A breakfast of pastries set us up for the day. There was some worry about Joe's car, the battery had run flat after he fell asleep in it while I was riding over Stelvio the previous sunny afternoon. He'd got a jump start from someone and after having gone for a long spin for dinner all was well with the big beemer. HB, Euan and I said our goodbyes to Aidan, Jamie, Joe and Wojtek. They were heading to Stelvio, so we planned to meet them at Lake Como where we'd be staying in the town of Abbadia Lariana.
Our route took us back into Switzerland where we stopped at the top of Bernina Pass for a coffee and a piss. My Swiss speed limit paranoia was back, but thanks to the stunning views and great roads there was no hardship, 80kph felt a good speed as we cruised along to St Moritz, past the stunning lakes Silverplanersee and Silsersee before heading through Maloja. Maloja seems just like a normal town but as you ride out heading south you're suddenly heading down the spectacular Passo Del Maloja. The pass is like a giant set of steps cut into the hill side, there's hairpin after hairpin like Stelvio, but it's a bit more open and flows much better. It was fucking great fun.
The pass straightens up a bit as you ride down and down and down. I kept stopping on my eternal search for stickers for my panniers but everywhere seemed closed, and all this stopping was making Euan hangry. If Euan goes past his lunch or dinner time by more than fifteen minutes he starts getting fidgety, and it was way past his lunch time. Not long after we entered back into Italy Euan was battering about the place leading us up wee steep roads he was convinced there was a cafe or restaurant at the end off. Eventually, as we were riding through Chiavenna we passed a restaurant and skidded to a stop outside. Euan was like a rabid dog ordering three margarita pizzas. A quick scan of the menu showed zero pizzas. HB and I ordered some pasta dishes while they made Euan a pizza specially. The lass that was serving us described the dish I ordered as "very local" and it sounded good, probably because I speak fuck all Italian. I'm not the biggest pasta fan in the world so I was keeping a watchful eye on what other diners had ordered. Another guy on a bike was tucking into the bowl of grey stuff, it didn't look great. I was hoping I hadn't ordered that.
It was called Pizzoccheri. It might look like a grey pasta mess but it tastes fucking sublime! Meal of the holiday. I only know now what it was called through asking people and looking online when I got home, so I was thinking about it as we carried on, down down down towards Como. The lower you get the hotter it gets. Within no time the Africa Twin was telling us that the temperature was over 30 degrees. The sat nav directed us around the west side of Lake Como with me following before I realised what was happening, I thought I was taking us the wrong way, the gloves were off! Quite literally too, it was so hot and humid I threw safety to the wind, wobbling around taking my gloves off as we battled Como's crazy drivers. My navigational worries were put to rest quickly when I seen signs for the ferry. We only had to wait ten minutes till we were sailing over but by this time the heat was getting too much for HB. She wasn't making much sense when she was speaking and we had to tell her to take her roasting bike gear off and get in the shade. Crossing the lake was a bit cooler, Euan and I took some photos and spoke to other travelers while HB tried to cool down. Luckily it was only a short ride to the campsite where we'd hired wee chalets. We were suprised to see the guys were all ready there when we rolled up.
"Stelvio was fucking closed!"
That'll be why then, turns out I had chosen wisely riding it the pass the previous day. Stelvio was shut due to a cycle race, next time guys. We peeled our soaking, sweaty clothes off and got a cool shower. Even then it still took HB a good half an hour to get to feeling OK. Just behind us arrived Maw and Faithir. They were on their own trip on Faithir's Africa Twin and had arranged to meet up with us here at Como. Maw sat chatting to the recovering HB while the rest of us sat in the shade outside the chalets drinking beers and talking shite. Como was another two night stop and I was looking forwards to doing fuck all for a couple of days. Apart from a visit to the Moto Guzzi factory along the road and the occasional cool off in the lake (one of which nearly resulted in me losing my glasses) that's all I done.
Oh, Aidan and I borrowed Jamie's clippers and got holiday haircuts too.
Euan also got a cool stick on tattoo like a real bad ass.
Como was great, but after our two nights it was time to move on.
Find out where in Part 4.