Our last day with our bikes was special from morning to night. We were taken by bus from our new hotel in Merano up to Lake Resia, an artificial lake created when a dam was started in 1940.
Along the way we passed mountains adorned with waterfalls,
Green Vineyards by neat homes,
And numerous castles.
Arriving at the lake, which flooded an existing village, the top of the 14th century church tower was visible above the surface of the water, a reminder of all the people who were forced to relocate.
We took the time for a group photo before starting on our long downward bike journey.
The bike path took us through quaint villages and rushing streams too numerous to show here,
Past castles and a child's birthday party procession, with the "princess" in a decorated wagon.
The journey was fun and exhilarating, and ended at the town of Glorenza where we were to have lunch.
Glorenza was a lovely little medieval town built within high walls.
Homes were built right next to the stone walls, that were topped with a covered walkway.
We found a wonderful restaurant on the town square, and lingered much too long over a delicious lunch.
The clouds were building as we emerged and we hurried to reclaim our bikes to peddle the rest of the way.
We made it to the train station at Laza just as the lightning and thunder began, and we were happy to board and get out of the weather. However, arriving back in Merano we had a long walk in the pouring rain to our hotel, and were glad of a hot shower before dressing for our farewell dinner.
We were transported to the Rametz Castle just outside of town, a wine growing estate dating back to 1227.
In 1860 the first Blauburgunder grapevine in South Tyrol was planted here.
We toured the private museum filled with old tools.
And visiting the wine cellars with our host and owner Stanislav Schmidt, we were able to taste the fruit of their vineyards.
As we left to board our bus after a delicious dinner, the sun can out to lighten the surrounding mountains, promising another beautiful day in the Italian Dolomites.