June 4, Padova to Grigno

The Cathedral of Saint Antonio in Padova, world famous. Antonio is the patron saint on the unorganized and forgetful.
The Cathedral of Saint Antonio in Padova, world famous. Antonio is the patron saint on the unorganized and forgetful.
On the back roads we often find religious shrines at the intersections. They were most likely constructed on top of an older, out of fashion shrine.
On the back roads we often find religious shrines at the intersections. They were most likely constructed on top of an older, out of fashion shrine.
The northern gate to Padova near the university. It had a draw bridge on the canal that the Venetians used to supply the city.
The northern gate to Padova near the university. It had a draw bridge on the canal that the Venetians used to supply the city.

I am posting a day and a half late for a couple of reasons; no internet in Grigno, our destination on Wednesday, and a long, late day on Thursday, 80 miles and five flat tires, before arriving in Bolzano.

Volker met us in the morning in Padova and led us out of the city and north 60 miles to Grigno. It was another beautiful day and, true to form, he had us on bike paths and small roads. Volker is quite the historian and we learned about Venetian water control and how they tamed the rivers, created arable land and navigable canals, and built up the defenses of Venice and conquered the cities in the area.

On the back roads we often find religious shrines at the intersections. They were most likely constructed on top of an older, out of fashion shrine.
The walled city  Citadella is set up as a perfect square, the cathedral at the center, and four gates leading in from each direction. The Venetians captured this city also.

We cycled north, deviating slightly here and there to find a smaller road or cycle path. We were like three ducklings following their mother. But even Volker was occasionally surprised;

Construction blocks our progress under the main Milano-Venezia highway. We were scheduled to meet Paula, another FIAB member, on the other side.
Construction blocks our progress under the main Milano-Venezia highway. We were scheduled to meet Paula, another FIAB member, on the other side.
Paula came to guide us into Bassano del Grappa, which Volker assures me has nothing to do with Grappa.
Paula came to guide us into Bassano del Grappa, which Volker assured me had nothing to do with grappa the alcoholic beverage.
I purchased a small bottle of Nardini grappa in Bassano del Grappa anyway (the night before, Filipo and Leo advised me to do this).
I purchased a small bottle of Nardini grappa in Bassano del Grappa anyway (the night before, Filipo and Leo advised me to do this).
Bassano del Grappa.
Bassano del Grappa.

The Brenta River was our companion as we continued north.  The Alps began to grow rapidly on either side of us and towering stone cliffs jutted into the sky along our path. Surprisingly, we only climbed gently as we followed the rapidly flowing, cold waters toward Grigno.

Huge cliffs rise on either side of the Brenta River.
Huge cliffs rise on either side of the Brenta River.
The cycle path goes across the top of an Austrian military bunker. Italian and Austrian armies would face-off in the mountains, often never advancing or retreating because of the terrain.
The cycle path goes across the top of an Austrian military bunker. Italian and Austrian armies would face-off in the mountains, often never advancing or retreating because of the terrain.

When the clouds rolled in Paula turned around and headed back to Bassano del Grappa. We cycled on wet roads into Grigno but never got rained on.  Grigno, off the beaten path, is a jewel, small and endearing, tucked between gigantic, sheer cliffs. Volker was originally going to return south from here but decided to accompany us tomorrow into Trenta where he would take the train back to Padova and we would follow yet another riverside cycling path to Bolzano.

Accommodations and an audience in Grigno.
Accommodations and an audience in Grigno.
image
Look up while walking in the small town of Grigno for a view.
image
The narrow, cobblestone streets and closely packed structures are always charming, but looking skyward takes your breath away. We wondered what forces created this sheer cliff.
image
Grigno locals watch the action as hungry, tired, beer-craving cyclists descend on the town.
Advertisements

3 thoughts on “June 4, Padova to Grigno”

  1. Julian underwood teaches next door to me. He is moving to Milan next year, and knows Italy somewhat. He is also a big biker (Kona ironman, honestly). He was reading your blog over my shoulder just now and said he was jealous.

  2. He also mentioned 1. His friends’ wedding was in the round part of that cathedral St. Antonio and 2. He’s biked some crazy network of tunnels southwest of Asiago. We wondered if you guys might end up there. he said it’s amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s