We awoke to a fairly steady rain, and the surrounding mountains were shrouded in clouds. The assumption we made, that proved to be true, is that it was probably snowing up in the higher elevations. We had thought we would be climbing Stelvio on this day, but the "run for cover" the night before made that unlikely. The snow is all the more reason for us to take it easy and just get in position to go over the mountain.
We ate a large breakfast at the buffet, packed, and checked out of the hotel. The clerk helped us retrieve the bikes from the garage and we set out on the Val Venosta bike path for Prato. The plan was to stick to the bike path as much as possible, hopefully all the way to Prato. We wound our way through apple orchards, vineyards, and small villages. Church was letting out in a couple of towns, and it was interesting to see the men walking in typical tyrolean attire, complete with white feathers in the caps. Just past the town of Laces the path turned to dirt track through the forest; on this segment we encountered a fairly new covered bridge! At Schlanders we missed a turn and ended up on SS38 again. We turned back and found the path again. At Laas we found that we were headed back onto the road and turned back before getting there. We tried three different paths, all blocked in one way or another (one was flooded, and that was probably the correct path). Eventually we gave in, made our way onto SS38 and pedaled quickly to Prato.
I checked us into the fanciest hotel, the Hotel Zentral, a newly remodeled inn with indoor swimming pool and sauna. We were hungry but found that the nearby restaurants were closed. The young desk clerk, who as it turned out was the owner, arranged for a small lunch from the (closed) kitchen of the hotel. Most of the guest seem to be german motorcyclists waiting out the storm. Dinner at the inn had one unusual twist, a plate of canned tuna with olives and mushrooms ... a rather large portion actually. More tuna than I have eaten in a couple of years. After dinner we take a walk around part of town, one more at home with the German name Prad am Stilfersjoch than the Italian. More of the hills are visible, showing a fresh blanket of high snow higher up.