As a child, our parents took me and my brother on a camping and hiking holiday to Switzerland (Lauterbrünnen). We became fascinated by the mountains, glaciers, valleys, rivers and waterfalls. Once infected with the ‘cycling holiday fever’, my brother and I decided we wanted to conquer those magnificent Swiss mountain passes by bike.
Our bike buddies Jesper and Maarten planned on biking from The Netherlands to Firenze in Italy the same summer. So we decided to plan a rendezvous in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
While Jesper and Maarten started their journey through Germany, me and my brother Daan were transported to Geneva, Switzerland to start our bike adventure from there. After a fairly easy start along the shores of Lac Leman / Lake Geneva, we headed for the mountains. Les Agittes (1,558m), Grosse Scheidegg (1,962m), Grimselpass (2,165m), Nufenenpass (2,478m), St. Gotthardpass (2,091m), and the Oberalppass (2,044m): we faced some serious, but breathtaking climbs on our bike adventure through Switzerland.
Arrived in Liechtenstein and reunited with Jesper and Maarten, we biked through Austria and over the Silvrettapass (2,032m) and Reschenpass (1,504m) to reach Italy. The lush Etschtal and Vinschgau valleys in South Tirol, with apple farms as far as the eye could see, and the tourist buzz along Lago di Garda, were in sharp contrast with the dryness and desert-like heat (with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius) we faced while crossing the Po Plain.
After a quick visit to beautiful Bologna, we entered Toscana. The rolling Apennine hills formed our last obstacle before reaching Firenze and its impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, 1,552 km of cycling from Geneva.