where a few teachers would coral an entire class worth of kids down the bike path. In a country where you can take the train up the valley and then bike down the path this was an entirely reasonable field trip idea.
I'd picked Vetzan because there was a Sporthotel there with a swimming pool in case it got hot. It started to rain as we approached Vetzan, and Garmin gave us wrong directions as did Google, but we eventually found the place anyway.

The hotel was in the center of Vetzan, but it turned out that while they served dinner, there was nothing in town as far as food for lunch was concerned. After we got settled in, the hotel told us that we could take the bus to Schlanders for lunch and to use the outdoor swimming pool with a waterslide. But one look at the schedule convinced the hotel manager that that was an absurd idea, and he offered to drive us instead. We accepted, and then had lunch downtown before walking over to the "Lido Schwimmbad". But as we got there thunder and lightning ran out and they closed the pool, so we had nothing to do but to walk back to the bus stop and take the bus (with the free bus passes the hotel gave us).

Prior to the trip, I'd told the kids that if they didn't pedal hard on the Stelvio, they'd be forced to take the SAD bus. They got very excited when they actually god a chance to get onto the SAD bus. Boen even made a sad face so that he would be appropriately expressive for the bus ride.

We got back to the hotel as the rain stopped, and used the hotel's indoor pool instead. I was pretty disappointed in the Vetzan sporthotel. It wasn't in a convenient place, and while the facilities were fine, I would have rather had been in Schlanders instead if I'd known the location was this bad.

We debated riding all the way to Bolzano tomorrow and having a zero day there, vs breaking up the ride and stopping in Merano, which had a train museum and easy access to the train. Everyone seemed to enjoy the idea of a zero day. I wrote our hotel but they had no place for us to stay, so I had to book a different apartment in downtown Bolzano. I also wrote Lukas, and he said that rather than spend the entire zero day in Bolzano, we should take the bus to Lago di Fie and go swimming there, since it was going to be hot. He pointed me at a weather forecast app that was more accurate for the area and told me not to trust Google's weather results for the South Tyrol area. I'd gone to the Otzi museum with Arturo a few years back, and I'd been impressed, so I thought that would also be a good thing to do in Bolzano. We were also committed to buying hiking shoes in Bolzano as well, so having an extra day to do all that would be a good idea.

That evening a big thunderstorm blew through, but fortunately our stuff was already indoors and would dry overnight. Unlike the Sporthotel in Pontresina, this one wouldn't do your laundry while you slept, so I still ended up being the manual washing machine.

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