Some trips are dreamed of for years, others for months, all meticulously prepared in every detail. Then there are those, like this one I’m going to tell, that arise from a phone call made by chance, one day before departure, and we’re not talking about a simple overnight in the mountains but a 3-day trip across the border a thousand kilometers from home confirming that in the end what matters is setting off on an adventure.
It’s Wednesday morning, I’ve organized family and work commitments and can afford a little bike ride. While I was waiting for my riding partner, scrolling through my Facebook feed, a “memory” of the previous year appeared when I went to the Jeroboam 300 with my friend Andrea. Too bad, I tell myself, I won’t be able to participate this year. From there, thoughts travel fast, and I reflect that it’s been almost a year since I heard from Andrea (we had seen each other in passing at the BAM, and he was just passing through without a bike); I scroll through my contact list and call him without overthinking. Andrea is one of those friends I like because he always replies.
I open the conversation like this: “My friend, what are we doing this year!? no September tour?” and he replies: “Next weekend I have organized myself to go to Austria and do the Alpe Adria cycle path, it is 400 km from Salzburg to Grado, and I have a day off”. I remain silent for half a second, but then I tell him I’m in! The same evening everything was organized, even if, in the end, home – Salzburg is only 900 km!
Thursday evening, after work, I load the bike and the bags. The appointment is for 18:00 in Ancona. At 1:00 on Friday, we are in Udine, and to sleep, we have the very comfortable unpadded wooden table resting on the rear seats, with which Andrea claims to have “camped” his Traffic. At 6:00 in the morning on Saturday, after barely two hours of sleep, we are at the Udine station, we take advantage of the McCaffè to have breakfast, and immediately afterward, we are on our way to Salzburg.
Having to buy special tickets at the station given a change in Villach with Austrian trains, they tell us that we can get them on the train and we discover that this is not the case, while in Austria they explain to us that we should have booked. This is because, being there are so many cyclists, without a reservation, transport of the bike is not guaranteed, and there is a risk of having got off the train. With a lot of amazement, both in the station in Udine and then in Villach, I notice a lot of touring bikes. In fact, numerous Germans and Austrians are returning home after their trip from Germany to Italy, above all with the now e-bike, which, beyond the Alps, has almost supplanted the traditional bike. On the train, we meet a lovely bicycle traveler from Udine with the revolutionary name Fidel, who smilingly explains to us the active political commitment of his parents to justify his name. We exchange a few words, and he gives us some ideas for a future trip to Slovenia, where he is headed. We say goodbye to Villach.