That Was the Week That Was: Tunnels, Penalties and the Return of Australian Perfume Junkies

By Val the Cookie Queen of Australian Perfume Junkies


I took a short vacation with my husband, aka Nofearkris, last week. Probably not a vacation as you might know it. We went to Lake Garda in Italy, a well known biking Mecca. We took top class electric bikes with us, and if you have never ridden one you have no idea of what you are missing. Allow me to share my first day with you.


lake garda


After a traffic-free five hour drive down from Salzburg to Riva del Gardo, we settled into our very nice room with an amazing view. So far, so good. We decided to go out for a ride. Chris had been biking in the area several times before and was ready to show me the trails. He said it would be an easy ride. FFS. He has been saying that for 25 years and I believe him every time. So we took a straight up the mountain 6km ride on a dirt and gravel trail. Fine. I loved it.




As we reached the end of the trail, we took a right turn and carried up the road for several kilometers until we realized that maybe it was the wrong way to where we (read Chris) wanted to go. I was pretty wasted suddenly, lack of food and a lot of energy used in the uphill. Turned around and headed back to the original goal, Lake Ledro. I live at a bloody lake, and we were staying on a lake and I really did not care about seeing another lake.

Nevertheless, we rode on and eventually reached the destination. After refueling on spaghetti and Coke, headed back down towards Riva. The sky was a black as coal and we decided to take the asphalt road back, and not go back down the 6km. I was having a good time at this point I must add, feeling great from the food. The euphoria was short lived.

bike 3.jpg


We suddenly came to a tunnel, and headed straight into it. Shit. The tunnel was 6000m long, bikes NOT allowed in the tunnels and a 500 Euro fine if caught. Luckily we did not know about the fine at this point. I was shit scared and pedalling my bloody arse off. No lights on the bikes, and no light in front of me, nor behind me, Cars flying by beeping and flashing us. Awesome. I hit 42km on my bike, so desperate to get out. Chris, biking behind me at this point, said he had never seen my legs going so fast. Eventually – a light at the end of the tunnel.

As we came out it had started to rain, but to our great joy we saw another tunnel in front of us. Face palm. This one was only 1000 meters, and we knew it came down into Riva. I flew on when suddenly my sunglasses case fell out of my bum-bag which I had stupidly not done up correctly. My hero husband braked immediately and went back and got them. Sheesh.


nofear chris


We were spewed out of the tunnel into a torrential downpour, thunder and lightening, and huge hailstones bouncing off of my helmet. We biked through water 30cm deep in places. Soaked and sodden, but absolutely elated that I had survived this easy ride, we finally arrived back at the hotel.




After dinner we retreated to the hotel and settled in for the second half of the England – Columbia game. I love football and fly the England flag whenever they play, despite the heartbreak it inevitably brings. Thought it was in the bag until the Columbian coke and coffee boys put one in the net in injury time. 1-1. Then there was extra time, followed by the dreaded penalty shootout. My phone going like mad from friends and family. I was more scared than I had been in the tunnel. I hid in the bathroom, door ajar, looking through my fingers. England won the shootout and I nearly had a stroke. Vacation,
day one, was over. I was beginning to unwind.




I wore Hermès throughout, one must retain one´s style.


val hermes

We stopped in Val di Sole, Italy, on the way home to watch the UCI World Cup Downhill MTB 2018 qualification runs. Chris asked me to bike up to the start at the top of the course. Hahahahahaha. Nope. I stayed down and watched at the finish line and drank coffee and ate salami sandwiches.



Australian Perfume Junkies is back up and running. I will slip back into my first and third Tuesday slots there and look forward to the challenge of keeping things fresh! I am ever thankful to Tara and A Bottled Rose for giving me a home whilst APJ got things sorted out. However, the exciting news is I am gonna stay with A Bottled Rose too; going in a somewhat different direction with a “Strange Tales from the Cookie Kitchen“ monthly post.


lake italy.jpg


Biking Bussis


Filed under Travels

12 responses to “That Was the Week That Was: Tunnels, Penalties and the Return of Australian Perfume Junkies

  1. O M G! You two are crazy A F.
    So excited you have an extra home here with Tara. LOVE the stories.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 500 euro fine! Would the authorities have accepted payment in Hermes bottles? Definitely better not to have known that. What an insane and terrifying ride, innocently billed as a short cut. Chris was a hero for retrieving your specs, but you may perhaps be wary of his route planning in future. 😉 Love your being blasé about lakes, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What route planning? It was a short cut. I dunno about the Hermès bottles, probably not. I aim so glad that I got the sunglasses back, although had he been decapitated, I would have been upset. xxxx


  3. I’m sure this is going to be one of your most memorable vacations Val! My parents went on biking vacation in Lake Garda area. Personally I was at the lake too but was touristing around on my foot in Sirmione (Southern part of the lake)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahahahaha. I have been biking with the guy for thirty years. This is just one of many. But to be fair, this was one of the more nerve wracking ones. Others, like walking down a mountain through stones and mud for three km in Switzerland, CARRYING the bike on my shoulder do spring to mind. But that was not scary, just strenuous, ;).


  4. matty

    How terrifing for you in the tunnels. I’m sure the wearing of the Hermes was some compensation !!


    • Hi Matty. Of course it was, Hermès have an elegant way of calming you. It was not the tunnels so much as the traffic rushing through them that was terrifying! But all fine now. Until the next adventure. xxxxx


  5. Ingeborg

    Really terrifying biking adventure! So, did you actually get a fine? We have seen cases here of people biking, walking or using a wheelchair in tunnels. Most often motorists alert the police and they will block traffic and give the offender a fine.

    Lakes are lovely, but I still prefer sea breeze!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ingeborg! Nope, no fine, we did not get caught. And we did not know before hand about the fine, thank goodness. I love a sea breeze too, but this was biking break. The sea would have been safer. I hope we make the ocean in Autumn. Nice to see you, xxxxx


  6. Diana

    Thank God you survived this “vacation”, lol! You must be Wonder Woman’s sister or someone like that, what with doing 42 km on a bike!. All’s well that ends well, and that was a fascinating read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana I have to be honest here. It was a very slight, to the eye not seeable, downward ride in the first tunnel, otherwise I could not have done it. And even though we were on electric bikes, they stop working at 25kmh so I really did have to pedal my arse off. More important was England won that night, otherwise I would have been inconsolable. ;). xxxxxx


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