Holidays are over. At least the first part of it. At least, that's how I feel now, writing on the terrace of the country home. For the first time in my life probably I feel good to be back. It has been quite a challenge.
My son and I had planned to reach the Ritten highland by train and bike, then to ride up there.
The first challenge was making two bikes fit in a bag. We had to remove wheels and pedals, that found their place in home made wheel's bags (courtesy of my ex husband), and all that stuff found its place in my large Kangoo, with our backpacks.
The second challenge was carrying - or dragging! - it from my car to the rail station, and moreover making it fit in the small overhead baggage rack.
There is a direct speedy train from Florence to Bolzano so we had no need to switch, then there is a ropeway to Oberbozen and we had just to ride from the rail station to the ropeway station. Yeah, but we had to reassemblate our bikes before, and that cought the policemen's interest. They seldom see a mother and son cycling party it seems...
The 3rd challenge was actually getting to the ropeway: my son could ride his bike but I had to carry the large bag on my shoulders pushing my bike. You could think an empty bag is light, well it isn't. And it wasn't empty because we had put inside it my son's boots and my cycling shoes. It's only 500 m from the rail station to the ropeway station, still it hasn't been fun.
On the ropeway bikes are allowed but you have to pay 6 euros for each one so if you can bring them packed it's abetter.
From Oberbozen to Rinner's there is a small train but bikes aren't allowed on board: son rode first, then came taking the bag and brought it to the hotel by train. I finally followed by bike, my heavy backpack on my shoulder. After that I was cooked and did absolutely nothing untill the dinner time, when I ate a delicious meal and then walked in the night till the village in order to process it.
I wasn't relaxed though: I was waiting for important news about my job as a teacher in the hightschool, knowing that a mistake in the burocratic iter could mess up my hiring, after seven years as a temporary teacher. I was so tense that I had a kind of panic attack and started crying as a cow.
The 4th challenge in fact was riding. Ritten is called an 'highland' but it's all but flat. Our first ride was an easy one for my son but quite hard for me. We went from Rinner's to Klobenstein and then over Mariasaal small church. You can check the route here . It's about 20 km but there are two serious climbs.
I suffered - and even panicked because legs don't work when head is off - but I'm proud I did it and honestly I was the only mom cycling up there.
The 5th challenge was allowing son to ride on his own to the high mountain 'village' of Gissman (Madonnina). That's a really demanding route - you can see it here - and he's only 13 yo. While he was climbing - and then waiting - I walked to Klobenstein by an hiking path, took the bus to Pemern and joined him on foot by Manuela's gasthoff.
The 6th challenge was hiking back from there to Rinner's on my own. It took me more than 2 h, crossing fields and forests on deserted paths where I met nobody. Ritten was crowded but it seems that people just concentrate on few easy paths near Oberbozen and Klobenstein... Once again I was exhausted but proud.
On wednesday the weather was awful, not simply rainy but stormy. We went to Bozen by the ropeway and there I got the news I was waiting for. Good news considering I'm going to be hired but the process is so complicated and messy that I panicked again. I spent the day trying to print, scan and e-mail a form, in vain. There is no internet point on the whole Ritten! On Friday morning I went again to Bozen by the ropeway and had it made. But it was bloody hard!
Meanwhile my son had gone by train and bus to Pemern and by the ropeway up to Lago Nero. From there he headed to the Rittern Horn by the longest path and we met up there for lunch. Relieved, I had to hurry up, so - after ropeway, train, bus and another ropeway - I climbed the peack by the direct steep way. Ouch! But I must say the meat tasted very good atop!
It was very late when we started our way down, still we decided to go back on foot. The path was less demanding than mine the previous day and hiking alone is different. Anyway we arrived at the sunset and went directly to the dinner table. No shower and boots on.
Then unfortunately my son went playing on the jumping carpet and given that he was tired he did a wrong move, dangerously landing on his neck. When I came, he was loudly crying, flat on his back, the hotels' owner softly touching his neck. I was scared: it could be something serious. But he had no cut, was conscious and quickly on his feet. I decided to wait and now I can say I was right: he had a slight concussion but there was no need to bring him to the hospital.
Of course, no bike. On friday we went for an easy walk and at 5 pm we left to Florence by train. Of course we had to bring back our bikes and that also was a challenge, especially because I was worried about son's health.
The sunset is colouring the sky in red and the mountains in blue. I'm glad I'm here. No more challenge for a while. But I firmely believe that real life begins out the confort zone.
I shortly talked with Andy Schleck yesterday: he's in Mallorca, working, And in a good mood.
My next travel will be to London, 21-26 of August. Before I'm enjoying the country laziness and catching up with procycling. What did I miss?