GIRO 01 – August 2008

A long trip I made in 2008 around northern Italy. I started from Rome and went all the way to the alps with this small 106, which at the end did 2900km in 10 days.

The Beast climbing the Stelvio Pass 13th August 2008

In 2008, I did the slave for a living. Well, the job wasn’t that bad, I worked on a computer all day, but I executed orders all the time, and I didn’t like that. So for me that was slavery. But I was lucky. Oh how lucky I was. I had priviledges. I could leave the job for 4 weeks each year and do whatever I wanted. But I couldn’t take these 4 weeks all at the same time. No no no, that’s too much. My owner unchained me for 2 weeks in summer, and 2 weeks in winter. So the plan was to use my summer temporary 2 week freedom days to do what I most like: To travel! Visit places I’ve never been before! So I planned some routes in Google Maps, put them in my gps and started my odyssey. This is what happened:
DAY 01 distance: 359 km total so far: 359 km
Roma – Rieti – Leonessa – Norcia – San Benedetto del Tronto – Sirolo
Rule number one was to avoid traffic. So I always used state highways (so called Strade Statali) They aren’t fast to travel, but I wasn’t in a hurry plus you avoid a lot of stress and get to see some beautiful places. I lost the pictures of the first day so I’ll describe what I saw. As soon as you leave the valleys (where we like to build our shit work and pollute) you start to relax. The traffic thins and you can finally see some nature. Although, it looks like nature, but if you look closely even in the countryside there’s the hand of man everywhere. The only exception where is still possible to see nature untouched by man are natural parks. So I tried to include as many of those in my route. As I expected all the section in Abruzzo was enjoyable but as soon as I leaved the mountains and arrived on the Adriatic coast, it was like hell. Too crowded. I can’t understand how people like that shit.

DAY 02 distance: 266 km total so far: 625 km
Sirolo – Apsa – Pennabilli – Ranchio – Rocca San Casciano
The only good spot I found was Sirolo. And that was because it had huge mountains on the coast, so the monkeys couldn’t ruin it yet.

View of the Adriatic coast – Sirolo (AN) – 11 August 2008

Countryside near San Marino – Apsa (PU) – 11 August 2008
In Albania we used to eat this fruit a lot. Here in Italy you never see it. People don’t even know it exists.

A medlar plant. Mushmollë in Albanian – 11 August 2008
I always stop at these fountains I see when I’m climbing and fill a bottle that I take with me. At these altitudes the water should be better than the one we drink in the cities.

Mountain drinkable water + The Beast in the background – 11 August 2008
They made this fountain all with 100% natural materials!

A closer view – 11 August 2008
This place was wild. I really liked it.

Mountains near Ranchio (FC) – 11 August 2008
I found a few fruits long the way. Blackberries, apples, figs. All organic!

Preparing dinner in hotel – Rocca San Casciano (FC) – 11 August 2008

DAY 03 distance: 409 km total so far: 1034 km
Rocca San Casciano – Lugo – Nogara – Garda – Casez di Sanzeno
Put “Visit Lake Garda” on your “Things To Do Before I Die List”. You’ll thank me.

Lake Garda. Beautiful place – 12 August 2008
The crops you see are all apples, not grapes. Here is the perfect climate and soil for this crop.

River Sarca + lake in the background – Garda – 12 August 2008

DAY 04 distance: 243 km total so far: 1277 km
Casez di Sanzeno – Merano – Passo dello Stelvio – Bormio – Sondrio

Crops of apple – Casez di Sanzeno – 13 August 2008

Crops of apple (detail) – Casez di Sanzeno – 13 August 2008

Country road + alps in the background – Prato allo Stelvio – 13 August 2008

Small cherry tree – Prato allo Stelvio – 13 August 2008

Mountains with snow in August!! – Prato allo Stelvio – 13 August 2008
At the time I didn’t knew about the Stelvio Pass. Some consider it the most beautiful ride in the world, and I didn’t even heard of it. So I didn’t plan to come here and I had no idea what I was going through.

I had to get up there! – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

No comment! – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

Marmot – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

Not bad the view! Altitude: 2757m (9045ft) – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

.torrent – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008
This is the other side of the mountain and it’s not as steep. But the scenery is breathtaking nevertheless.

One of the 48 hairpins – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

End – Passo dello Stelvio – 13 August 2008

DAY 05 distance: 51 km total so far: 1328 km
Sondrio – Ganda – Campo Moro (Lago di Gera)

Small town in the middle of the mountains – Ganda – 14 August 2008

Waterfall – Tornadri (SO) – 14 August 2008

Waterfall again – Tornadri (SO) – 14 August 2008
This is a remote lake near the border with Switzerland. A hard climb but it was worth it.

HDR photo of Lake Gera (altitude: 2000m) – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

Bacino di Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

Lake Gera’s huge dam – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

Climbing the dam – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

Self – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008
These are lucky cows. They will be soon killed but at least they saw some nature before dying.

Alp cow – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008
You saw these cows everywhere. They were free to graze wherever they liked.

Alp cow – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008
This is the Mio 168: Pocket PC + GPS. It still works to this day!

2286,90m – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008
This was the path that went around the lake. Sometimes you crossed other people going on the opposite direction and they always greeted you. I wasn’t used to that. Living in a big city like Rome you start to ignore people around you and became a zombie like everybody else.

Path around the lake – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

The line on the horizon is the dam – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

The lake and the glacier above – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

The glacier – Campo Moro – 14 August 2008

DAY 06 distance: 189 km total so far: 1517 km
Campo Moro – Sondrio – Olgiate Comasco

Train passing – 15 August 2008

DAY 07 distance: 281 km total so far: 1798 km
Olgiate Comasco – Pray

DAY 08 distance: 397 km total so far: 2195 km
Pray – Pettinengo – Aosta – Pont – Chiavasso – Asti – Guarene

Parochial Church of Pettinengo – 17 August 2008
One of the best places I saw during this trip was the Gran Paradiso National Park. I wanted to remember this place (who knows when I will have the opportunity to come back again). So when I was leaving I recorded a video while driving from Pont (altitude: 2000m) to Buillet (1000m). The video quality is low because I used my camera (a Panasonic FZ7). Below is a map of the route from start to finish.
And this is the video. Total distance: 17,7km | Time: 16min:19sec | Avg. Speed: 65.09km/h. Click the video below to play it.
This was by far the best hotel. It was in Guarene, a small town near Asti. The view was amazing because the town sits on top of a hill. It was perfect for taking some pictures.

Hotel room – Guarene – 17 August 2008

The view outside – Guarene – 17 August 2008

Vineyard – Guarene – 17 August 2008

Crossroad – Guarene – 17 August 2008

Crossroad at night – Guarene – 17 August 2008

Jupiter and its moons – Guarene – 17 August 2008

Goodnight – Guarene – 17 August 2008

DAY 09 distance: 378 km total so far: 2573 km
Guarene – Genova – Livorno
The last two days went fast. I spend too much time on the alps so I had to return home in two days. There were beautiful places to visit on the west coast (like Le Cinque Terre) but I had no time left. So hopefully it will be for another time.

DAY 10 distance: 327 km total: 2900 km
Livorno – Roma
I did 700km just in the last 2 days (1/4 of th whole journey) It was brutal. I thought the car would explode in any moment. But The Beast made it. 2900km, not a single problem. At the end I spent 180€ for gas and 500€ for hotels and food. Not bad.
The places I liked most were those visited on the second day (all the countryside near San Marino). Of course Garda. You can’t imagine how beautiful the alps look near that lake. Also Lake Gera near Sondrio. It has tracks all around the lake, people are friendly and you get to see the glacier without freezing to death because it’s summer. Then Gran Paradiso near Aosta. I have to come back again because I didn’t had the time to visit it well, but it was worth the effort to clib 2000m. I also liked the natural park in the mountains just north of Genova.

The End


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