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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Reflections on my 2022 Tour

 Things that went well:

  • This time, I pre-booked lodging way in advance, from Weesen all the way to Hotel Franzenshohe. Many of the reservations allowed for free cancellation, but it would have been a major hassle. In this case I was pretty glad we did so. Not only were the prices lower, but the one time we wanted to make a change and couldn't (when we arrived at Bolzano early) it wasn't that big a deal and we found alternatives with no problems. That the lodging was near a train station was very helpful.
  • Touring the Alps was actually less stressful than the Tour Across Bavaria. Being able to pick the elevation we wanted to be at meant we could stay out of the heat. Even on days when it was unavoidable we were in a big city and could take the bus out of the city. There was several days in Bavaria when there was no way to escape the heat. Clearly, in the summer you need to be out of the mountains.
  • Renting using a long term rental was a great idea. It was cheaper, and the bike was just as good. Using the ebike to haul luggage was a great alternative to having a follow van. It's quite a game changer.
  • Visiting Rosenlaui was a great success with the kids.
  • Buying a half tax card for Xiaoqin meant that the kids were free on the trains. This meant that the trip to Rosenlaui generated enough savings that would more than pay for the half tax card. The rest of the trip we didn't use the half tax card much.
Things that didn't go well:
  • Wolfgang pass sucked. It's quite clear that Albula would have been a nicer pass, though it would have meant taking the train to Chur on the first day instead of being able to ride all the way there.
  • Going for the bike day probably wasn't worth the additional cost. On the other hand, the Dolomites were new to Xiaoqin, Bowen, and Boen, and nobody regretted doing that hike with Lukas.
  • Skipping Misurina was in retrospect a bad idea. It would have been better to stay in Toblach and then used the train to get to Sterzing to start riding over the Brenner pass instead.
  • Eating at Castle Amblas was a terrible idea. Next time, buy a sandwich and bring it to major tourist attractions instead of eating in a touristy place. There's no need to risk food poisoning.
Things to consider for next time:
  • Rent a kid's ebike for Bowen. This would require starting from Munich and renting from Garmisch-Partenkirchen instead of flying into Zurich. This might be a major logistical hassle but could be very nice.
  • Book a long stay in Bormio so we can explore Motirolo, Gavia, Livigno, etc. This would have required skipping the Dolomites.
  • Consider doing multiple fixed-based tours. This is a lot cheaper for lodging, but would require renting a car. It would have been prohibitive to rent a car out of Zurich this time around, but apparently Munich had cheap car rentals. I didn't consider that and probably should have. Train rides are considerably cheaper in Germany as well, but ebike rentals in Munich proper are not a thing, and I had to go considerably afield (Garmisch) before finding a shop that would rent an ebike as cheaply as Zurich.

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