Driving in Paradise – Crossing the Stelvio Pass

This summer, Lars and I have crossed mountains. Explored badlands. Climbed to the top of canyons. Traversed deserts. In other words, it has been a very adventurous time, and, luckily, we have had no accidents whatsoever. Honestly, given the fact that we have pulled off some stunts, that’s actually a bit of a miracle…

But… Last Wednesday night… For the first time in weeks, there was some rain falling. I was on the terrace, watching drops of rain coming down in the swimming pool. The grass around it was giving off an intoxicating smell… After a couple of moments of bliss, I turned around to go back inside and get some sleep. And then I slipped…

I landed on the hard tiled floor of the living room and immediately, a very sharp pain soared through my right knee, and to a lesser extent, my right foot and back. I could not get up anymore, and Lars, who was afraid to inflict even more pain, had to call an ambulance. I spent the night in the hospital (in Granada); luckily, I haven’t broken my knee. It’s only sprained and I need to take it a bit easy. Right now, I can sit and walk again, so I guess the worst has passed.

Anyway, all this explains why it has been very quiet on this website. But as you can see, I am writing again! And probably later this week, the Viking and I will be on the road again as well. Without further ado, let’s take you to Italy, to the Stelvio Pass.

Some facts and numbers:

  • One of the highest mountain passes in Europe: 2.758m high.
  • Located in the Italian Alps, not far from the border with Switzerland.
  • Built between 1820-1825.
  • Open from May through November.
  • 47 km long.
  • 75 hairpin turns!
  • Very popular amongst cyclists and motorists.

Before I met Lars, I hardly cared about mountains at all… In my youth, I spent my family holidays mainly at the Spanish and Portuguese coast and never visited any part of Europe at all. This has changed a lot in the meantime and I can assure you that driving on the Stelvio Pass is indeed very thrilling! Have a look at this video:

See that smile on my face? By the way, the team of Top Gear had a lot of fun here as well! According to them, there is only one road (in Europe) that is more adventurous to drive on: the Transfăgărășan in Romania. Lars and I agree with them… And the latter is also more photogenic than the Stelvio Pass.

Have a look at how the team of Top Gear experienced the Stelvio Pass:

During our ascent, I couldn’t take any pictures, mainly because we couldn’t stop at the side of the road. At the top of the pass, I was finally able to take some snaps.

As you can see, the weather conditions were a bit gloomy. By the way, I was surprised by the number of people on top of the pass; I actually had not been aware that this is a very popular destination.

During the descent, I also took some pictures.

If I ever had the chance to drive on one of the two passes again, I think I would have a slight preference for the Transfăgărășan. As I said before, the route is more photogenic. And I have never made a video there!

What about you? Do you like to drive around in the mountains? Have you ever been to the Stelvio Pass? And/or the Transfăgărășan?

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