Day 32: Montebelluna, Italy to Kobarid, Slovenia

Kobarid Slovenia

Another long day, 103 miles in 7:45 minutes. I think I'm back in the swing of long distance touring < grin >! This day, unlike yesterday, was not exhausting, mostly because most of the day I rode on SS 13 which has light to moderate traffic and good shoulders. It was not an exciting day either, until the last 30 km or so when I was heading into Slovenia. Before that it was nice, pretty flat, riding with many small, and a few large, northern Italian towns along the way. It was also Sunday which helped the traffic, but also shut down 90% of the services. I ate lunch at McDs, one of the few places open today. I ate supper at my hotel in Kobarid, and ate snacks at ice cream places in Italy. Bars and ice cream places are open on Sunday in Italy. It reminded me a bit of Montana where only bars were open on Sunday. but Italian ice cream is FAR superior to Montana bar food! Supper at my hotel was also quite good, but more on that later.

There were many interesting things to see

And there were a great many cyclist out this Sunday morning
Note the great, and typical, shoulder on SS 13

SS 13 runs close enough to the foothills to improve the view, but far enough away to be flat

When I started out, I immediately ran into a bunch of cyclist. Then I ran into the start/finish line of a bicycle race in the middle of Montebelluna. It was complete with grandstands, a lot of officials, and hundreds of cyclists warming up for the race. I was glad I got there before it started!

After I got past the race folks, I continued to see more cyclist than I have seen on any other day of touring. Hundreds of them, many dressed as teams in matching outfits riding in groups, and others more casual, but still all decked out like racers. One of them, near where SS 248 intersected SS 13, rode beside me and, speaking English, asked where I was from. He was very friendly and very nice. He said that he rode to keep in shape and that he was impressed by the shape I was in. Since I was riding on mostly flat roads, I had little trouble maintaining a pace, for hours, that was as fast or faster than many of the race dressed, but not race fit, riders were holding for much shorter periods. There is something to be said for riding seven or eight hours a day for a month or two. I averaged 13.5 mph for the day, but that includes the ride from Italy to Slovenia which is a bit hilly. For the first half of the day I averaged over 14 mph and was usually cruising at 15 to 17 mph. Of course, flat ground and a day with little wind really help!

I stopped somewhere between Conegliano and Sacile for a snack, in Pordenone for lunch and, ten miles before Udine for a second snack. When I got to Udine, after about 75 miles of riding, I stopped at a place that offerer cheap phone calls (and internet access, but that wasn't working yet) and called Primoz in Skofja Loka to confirm that I would be arriving tomorrow. Then I stopped for ice cream and to get my water bottles refilled. That was not a good ice cream place; the ice cream was good, but the serving was about half what it should have been. Still, it got me on down the road, SS 54, to Slovenia. Since I had used all my supplies and couldn't replenish them on Sunday, I stopped again at another ice cream place in Cividale. That is the largest town between Udine and Kobarid. I also had a double esspresso to help me on my way.

The road to Slovenia started out pretty flat

And stayed that way because it followed a river gorge through the steep hills between Italy and Slovenia

The border is, as expected, the high point,
but I think the total climbing is less than 100 M

Once into the ridges between Italy and Slovenia, I really got excited about being back in Slovenia. The western part of Slovenia is simply the most beautiful area I have ever ridden in. From Cividale to Kobarid is almost 20 miles of spectacular scenery and great riding. I didn't need that double esspresso, just being able to ride in that area would have been enough to keep me going at the end of a long day.

One of two families I passed who were bicycling on SS 54

Hills and mountains!

Stupizza - a beautiful place with a, to me, silly sounding name

At the border, I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about getting back into Slovenia. After the border, it is mostly downhill to Kobarid. There were several good places to stay on the way to Kobarid, but I did tell the border guard I'd be staying in Kobarid, and besides, I want to get back to a place I had been before. I rode through Kobarid last summer, and even considered staying there before deciding to ride on to Tolmin. The road changes directions at Kobarid and, last summer I ridden a short way towards Italy on SS 54 before realizing (my compass!) that I was going west, not south. I stopped and took a break on SS 54 at the edge of Kobarid in order to figure out where I should go.

Those trees in the middle of this image are where I stopped last year

This year, I simply rode around Kobarid before deciding to stay at the fanciest hotel in town. It is another of the, not really, four star, hotels like the one I stayed at in Austria, 46 Euro including an excellent breakfast. The bed is lumpy, and I didn't sleep well, but supper in the hotel's fancy restaurant was spectacular, at least until a large number of German tourists arrived. I got there at 7:30 and ordered a mixed salad, spaghetti with prawns, wine, and a cheese plate; a French sort of meal.

The wine was good, the mixed salad was great with just a mix of well flavored greens, and the spaghetti with prawns came with a bib and a finger bowl to help deal with mess. It was great, but, just as I started to eat that course, about 30 German tourists came in, all at once. That created two problems: one was that I was eating a very messy meal in a room with a bunch of people who had nothing better to do than watch me < grin >, and the second was that the excellent wait staff was simply overloaded. After I finished my main course, I waited half an hour for the cheese course before giving up and telling the waiter to cancel it, because I needed to get back to my room to work on this ride report...

Breakfast was excellent this morning, really four star, although that same group of Germans all came down at the same time and overloaded the system. I saw my waiter from last night and thanked him for the excellent meal and good service last night. I just wish my room was up the same standard as the food. Ah well, today I ride to Skofja Loka, and get to see Primoz and his family. I've been looking forward to that since I planned this tour.

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