Merano - 46° 40′ 0″ N, 11° 10′ 0″ E
Things here in South Tyrol get a little confusing with everything having a name in both Italian and German. So today, we rode Prato Allo Stalvio to Merano (Italian) or Prad am Stilfserjoch to Meran (German). We are following the Val Venosta or Vinschgau - that is the valley through which we are riding. All that hard climbing is paying off as today was only 60km with net downhill!! Woohoo.
As this valley produces an eighth of all European apples, we spent much of the day cycling through apple orchards (and vineyards on the steep slopes). They are all grown on trellises which I assume they do for yield.
Gord allowed us to catch the shuttle bus up to the Messner Mountain Museum (in a castle on the side of the mountain) rather than ride up the 20% grade switchbacks!! What luxury. The Museum was pretty cool but featured a lot of Tibetan artefacts. Reminiscent of Thomas Bruce (Lord Elgin) and the Parthenon Marbles, perhaps setting up a museum in Tibet may have been more sympathetic!
He does do good - with his support, the producers of Val Venosta have banded together and sell their produce under the Valley's brand. This gives the producers more money and helps guarantee quality as each producer is accountable. If I didn't have to carry it on my bike, I would have bought all sorts of yummy things to bring home!
We are finding there is very little English so we are relying on Sean's German. We are mostly getting things right but did have to suffer cream in our tea and on our cereal instead of milk after buying a huge carton.