21 km, 550 metres ascent, 7 hours including about 1 hour breaks.
Weather: sunny and hot; cloud on the summits; very humid.
Just to be clear, we have not sunk to staying in a hotel garden, we are in a hotel that goes by that name. Moreover, I have a single room. I'm required to pay €10 a night extra for the privilege, though I don't recall being offered a discount when required to share a bed with Emanuel.
I'll start by summarising the statistics for the last six days. We cycled and pushed our bikes nearly 350 kilometres, with a total ascent of around 10,500 metres.
There were problems for some of us last night but that was yesterday. So far as I'm concerned it's a good group and we are all friends again.
I may be just a bit more 'bike fit' once the tiredness wears off, so expect a few longish rides on Stumpy - the old bike has performed superbly this week. Dave Oliver (who sold it to me) will be pleased to hear this.
Others went swimming or cycling, and Daniel even managed a via ferrata. I chose an easy but scenic stroll up to a fairly local summit - Dosso Grande. It wasn't really such a big doss as the temperature was 30C in the shade.
After a visit to the Mini Mart to collect some lunch, I set off beside the River Sarca, past the junior climbing world championships, which are taking place in an arena of manufactured climbing walls with a backdrop of wonderful rock scenery, perfect for climbing - the real thing. The championships start today. The Danish team is in our hotel, which backs onto the stadium.
The Sarca is an ancient waterway used for centuries to irrigate and provide power to this area. The river looks very clean. I didn't spot any fish, but there are lots of resident mallards. The bridge in Arco also has a long history of being destroyed or damaged in floods and wars. The current version was built in 1947 to replace one destroyed by retreating Germans in WW2.
I left the riverside path to follow route 667 through shady woodland, rising above the Sarca on a bed of pine needles, to the sound of industry in the valley below.
Taking advantage of a picnic table after 200 metres ascent, I then explored some wartime second defences - trenches and caves. Then it was on past cyclamen and crosswort, on a narrow, rocky path to the 582 metre summit, which is a little further along the limestone ridge than the height marker indicates.
The steep descent to Dro includes wires and stemples to negotiate a wall of rock that the path then follows at the foot of the now overhanging wall that appears to be propped up by pit prop like beech trees.
Once down in the valley, a hot walk through vineyards and apple orchards led to the town of Dro, where grapes were being harvested. The red ones were small but very tasty.
By the time I reached the riverside cycle track I was hot and tired. Luckily the fleshpots of Arco were nearby and a litre of lemon soda together with a drippy ice cream soon sorted me out.
The others, now joined by Dieter, who today rode up to and down from Tremalzo with Thomas (impressive), have gone to Torbole to woo some Korean ladies. I've stayed in Arco and enjoyed a good pizza before attending the opening ceremony of the Junior Climbing World Championships, which took place on the evening of the first day of competition. Much as I expected - lots of flags.
A view towards Lake Garda
Orchards and vineyards
Sweet, juicy, petite, tasty grapes
Flags at the opening ceremony (I had to move to make space for them)
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