The Breaking of the Fellowship, and a Final Day in Riva
Thusday, June 24
Given our long, late day the previous evening, you would think that we would sleep in to noon. However, this wasn't possible for us. It was our check-out day at the Leon d'Oro apartments, and we needed to be packed up and out by 10am.
Graham and Alanna were leaving this day: they were finishing their stay with us and needed to be heading off north into Swizterland for their early morning flight back to Canada the next day.
Torre Apponale apartment
After everything was cleaned up and packed, we said warm goodbyes to Caterina, our wonderful host, and to Graham and Alanna. We had had an activity-packed week together with them, and as a result it seemed our time with them had flown by in an instant.
Caterina, our wonderful host
So, it was now down to just three: myself, Jenn, and Pu. Our plan was to spend one more day in the Riva area, before heading down to a several-day visit to the city of Rome.
One of the activities I had planned for our week in Riva was a day of mountain-bike riding. In conversation with Graham Fletcher of via ferrata fame (who is also quite into mountain biking), I had in mind what was apparently a spectacular but not-too-technically-difficult ride down from a highpoint (Monte Tremalzo) in the mountains southwest of Riva, down to Riva itself. It was apparently an often-travelled route that follows a combination of decommissioned military roads and single-track. We had not managed to fit this activity in while Graham and Alanna were here, but it was still a possibility for this last day we three had in Riva.
The route, as I wanted to do it, involved getting a bike shuttle to bring us to the start point, high on Monte Tremalzo. We spent part of the morning driving around, trying to secure both the appropriate bike rentals and the shuttle. And, while we did manage to rent some bikes, we weren't able to manage a spot on the shuttle at such short notice. Disappointing (but I suppose understandable given the last-minute nature of things).
We still decided to rent bikes, but instead chose a much more sedate itinerary that involved a short circuit in the Sarca valley near Riva. We rented our bikes from a spot along the lakeshore in Riva, then leisurely made our way up a combination of bike paths and sleepy side streets, heading towards the town of Arco.
Biking the scenic backways
Although not difficult, this ride turned out to be a wonderful way to wind through farmlands and little hamlets along the way, complete with all manner of narrow winding streets, old buildings, and other historic structures. We ended up in the beautiful old town center of Arco halfway through our route, where we stopped for a gelato in the main town square. Everyone was gathering there in order to prepare to watch one of the FIFA world cup games that involved Italy.
Cycling past ancient frescoes
After our break in Arco, we crossed over the Sarca River on a bike path bridge (which, by the way, offers a stupendous view of the ruins of the Arco castle atop its rocky promontory) and joined the main pedestrian / bike pathway between Arco and Riva. This we followed southwards right to the shore of Lake Garda, allowing us to complete a nice, scenic loop. Our ride had not been the exciting adventurous 30-kilometre descent from a mountaintop, but was still very worthwhile in its own way.
Arco's spectacular castle
Interactive Trackmap - Lower Sarca Valley Cycle Ride
Cycle Ride of Lower Sarca Valley
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet
After returning the rental bikes, we returned to the car and headed off to our hotel for the night. We had booked a room for a decent price at the Hotel Rudy, a decent if somewhat generic hotel on the main road between Riva and Arco. As we were checking into our hotel rooms, we caught the last few minutes of the FIFA world cup game at the hotel's bar. Italy had succumbed to Slovakia in a three-two game and was out of the world cup. Not too many happy faces around the bar, let me tell you!
After settling into our room and cleaning up, we went for one final meal at a restaurant in Riva (unfortunately, can't remember the name), then returned and turned in for the night. A long night of sleep, this time!