Up & Over-first 1,000km

Rest days are bliss when your legs burn from the up hills and it’s raining outside. Our retreat is within a YHA in Figino on the banks of Lago di Lugano. A simple affair but heaven. It’s closing down this year after 50 years as a hostel, so lucky us we get to sample it’s rustic character. Rest days take the shape of a blog, writing/drawing, washing, bike maintenance and an explore on foot ( the bikes have a rest day too). 

Crossing the Apls, transversing the alpine valley floors, taking in the smells and changing landscapes has been stunning. Switzerland is expensive but what we have absorbed has been priceless. The terrain has been challenging but with many rest stops up hills and long down hills it has been manageable ( but Barbara tells me the worse is to come!)

What has been really surprising is how the landscape has determined the change in languages and people. As soon as we came over the Gottardo pass (with the help of a 14min train ride as pass closed due to snow and not open until June for none motorised vehicles) the climate became warmer, vegetation more verdant with tropical undertones. Italian became the fluid tongue and Barbara seemed at home. We camped that night in a lovely “tent” site ran by a family of Italians. Nonna seemed to run the show from instructing where we should set up to cooking pizzas. Camping Gottardo http://www.campingottardo.ch is a great site which is geared up for campers not caravan as most other places have been. 

We have passed the first 1,000km mark and this has brought us to touching distance of Italy. We should we cycling our last day in Switzerland tomorrow (26.4.17).

All images taken in Switzerland by Jack Blake & Barbara Salvadori 2017 ©CTPR17

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