Odyssey Day 26 Brixen to Innsbruck

The Brennen Pass came out in its spring best. Hay being cropped (small mowers) and hand raked. Twins thundering through on the main Munich to Verona line: great to see so many good being moved by wagon.

Following old roads and railways, we see the new trunk road snaking around at an unbelievable height. We enter Austria at Brennen, population 600 and a shopping mall. So we didn’t stop.

Of course flowers everywhere, almost as many as cafes and ice-cream shops


Odyssey D25 Cortina to Brixen/Bressanone 58miles 780m

And now just two languages to deal with. Italian and German. The latter makes an entry as we enter the Tyrol region, another disputed land. That looks like the common thread to our Odyssey.

The countryside doesn’t care, it just dominates. Most of today is a descent which brings home the impact of water as it thunders down carrying gravel.

More arable landscapes appear, with meadows and spring flowers joining mountain and town. Lots more cyclists, touring and bikes.

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A great cycle track keeps us away from most of the traffic.

Bressanone is one impressive town.

Odyssey day 24 Maniago to Cortina d’Ampezzo 75miles 2200m

James had hidden his Aston, Clusea was dealing with a bump, so were left to deal with the Cliff Hanger views ourselves.

Young mountains the Dolomites might be: achingly beautiful they definitely are. We have all day to appreciate them as we start at the bottom and end up a lot higher.

Today they and the numerous small villages perched precariously on hillsides, were framed by meadows of spring flowers.

The last 30k was on an old railway line. I have an inclination it took some building.

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Odyssey Day 23 Trieste to Maniago 75miles 750m

The trilingual signs has us wondering. So it turns out that there are two other languages spoken in this region. Wiki says it is called Friûl Vignesie Julie in Friulian and Furlanija Julijska krajina in Slovene, two languages spoken in the region. It encompasses the historical-geographical region of Friuli and a small portion of the historical region of Venezia Giulia – also known in English as the Julian March – each with its own distinct history, traditions and identity. Now we know!

Flat as Norfolk sharing a similar drained wetlands origin. Rich agricultural lands, with prosperous villages. The smell of freshly cut grass verges and numerous churches competing for tower of the year evidences that. Factories are not hidden away though, rather celebrated. Fittingly Maniago is a major world exporter of steel blades.

Tomorrow we ascend the Dolomites which have been the backdrop of most of today’s ride.

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Proves to be a wonderful city to explore. Big enough to swallow the cruise ships, small enough to get around and up and down its cobbled streets.

It’s a long time ( as a devout agnostic with an inbuilt Calvinist bias, John Knox’s crass legacy to the Scots) since I’ve been to a mass. The service in the Cathedral had wonderful music and must have meant a lot to the children being indoctrinated, sorry I mean confirmed. Reminded me of the old joke: “hey mister, yer hand bag is on fire” as the incense burners were fired up. Everyone in the congregation was so happy: glad the symbolism meant something to them. We returned there later sampling a fantastic choir performance.

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The streets bustled with locals, a population about Swansea’s size though it looked more with it. Looking up at all the apartments close to the centre gave a feel of a lived in place, and a meeting place of different cultures.

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