Through the tunnels in the ‘Val Canale’
The rental bike booked through Eurobike arrives on time and is technically ‘up to date’. And so I sit in the saddle the next morning and cycle along the idyllic Drava myself. A total of about 300 wonderful kilometres by bike in 5 days lie ahead of me. I learned from the extensive documents that I only have a few metres of altitude ahead of me on the first day and there is only a short uphill section after the Austrian-Italian border. Very easy to do even without an e-bike! In the very early afternoon I reach the small Italian town of Tarvisio. It is beautifully located in the Italian-Austrian-Slovenian border triangle and from here there are wonderful views of the Julian Alps. People in Tarvisio are polyglots: with Italian, German, Friulian and Slovenian as the official languages.
Tarvisio is also the centre of the Val Canale, which separates the Carnic from the Julian Alps and the Karawanken. And through the magical Val Canale I continue my tour the next day. I pass the famous ‘counting gate’ of the Alpe-Adria Cycle Path as number 21919 and what follows is pure joy. Without any effort, I roll downhill on the old railway line through a wonderful mountain landscape. And then comes a tunnel. No, not one…it felt like 20 or 30. Not tunnels that you share with cars, but real cyclists’ tunnels. Two lanes, just like a large part of the Alpe-Adria Cycle Path. It’s hot today and I enjoy cooling down in the long, but sometimes sparsely lit tubes. It’s good that but Eurobike bike gives me such reliable light. And it rolls and rolls.
Alpine becomes Mediterranean
The town of Venzone with its old town, which was rebuilt after the total destruction by an earthquake in 1976, casts a spell on me. Picturesque alleys and Italian flair! From here on, the character of the Alpe-Adria Cycle Path also changes. The valley opens up from Venzone and you can almost feel the Adriatic Sea. It continues to feel Mediterranean. If there is still some time left after arriving in Osoppo, I strongly recommend leaving your bike in the well-guarded hotel garage and hiking up to the fortress. The view up there is incredible and the remains of the fortress are worth exploring.
On the third cycling day, the Alpe-Adria Cycle Path leads me through an idyllic landscape park and small dreamy villages to Udine. I’m surprised how well you can cycle in bigger cities here in Italy. Almost everywhere there is a two-lane strip for cyclists next to the road. In addition, the marking of the cycle path in the city is great. Udine is waiting for me with a surprise! In a side street I find a restaurant that has Händel and Oktoberfest beer! And visiting the citadel high above the city is, of course, a must!
Romans, flamingos and a sad farewell
So I cycle from one highlight to the next. The star-shaped fortress city of Palmanova is just as fascinating for history buffs as Aquilea, where Roman culture seems to be omnipresent even today. The Roman Forum and numerous excavations bear witness to this time. After this wonderful day, I reach Grado on a 4km long road that runs across a lagoon, surrounded by water on the left and right. And with that I really arrived at the Adriatic! Because Grado is located on a peninsula and is known as a seaside resort. Sandy beach, bars and a quaint old town – you can enjoy yourself here! The four days that lay behind me have passed by in a flash. I’m sitting in a café and get a little wistful. Because tomorrow is the last day of my trip.
But in the end it offers a lot. I no longer cycle on the Alpe-Adria Cycle Path but on the equally comfortable Adria cycle path to Trieste. First of all, the path leads me through an extremely scenic nature reserve. In the lagoon I see flamingos in the wild for the first time in my life.
And then Trieste appears in the distance. Always with a view of the Adriatic coast, I drive towards the ‘Grande Finale’. I reach the northern Italian port city proud to have covered approx. 300 kilometres without electrical assistance.
The port city as the grand finale
Trieste is a pulsating town, full of the Italian way of life. I stroll through the alleys and soak up the evening mood.
Once again, I enjoy the Italian food and review my experiences of the last 5 days.
Why do holiday days always pass so quickly? What remains is the wonderful memory of an unforgettable cycle tour.