With the bicycle from Mals to Merano: Report by Reinhard Jakubowski

From Laas to Latsch

The bikes are rolling again through the Vinschgau, on the left the naked and veld-like slopes of the Sonnenberg and to the right the green and wooded slopes of the Nörderberg.

By the way, the danger to be run over during a foto stop on the cycling track is extremely high today, since hundreds of bikers move along the Etsch, like an endless, colourful caravan. From this point of view it is probably wiser to make the tour in spring, when it is cooler and less overrun (or should one say “overdriven”?).

In the meantime we follow an unfortified stretch over a solid gravel surface, cross a roofed bridge and pass Göflan. On this gravelled stretch one has to be very careful, since it goes continually downhill and in a true sense one “really gets going”.

In Göflan a swerve across the Etsch to the left would be possible in order to see Schlanders, the main town of central Vinschgau. Clearly visible, the steeple of the Parish Church Maria Himmelfahrt, with its 97 m the tallest of South Tyrol, overlooks the town.

A stroll along the paved zone with ist cafes, inns and shops would be obvious, but time is precious, so we have to skip Schlanders

From Göflan we keep to the right up to the village Morter, which lies at the entrance of the Martell Valley.

At the Obermontani Castle, built by Albert II of Tyrol in 1228 and abandoned after a diverse history in 1837, the route turns left again to the Etsch. Apple plantations define the landscape as far as the eye can see.

Photo: M. BankenPhoto: Reinhard JakubowskiPhoto: Reinhard Jakubowski
  • Left: On a new alinement the Etsch cycling track leads directly along the river to Latsch.
  • Centre: The Vinschgau is intensively used for fruit growing. And so the cycling truck leads again and again through orchards with juicy apples and other fruit.
  • Right: The Etsch cycling truck is very popular, because it goes continuously downhill to Merano.

A short Stop in Latsch

Latsch (639 m) is our next place on the route shortly before 15 hours.

Immediately on the main road are more historically important buildings, the Parish Church Peter and Paul, the Castle Latsch as well as the Spitalskirche zum Heiligen Geist (Hospital Church of the Holy Gost) from the 15th century, with one of the most significant winged altars of South Tyrol, a masterpiece of wood-carving from Jörg Lederer.

Again we realise that, due to the many places of interest and scenic beauties along the cycling track, which tempt to make you stop or even detour, we are getting short of time. We still have not yet done much more than half of the route.

A glance at the watch tells us that we must be content with a little refrehment in form of ice cream, which we enjoy in the shade of a fountain in Latsch.

Along the Etsch to Kastelbell

After 15 minutes we leap back onto our saddles, put in the “fat” 8. gear and in no time we roll along a very new section of the way to Kastellbell on the left bank of the Etsch.

Photo: M. Banken

The location of Castle Kastelbell on a vertically steep rock is impressive.

Kastelbell (600 m) owns its name to the castle with the same name. The location is dramatic, on vertically steep rocks by the roadside.

We quickly take a picture of the castle from the 13th century, which dominates the place, and then we speed up in the direction of Tschars, where our train journey to Mals begun this morning.

The village itself lies, seen from the cycling truck, on the left slope on the other side of the Etsch. Its basic attraction is the gothic Parish Church St. Martin with its baroque onion dome, visible from far.

Words by Bärbel & Reinhard Jakubowski from Gladbeck. Pictures by Reinhard Jakubowski & Michael Banken. They are being use with the kind permission of the authors.

Reports and wordings of guest authors are not necessarily the opinion of the owner of the media

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