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Bellinzona – Locarno (Basecamp) – Maggia- & Bavona Valley – Alpe di Néggia – Verzasca Valley – Brisago Panoramic route  (260 km)

This is a premiere. My (Kurt’s) first retirement trip. Since Darina is still a valuable contributing member of society, I decided to go on tour to southern Switzerland with my friend Ernst, another retiree. It was the time of year when winter hasn’t really departed and spring hasn’t yet arrived. So, while sun protection was required, it was definitely not enough to stop the cold. 

Our routes in and out of Locarno

As you can see, we were in and out of Locarno (B) a lot.

Because of Corona restrictions, the only  restaurants open were those in hotels, for guests staying there. That did turn us into a captive audience since a take-away pizza eaten in the room would not have measured up to our standards.

Maggia and Bavona Valleys

Our first excursion brought us up the Maggia, mostly on a separate cycling track. That was not neccesary in the Bavona Valley since we were the traffic there. We made it to the waterfall in Foroglio and hiked to the top.

Not the cycling path, but doable
Could be greener, but then we would have to share it
Foroglio Waterfall
Granite carved by water; on top of the fall
Ernst on the bridge on top of the fall
The way trees grow...
Ascona
Ascona

On our way back down, we went through Ascona and celebrated with the year’s first ice-creams.

Alpe di Néggia

Our next loop depended on the goodwill of the Italian immigration official. He let us through, on the promise that we wouldn’t stop. We even took our few pics while riding, compliant as we are.

Across the border...
We were warned...
Back in Switzerland
... totally knackered me

I was totally wrecked up on the pass, while Ernst tried to keep warm waiting for me. 1,200 altitude meters with gradients of up to 14% was probably a tad too much for the start of the season! There aren’t any pictures from the equally brutal downhill, as my fingers were frozen to the brake lever.

Celebrating our international trip after a long, hot and well-deserved shower.

Verzasca Valley

This was a much easier ride. Once we reached the dam, it was pretty level all the way to Lavertezzo.

The dam of James Bond fame
Lavertezzo

Here at the famous bridge, the river has worked wonders on the rocks.

Some straight...
... some curved
Insta-bridge
Private little pool at 4°C
Some wildlife
Future wildlife

Brissago’s Panorama Route

 

The next and last outing brought us down to Brissago and back along the panoramic route.

At Brissago harbour
Climbing up to scenery

This was the easiest loop with one of the best views.

Locarno castle
Locarno harbour

Locarno was really a great basecamp where we could relax after our excursions. I also got a taste for side trips as opposed to target oriented A to B cycling.

For me, the best part was that we got along fabulously. I can well imagine another ride with Ernst. Hopefully with higher temperatures the next time.

For the record, some fotos are courtesy of Ernst, so if you feel like swiping some, please credit both of us 