Day 5: Realp to All'Acqua

27 June 2011

In the morning we rolled downhill from Realp to Hospental. Without the awful headwind that appears in the afternoon (which we encountered last year), it was a beautiful ride. In fact, before this morning I had had no idea that this stretch of road was actually downhill.

Approach to Hospental

On the climb up to St. Gotthard, I had the experience and the good sense to not take the cobblestone road this time, instead opting for the newer and smoother road through the gallery.

Approach to St. Gotthard pass

We regrouped in Airolo for lunch. We found that it was quite simple to top up our prepaid SIM card balances. You can purchase a Swisscom 10 CHF voucher at many supermarkets. When the voucher is activated, your receipt gives you a code that you punch into your phone. That's it. You don't need to use a credit card, or visit a Swisscom store, or decipher a German phone tree, or use some proprietary phone app.


After lunch, we headed up towards Nufenen. The afternoon ride was quite warm but fairly short; we stopped at All'Acqua (part of the way up the mountain, at 1600m elevation) and called it a day early. All'Acqua appeared to have only about three buildings at its center— I love these idyllic little towns. The hotel interior was surprisingly modern. We had sorbet at the hotel restaurant, and then I enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon just reading (interrupted only once by a herd of cows being herded right past my window).


We drove down to Airolo for dinner, mostly just because it was possible. I had spaghetti carbonara, which is a food that I usually find unpalatable, but which really hits the spot during a bike tour.

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