Munich to Venice – 19th Sept to 2nd Oct 2016

Munich to Venice – 19th Sept to 2nd Oct 2016

 

Later we take a detour to Longarone. Here there is a large dam in a side valley and in 1963, shortly after its completion an enormous landslide came away from Mount Toc and dropped into the newly formed lake. The resultant wave caused 50 million cubic meters of water to overflow the dam. This surge ran down the valley and obliterated the villages below, Longarone was the worst hit. Nearly 2000 people died and we visited the memorial cemetery in Fortogna. The people that died are all remembered with individual marble stones with their names and ages. We note that whole families, some with 3 and 4 generations, were killed.

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We carry on down the valley and recross the Piave river at the Soverzene Power Station, with its grand facade. The guide book tells us there is a small tunnel to negotiate and some narrow bridges. What greets us is a very narrow path around the edge of a cliff, a very low tunnel and some precarious slopes and stairs to negotiate. But we get through with a little lifting and shunting and we are soon in a picturesque area by the river. We stop for lunch and sit on the river bank.

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After setting off again we cycle a little then decide it’s too good an opportunity to pass up. We backtrack and are soon paddling and dunking in the very chilly, but crystal clear waters of the river. I grab some water in our collapsible bucket and have a sponge bath on the banks. As I’m doing this a lady walks by with her black lab and her 3 month old puppy who decides to join me in the bucket of water!!

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We chat with the lady and she says she is with some slackliners who are practicing in a wooded park not far down the track. So once we are clean and dressed again we cycle over. There’s a small group of guys practicing on some slacklines hung between trees. They make it look so easy, but when we have a go it’s anything but!!

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They love our trikes and have a go riding around the park. We decide that we’ve had enough cycling today and set up camp off to one side of the grassed area. The guys reckon we will not be disturbed during the night. Dinner tonight is our firm favourite, egg and bacon rolls with cups of tea!!

 

Thursday 29th September

 

Soverzene to Ponte della Priula

Distance: 60.57 km

Average: 11.94 kmh

Top Speed: 53.14 kmh

Total Distance: 8352.12km

 

In the morning we cycle along the Cellina canal until we reach Santa Croce Lake, a mecca for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

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As we cross the Tesa stream on a long wooden bridge we pass some adults escorting some adolescents with learning difficulties. One of the girls throws her baseball cap off the bridge into the stream below, about 10 metres down. Daz offers to help and runs along the bridge, down a steep bank and wades across the many streams feeding the lake and finally rescues the hat from the stream below. Rounds of applause all around. We continue to cycle along Santa Croce lake, at the foot of the Alpago and Pascolet mountains. Unfortunately when we pass there’s no wind and no-one out on the water.

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We then climb steadily on a quiet road to the end of phase 4 – the border of Treviso province, the Alpine border which connects Alpago with Val Lapisina. We spot a restaurant with a full carpark and check to see if they have a menu of the day. 12€ for 3 courses – delicious!

After our big lunch we’re lucky it’s a big steep descent with hardly any traffic ( thanks to the new motorway viaduct). It’s a very pretty area with 2 lakes, the second one, Morto Lake, is fed by karst underground basins. It’s not long before we arrive in Vittorio Veneto -’ a must-see’ according to the guidebook.

Vittorio Veneto, a city born in 1866, the union of Serravalle and Ceneda, with beautiful palaces, old houses and some old taverns. It’s the birthplace of Alessandro Tandura, the first parachutist in the world in war action.

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We stop in piazza Flaminio with the Grand canal running along it. It’s very pretty and we sit and dry the tent. Once we leave the town we cycle along the Meschio River, through splendid vineyards, the Prosecco vineyards, and we spot river birds, small waterfalls and fishermen on the river banks.

A couple of short steep climbs with reciprocal descents and we arrive in Conegliano with it’s picturesque castle. We cycle to the centre by theatre and as we are in the Prosecco capital enjoy a glass of the sparkling wine… very refreshing.

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We cycle out of this town on busy roads, it is rush hour after all. And finally after crossing the Ponte della Priula we’re back in the countryside and manage to find a wild camp site between some vines.

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Friday 30th September

 

Ponte della Priula to Monastier di Treviso

Distance: 68.64 km

Average: 11.85 kmh

Top Speed: 39.93 kmh

Total Distance: 8420.76km

 

It was a good wild camping spot last night except for its proximity to a quarry, extracting gravel from the Piave, which started up at 6am which disturbed Darren and his beauty sleep. He thought it was a train, the longest train in the world, and then he realised it was the quarry machinery! We stop in Nervesa to have a coffee and to charge our camera and phone (the downside of wild camping and a broken Son dynamo). Here there’s the Nervesa della Battaglia Military Memorial ; here lie 9235 Italian soldiers most of whom died during the Solstice Battle (June 1918), the last desperate Austrian onslaught.

Our cycle path takes us along the Bosco canal. I love these cycleways, barely any traffic and I can watch the water flowing in the canals, look for fish and birds and look at the various plants. It’s not too onerous by any stretch of the imagination. Autumn is definitely here, the leaves on the trees are changing colour and falling to the ground. We stop at the British Cemetery; 417 white tombstones for those who fell at the Italian front during the first world war.

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A sobering experience reading the gravestones, these men died so young and the engravings are so moving. We continue along the canal, fascinated by the hydroelectric installations and archimedes screws that occur periodically . The main water channel is closed and water diverted down the screw, thus generating power.

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The route to Treviso zigzags through the countryside, but finally we reach the historical centre of Treviso. With its dreamlike canals, its surrounding integral walls, the historical houses, the arbours and the evocative plazas making Treviso a masterpiece of which piazza del Signori is the centre.

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It has a delightful atmosphere but we head to McDonald’s for a charging and WiFi Fest! We follow the river out and soon find a quiet park for an early dinner and to dry the tent before going on to find a wild camping site for night. We reach Roncade with its pretty castle. But the sun has set and we don’t have time to explore.

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We ask the Carabinieri if there is somewhere to camp, hoping they will put us up in the station house – no joy. It’s Dar now and we stop in a vineyard but when we put the tent up we realise the groud is too rough and uneven to allow a good nights sleep. We pack up again. Another couple of km’s and we turn off the main road looking for a spot by a river we can see on the map. However the road is elevated with steep banks so it’s a while until finally Daz pulls into an access point to a field. We slip through the gate and set up camp on the side of a plowed field. Kettle on for a cup of tea and then it’s straight to bed.

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Saturday 1st October

 

Monastier di Treviso to Caligo

Distance: 40.19 km

Average: 10.01 kmh

Top Speed: 28.58 kmh

Total Distance: 8460.95 km

 

This morning we are woken early by some hunters who park up nearby then walk past our tent, how rude! At least they were out of range before commencing firing. We cycle through Monastier and stop for coffee and charging our electronics. It’s great watching different cultures in their daily lives. The Italians are much more open and effusive when meeting and greeting people.

Today we are following the Piave river again, but a lot of the track is rough pebble and quite slow going. We finally see sweet corn being harvested. I say finally because we’ve seen so many fields of sweet corn and Daz often steals a head or 2 and now it’s being harvested. It goes in the harvester whole and comes out as the individual kernels but how? We are still none the wiser.

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As we cycle along there are lots of information boards with photos from the Great War as there was a lot of fighting in the area. There are also details about Ernest Hemingway who fought and was injured here.

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Later in the afternoon we reach San Doña di Piave. Here we see the cathedral and the lovely square with the town hall.

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After crossing the Victory Bridge we see the Monument to the Bersagliere Soldier, a replica of the one in Rome.

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Now we are nearing the Venetian lagoon and after crossing our second pontoon bridge of the day we reach Caposile and get our first glimpse. But again the track is rough and now with a headwind.

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We were hoping to reach the campsites on the Lido but fatigued after 8 days of tenting we weaken and book into a lovely Agri Hotel out in the countryside. These guys make their own wine and it would be rude not to sample… delicious!

 

Sunday 2nd October

 

Caligo to Punta Sabbioni

Distance: 30.12 km

Average: 12.09 kmh

Top Speed: 18.81 kmh

Total Distance: 8491.07 km
A very relaxing night. Civilisation is just great: a real bed, hot water, electricity galore, and WiFi. We even managed to watch a new series, The Vice Principal – thanks Carl. Unfortunately a bit on the pricey side: the laundry we thought she was doing for free was very costly as was the drink she offered us on our arrival. We stay as long as we can uploading this blog before completing our last leg. Unfortunately it starts to rain and the mosquitos are everywhere.

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We cover ourselves in insect repellant but they seem to see this as a mere challenge to get to my very tasty blood supply. I react far more to their bites than Darren. We follow the river and pass some intriguing wooden huts by the water with pulley systems and frames hanging over the water.

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After a hundred metres Daz pulls over and decides to investigate one of the huts we have just passed. A group of older folk, one couple are in their 90’s. They are very happy to answer our questions and even show us what they are doing. They have a huge net that is raised and lowered mechanically into the river to catch fish. They show us their catch and share a glass of prosecco with us. They raise the net for us and all they’ve caught is a huge jellyfish. After that we leave the canals and lagoon and cycle down the main road. We just want to get to the end and the camp site.

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The first one we think is a bit pricy, so we move on and soon are ensconced in a lovely place with all mod cons. Well that’s the end of the Munich to Venice cycle. It’s been amazingly beautiful and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. The majority of it has been away from main roads and much of it has been on rough roads but on the trikes its all been eminently doable! We really would recommend it to you all. Tomorrow we will start our sightseeing in Venice!!

 

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