The Alpine Challenge — Driving through The Stelvio Pass

My mind has started to wonder and to dream. After almost three weeks solo travelling across the Alps, taking on some of the toughest sporting challenges along the way, I am approaching the end of the outwards journey and heading for my home in Slovenia. It is an exciting dream not least because it will mean an emotional reunion with my family in Ljubljana, flying from the UK to meet me at the end of this amazing journey.

But before that a few adventures still remain for The Alpine Challenge. From Lauterbrunnen I headed for two more Downhill Mountain biking events at Lenzerheide in Switzerland and Livigno in Italy. Both of these passed off without incident and with that being the case I was able to focus on the onwards journey, the dream of the destination, and the route to be taken across The Stelvio Pass, one of the most famous road trips in the world and something I was looking forwards to immensely.

Descending the mountain from Livigno I passed through the Italian ski resort of Bormio, the start point for the climb up to Stelvio. The road was steep on the way up, but the campervan was handling the workload very capably. I became conscious of what goes up must come down and the descent on the other side may well challenge the limits of the van, especially the brakes!

The Stelvio Pass at 9045 feet is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps, built between 1820 and 1825. On reaching the top a cluster of hotels and bars span either side of the road and travellers take advantage to stop and admire the views and take in refreshments. I decided to avoid the crowds and pass through to begin the descent, stopping a little down the mountain at the first of 60 incredibly tight and narrow hairpin bends. Here I stood in total amazement looking down at the road below me and across the huge valley to the glacial mountains many miles way to the south.

This was going to be the greatest test of my trusty Fiat Ducato so far on The Alpine Challenge, but she would not let me down. A slow descent, conserving the brakes as much as possible and with each hairpin requiring full use of the entire available tarmac to navigate, dreaming stopped and total concentration took over.

After what seemed like an age I reached the bottom and pulled up for both a leg stretch and also to allow the red hot and burning brakes to cool. I had made it, the van had made it, and another box on the Alpine Challenge had been ticked. 
The onwards journey to Slovenia would be less mountainous and less arduous, allowing my mind to once again start to dream of that family reunion in Ljubljana.

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This memory belongs to our Passenger Peter Hayes (@hayes1955). All the pictures belong to Peter’s personal archive. To know more about our Passenger Peter Hayes, click here.


Originally published at www.minivanofmemories.com.