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Tuesday, August 09, 2022

June 22nd: Vetzan to Bolzano

 We had a nice early breakfast, and now that we knew where the exit from the bike path was, had no problem finding the bike path and rolling down it. We probably spent too much time at a playground that didn't have a zipline, but the kids had been playground deprived for a couple of days and wanted to play more, and I knew that while rain was coming, it wasn't going to be a cold rain and so was unconcerned.

The piece of the bike path before going into Merano is easy and fun, flat, mostly downhill, and winds through interesting towns with plenty of fruit stands. But once in Merano, the bike path signs peter out and you're on your own trying to guess how to get back to the bike path towards Bolzano. Unfortunately, it started raining in Merano, and the rain started getting heavier as we left Bolzano.

With warm rain, the kids didn't want to put on their rain jackets. I did put on mine so I could try out the Goretex rain jacket I'd bought, and it performed beautifully.
In Bolzano, I made a mistake, trying to use Google or Garmin navigation instead of just following the bike path to old town. Xiaoqin got frustrated and suggested I took the ebike to scout instead. Well, when I arrived downtown what did I find but that the apartment checkin was in the same identical place Bowen and I checked in at Bolzano 2 years ago! Right down to the bike parking which was outdoors at the Parkhotel Mondschein! I didn't like the parking since it was raining, so after receiving the keys I dropped by the train station and spoke to Lukas, who was happy to store our bikes at his office, which was the left luggage service at the Bolzano train station.

I returned to the wife and kids, ate lunch with them, and then led them to the train station where I took apart the triplet and gave that and the ebike to him and then we walked to the apartment with the panniers turned into shoulder bags.

Once into the apartment we all took showers, got cleaned up, and took advantage of the washing machine to do laundry. While Xiaoqin took a nap, I grabbed the kids and took them to the Sportler shop where we shopped for shoes and new socks for Bowen, shoes for Boen, and shoes for me. My criteria was simple: the kids had to have shoes that didn't have laces, and I had to have shoes that didn't have laces and were as light as possible. Boen had no problem finding a pair of running shoes that had velcro. They didn't have the same model sized for Bowen, so he ended up with hiking shoes with drawstring pull straps. I scored a major find, a pair of Salomon SLAB Sense 8 trail runners that were the lightest shoes I'd ever tried, and were 40% off at 111 EUR! Xiaoqin thought they were garish and horrible looking but the price and the weight won me over and I really loved them. We spent just over 250EUR on shoes and socks, and I debated buying new hiking pants for Bowen but he said he was happy wearing swimming shorts instead.

Bowen was sneezing so I bought some zyrtec at the local pharmacy, figuring it was easier than eyedrops (and their eyes weren't itchy anyway), and was way better than the placebo pills I'd been sold earlier. I had cracked my screen protector earlier on in the trip (on the ride to Fluela pass), and asked various cell phone shops if they had a replacement screen protector for me. The disadvantage of owning a Pixel 6 was that nobody in Italy had ever seen one before, so no help could be found.

We had a kitchen but the kids wanted Sushi so we ended up at Iki Experience, a Japanese restaurant run by Chinese people and it actually served pretty good food. By the time we got back to the apartment the washing machine had actually finished doing the load (it took no less than 3 hours) and we could hang it up. Tomorrow was a zero day, so we anticipated getting some rest.

But before going to bed, however, we discovered that one of the lights in the apartment wouldn't turn off. Luckily, I always pack some electrical tape, so I got the kids to give me a bunch of books (the light was an upward facing shelf-light!), climbed up, and electrical taped the books and any light leakage to the point where we could sleep. The cleaning staff would discover this the next day, and the apartment managers would immediately cancel our reservation, giving us 40EUR back. You might ask why they would do this --- the reason is that if they cancelled our reservation we wouldn't get to leave a bad review, and giving the customer 40 euros back was a fair price for avoiding a potentially poor review. So now you know why all the apartments in Bolzano handled by this management company had nothing but positive reviews!

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