Two-Day Trip in the North of Italy – 662 Km

Chapter 2

Summer 2019, July.

Leading destination: Lake Resia, and the mysterious bell tower buried in its waters.

This time, our adventure is a little bit longer: 662 Km (411 Ml), a two-day trip, and many Alpine passes to cross with our motorbike.


Day 1 – 368 Km (229 Ml)

1. San Marco Pass

Morning, 8 a.m.

We leave our beloved Bergamo, and we run throughout the Brembana Valley. Small towns and mountain pastures are along our road.

At the end of the valley, we reach the San Marco Pass and its 1,992 m (6,535 ft) of elevation.

Despite many other passes, dominated by people who come and go, here you can feel your closeness to nature. One step from heaven, still immersed in the green of the pass’ meadows.

2. Bormio

The descent takes us to Morbegno, in Valtellina.

We come across this beautiful land, famous for its fine wines, until we reach Bormio, a touristic destination located in the Stelvio National Park.

Even if we know how excellent its local cuisine is, we prefer stopping for lunch at the next point, where amazing food embraces a stunning view.

3. Stelvio Pass

So much difference in altitude from Bormio to our next stop. We are on the border between Lombardy and Trentino-South Tyrol.

Dozens and dozens of curves and we come to the Stelvio pass, at an elevation of 2,757 m (9,045 ft). It is the highest paved mountain pass in the Eastern Alps and the second highest in the Alps, 7 m (23 ft) below France’s Col de l’Iseran. It’s defined as one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Italy!!

After so much road, we finally have lunch. There are bunches of places for eating. This place is full of motorcyclists and restaurants.

4. Lake ResiaShangri La Heritage Two Day Trip in The North of Italy Resia Lake

After lunch, we go down to the town Prato Allo Stelvio.

After 26 km (16 ml), we arrive at our Lake Resia, aka Reschensee, in Venosta Valley! This artificial lake is on the border with Switzerland, at an elevation of 1,498 m (4,915 ft). It is the largest lake in Trentino-South Tyrol and it’s located precisely in the municipality of Curon.

The first impression was a feeling of amazement (a bell tower in a lake?! What?!) followed by calm (the lake is so quiet, man). It’s something unique in the world!

But then, I start realizing that maybe it’s not as idyllic as can seem, indeed it even appears sad:

At one time, three natural lakes were located at the Resia Pass. Because of the construction of a large dam in 1950, the three lakes were unified, causing the complete submerged of the ancient town of Curon, which was transferred further upstream. Although the local population tried to oppose, 163 houses and 523 hectares of farmland are now on the bottom of the lake. Among them, there is also an ancient church of the fourteenth century, to witness that world almost lost.

5. Merano

Day one is running out. We cross the entire Venosta valley when it’s evening.

In this town, we stop for a beer and for having dinner at the Forsterbräu Merano. Beer is excellent, and you can have a typical Tyrolean meal.

After dinner and more than a couple of beers, we go to bed (we’ve booked in a lovely B&B).

Day 2 – 294 Km (183 Ml)

6. Bolzano

Also, the second day is full of emotions and places to discover.

We go to Bolzano, the capital city of the region. We make a quick visit to the magnificent old town. We regret getting up late. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time.

But we are ready to face the way back. Three mountain passes are waiting for us.

7. Mendel Pass

First step: Mendel Pass.

We are still in Trentino-South Tyrol, at an elevation of 1,362 meters (4,469 ft). Along the road, there are 17 panoramic hairpin bends, woods, and rocky walls.

In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twenty century, this place was a popular health resort for aristocrats and emperors. Considering how cool this place is, we understand why they chose to stay here.

8. Cles Lake

Crossing the pass, we come to Cles, in the heart of the Val di Non. There is a mountain lake, Santa Giustina Lake, also called Cles Lake, surrounded by apple trees famous throughout the valley.

9. Tonale Pass

We travel for the entire Sole Valley until we come to the Tonale Pass, 1,883 meters (6,178 ft).

This mountain pass, at the foot of the famous Presena Glacier (3000 m, 9843 ft), connects Lombardy and Trentino-South Tyrol. This road is also full of breathtaking hairpin bends.

We have lunch, and we go on with our trip.

10. Vivione Pass

We return to Lombardy, in the high Camonica Valley. We’re going through it all.

We arrive at the Vivione Pass at 1,828 meters (5,997 ft). It’s a very narrow and steep road, surrounded by woods and greenery! You are really in contact with wild nature. The highland at the top of the pass is reminiscent of the Scottish ones.

11. Clusone

We travel along the Scalve Valley and Seriana Valley, in the province of Bergamo, to Clusone.

This town is Daniel and Marco’s hometown. We decide to take a look to the Triumph and Dance of Death, a cycle of frescoes dated back fiftheen century, located close to the main church.

To finish our tour at best, we stop by our friend Gio for an happy-hour with a view in Piazza Orologio.

12. Bergamo

Other 30 km, and we are back home.

It’s been a long journey. But with all this beauty, how can you not do it?

Keep dreaming

Looking for the Shangri-La


Pan American Highway – 30,000 Miles from Alaska to Argentina

How many times have you promised yourself to leave everything and set off? Maybe by living out in a VW van or on the back of your motorcycle. Traveling around the world for months and stopping only to climb mountains and to rest.

That’s what James Barkman, photographer, climber, surfer, and rider has been doing for five years!

James lives his life on his 1976 VW van, doing what he loves by pursuing his passions. And if you think this is already a big deal, it’s because you don’t know yet what he made riding on a late ’90s Suzuki DR650:

“The most demanding experience of my life… a beautiful nightmare!” (Barkman, Iron and Air)

It was a dream that James and two of his childhood friends, Jeremy and Allen, shared since they were kids. Coming across the Americas through a road trip.

“The Pan-American Highway is the longest, arguably the most epic, system of roads on Earth.” (Barkman, Iron and Air)

Years later, those kids grown in rural Pennsylvania were then ready to make that crazy journey reality! From the cold and nearly desert town of Deadhorse, in Alaska, a few miles from the Arctic Circle to the warm and southernmost city of South America, Ushuaia, in Argentina. But that’s not all: the road trip would have been accompanied by rock climbing along the way. The challenge was so traveling in the lightest way possible while carring all the necessary gear for climbing and staying on the road for over one year.

Obviously, before starting, James had some concerns:

“Leading up to the beginning of our trip, intensity levels were at an all-time high. In addition to the demand of physical training and general preparation, … I had just returned from a project in Afghanistan, dealt with a winter of mechanical woes…. and watched my life savings slip away on climbing equipment and moto upgrades. I’ve learned that real adventures don’t come easy. As a friend of mine once put it, “That’s what makes it an adventure and not a vacation!” (Barkman, Fieldmag)

“The possibility of injuries, breakdowns, and failures was intimidating but also exciting. The mystery of the unknown and the open road ahead was invigorating.” (Barkman, Revitsport)

The trip began in the spring of 2017, the same day that Allen graduated from college. After saying goodbye to their families and friends, they started a 4,300-mile ride to North. First step: Alaska. The three guys had to face carburetor issues, bad weather, and even a breakdown to Allen’s bike. A little bit of luck came with a passerby who gave him a 400-mile lift. They finally came to Talkeetna. A ski plane brought the guys to Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.

Seventeen months and 38,000 miles later (about 61,000 kilometers), unforgettable adventures and misadventures were fully lived by the three guys.

Among the most memorable landscapes we want to remember:

  • Mount Hood, Oregon
  • Nevada Desert
  • Mount Whitney, California
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Baja Peninsula, Mexico
  • Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
  • Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
  • Andes, South America

“I don’t want to live inside the confinements of comfort, and I’m thankful for the places that my motorcycle has taken me, both physically and mentally. I want to live a story worth telling, one mile at a time.” (Barkman, Goalzero)

And you? Are you still willing to leave everything and set off?

All photo credits and quotes to: James Barkman

Keep dreaming

Looking for the Shangri-La