It was almost a year ago when me and Franzi got in contact for the first time. Not only we had in common the love of cycling and adventure but also our friend Tina, one of the masterminds behind the OSM film production. The first idea was to do a 3 women trip to Albania, but later it turned out into a two women trip through Italian Alps due to Tina’s job commitments.
Prior to our actual meeting in Milano on June 2nd, me and Franzi only exchanged few phone calls, instagram messages and pack lists. We both were busy with our lives so we didn’t put too much into the trip organizing and just decided to be completely spontanious about it.
I would be lying if I said that Franzi and me didn’t get along from the first second we actually met and the good 'vibe' between us lasted to the end of the trip.
We started our trip at the famous lake Como, climbing the steep hiking trails of the peninsula. Our first night and morning after was probably the most eventful of all, not only we got harrased by a wild boar but we’ve also been robbed of a coffee mug and nearly lost our tent rolling down the steep mountain face.
I’ll never forget Franzi asking an advice about the route from a local guy:
Franzi: Do you know this ‘strada militare’ (showing on the map)?
Italian guy (let’s call him Giorgio): Yes, it’s very steep.
Franzi: Do you think we can do it with the bike?
Giorgio: No and you will die, I tell you.
Franzi (offended): Why?
Giorgio: Because a lot of people die there, dangerous, belive me, I tell you.
Franzi: Okey, but why?
Giorgio: Because it’s dangerous, snow, believe me.
Franzi: Ok, thanks for the advice.
Franzi turns towards me: “ So, should we do it? “
That was the moment when I realized that this girl has the guts and there will be no complaining on this trip!
The next two days we found ourselves pedalling on a boring cycle path surronded by mountains with no way across them. We kept ourselves entertained with bended derailleur (successfuly repaired with a help of ‘bicycle hotline’) and asking from each other bunch of silly question.
By luck we stumbled upon a mountain bike route, following along the Swiss/Italian border ending in Bormio, Italy. We manouvered our bikes on a narrow mountain edge, me suffering from a light version of vertigo and Franzi paranoid over amount of blood sucking thicks. The last day on the route included some of the most amazing places I’ve ever rolled my tires onto. Passo di Val Viola consisted of: flower meadows, waterfalls, mossy rocks and screaming marmots but the biggest reward was realizing the strength of our bodies and mind, the ability to bring us to such a rough but mindblowing place. Oh, and the descent was alright also.
After a week and a half we treated our selves to a real shower in a Bormio’s ‘finest’ campground and planned our conquer of the Stelvio pass. We prepared for a long day of climbing, not being sure what to expect, we started our day very early. What was worrying us the whole time was the amount of food we had on us: 1/2 Toblerone, 1/2 pack of cookies, a can of lentils and a small pack of couscous. Considering the amount of food we ate every day, this was a very concerning amount. But just after 3,5 hours we were standing on the top of the Stelvio pass, not really sure if our legs got upgraded to level I. or it was simply just not a big deal to climb. We rocketed down to the valley straight into the first grocery store. That night we probably ate the best gnocchi with tons of cheese and raisins (of course!).
Since we were running out of time a bit, we speeded our travels toward the Dolomites with a short train ride to Brixen, which turned out as a great idea and the next day we were already high above tree line enjoying our solidarity. Our last few days of the trip we spent pushing our bikes on rocky trails with cold numb hands, eating more gnocchi with pasta, making friends with local cows and drinking water from alpine streams.
Not only do I get away with a great adventure, but I also got away with a new friend! Franzi thanks for being my tick remover, my camp kitchen chef, my entertainer and my crying shoulder! #sisterinthewild