|Subject: Biking the Alps|
We are back from a short vacation in the Alps along the Italian-Austrian
There's a valley up there, Val Pusteria in Italian and Pustertal in German
(all the area is bilingual), a smooth extension of emerald green meadows
between two high mountain ranges, with the Drau river in between. The Drau
river is there only a creek, but it's a very long European river which
flows across Austria, Slovenia and Croatia before reaching the Danube. You
can easily hike to the springs and drink the ice-cold water from the
source! There are many little neat towns both on the Italian side, like
Dobbiaco/Toblach or San Candido/Innichen, and the Austrian one, like Silian
and Lienz. The border is just a line, no checkpoints and no documents
needed, so you can hike or ride a bike back and forth as you like.
We went there because of a unique feature: you can ride a bike for 25 miles
down the valley on a bicycle trail in the woods fron San Candido to Lienz
and come back by train, loading the bike on a special railcar.
We rented our bicycles in San Candido/Innichen (plenty of rental shops with
all sizes) and rode on a gentle slope, along the river and across villages
and dark woods. The trail is paved, has many picnic tables and seats, well
marked everywhere and definitely easy, even for my 7 year old daughter.
When we arrived at the end of the trail in Lienz, our legs were a little
numb because we are not used to biking, but we still had strenght to walk
around the old town, have a frankfurter (sausage) and apfelstrudel (apple
pie) before boarding the train for going back.
The trip takes from 3 to 4 hours (according to your speed) plus 50 minutes
on the train; there are four different trains in the afternoon from 2 to 6
The cost, including rental and train ticket is about 50,000 lire (22 USD)
for adults and 40,000 lire (18USD) for children.
As we almost skipped lunch (the frankfurter doesn't count...) we then
enjoyed a Tyrolean dinner with lots of fats and calories to replace the
ones we had spent in the morning!
If some of you like biking, this is a real treat.