A Day in the Mountains

September 27, 2021

Bobbio in the sunlight, where our day began

After yesterday’s climbs in the rain we were hoping for some better weather today. With rain still in the early morning forecast, we decided to delay our start by an hour to give it a chance to clear out. It was a good decision. The skies were mostly clear and the sun warm without being overly hot as we started on the first and steepest climb of our day in the mountains.

Hillside barn
Many houses are perched like this

Today we climbed nearly a mile in elevation (1602 meters) but aside from the first 550 meters (1800 feet) it was far easier. First, we hit the climbs early when our legs were fresher and second, the climbs were far more gradual. Best of all, once at the summit and our lunch stop, the rest of the way was almost entirely downhill and what a spectacular downhill run it was. Nearly 30 kilometers of steady downhill grade all the way into Genova and our hotel for the next two days.

Where the town is larger, all roads run downhill
Some towns are quite small

Along the way was some of the most spectacular scenery anyone could hope to see and only a minimal effort needed to take you to the next scene. This part of Italy makes the most of its real estate. Every few kilometers is a new little town for you to wind your way through in a matter of seconds. These villages cling to the sides of the mountain and sometime look as though a good shake could send them tumbling down into the gorge below. Where there are no villages there is the odd church or farm house hanging as if suspended from invisible wires to heaven.

This is the old tunnel on a quieter road. We were able to go through.

Occasionally, there are tunnels but we usually avoided them if at all possible, especially if the road was busy. While there was some traffic on the long downhill glide, Italian drivers are quite savvy about sticking to their side of the road on the tight turns and switchbacks. As a cyclist I was always alert for the small rock slides and debris that were sometimes in my path. Overall, it was worth every bit of the effort it took to get to the top.