Oh Italy. There always seems to be a reason to go back. This time, as I write this from Gemona, Italy in the North Eastern province of Fruila, we find ourselves here because, simply, we could not find a good route via bike through Slovenia’s Julian Alps with our heavy loaded touring bikes. The leg-wrecking alpine passes with their multiple switchbacks and 15% grades seemed stupid to attempt at the beginning of a long ride, regardless of how tempting they might be on my super-light Orbea unburdened by panniers stuffed with gear. And the mountain bike trails offered challenges for Julie’s skinnier tires.
So, after riding 70km northeast from Ljubliana to the Slovenian resort town of Bled in the Julian Alps and spending a day taking in the Bled Triathlon, we headed north again to the valley on the border of Slovenia and Austria and caught the gorgeous international bike trail through the Alps into Italy.
The cycling has been gorgeous – though challenging. The mountains are spectacular. Wildflowers line green valleys and grey granite peaks pierce the blue sky.