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Da Treviso al Paradiso 

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by Allan, Konrad & Francesco 

  Day 6 - Tuesday 21st May

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Canazei to Arabba  (64 kms)

We awoke to blue sky and sunshine.  What a difference to yesterday, and it couldn't have come at a better time.  This was the day we were doing the 4 passes that make up the Sella Ring.

We started climbing immediately from the hotel (1465m).  This was more like the climbing I'd expected.  Lots of hairpins, not too steep, or maybe it was just that I was feeling back to normal again.

We soon reached the fork in the road where it's right for the Pordoi, or straight on for the Sella.  We were doing it clockwise as we intended to stay in Arabba that night.

The scenery was absolutely awesome.  The nearest thing I can describe the feeling I got seeing those mountains for the first time is the same one you get when you hear a piece of music which makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. An added bonus was that the roads were very quiet.  Apart from the motorcyclists, we saw very little traffic.

It seemed no time at all before we were posing by the Passo Sella sign (2244m). The scenery around was just majestic. A desolate looking landscape with magnificent peaks that seem to come straight up out of the ground.  It was quite cold and windy on the top, so we went into the cafe for some soup and coffee, then after more photo's, it was off down to start the climb to the Passo Gardena (2121m).  

This is a fairly easy climb, and it was much warmer and less windy on the top of the Gardena.  The road between the Sella and Gardena must be one of the most picturesque  in the Dolomites.  Great views again from here, and after eating our pannini's and fruit, we began a fast 10km descent to Corvara.  

From Corvara, we climbed the Passo Campolongo (1875m).  Lots of hairpins out of Corvara, which we shared with lots of trucks carrying soil.  Luckily, these were turning off not too far up the road.  After the hairpins stopped, it was more of a long drag, which I personally found hard.  Probably had dead legs from the long descent of the Gardena.  We stopped at one pass sign (1850m) and took photo's, only to find another a bit further  on (1875m), so had to do the photo thing all over again.  From the summit, it was a quick descent into Arabba, where we'd decided we would stay for the night.  We arrived in Arabba at 15:45 and there was some discussion about doing the Pordoi now, or in the morning.  We decided we'd book into a hotel (Hotel Evaldo ***), leave the panniers and, as we were on a roll,  tackle the Passo Pordoi now.

The climb was 9km, but not difficult.  Lots of hairpins, but the wind had got up.  As we neared the top, it started to rain, which then turned to hailstones.  There was quite a bit of repair work going on on the road in preparation for the Giro d'Italia going over there in a week or so (we beat them to it ;-)  It was 'freezing' at the summit, so after a quick photo, we set off down.  This was horrendous.  Slushy hailstones and a biting wind. Half way down, my hands were frozen, and my knees were a funny 'red mottled with blue' colour!  I didn't look at them after that.  We zoomed into the garage at the hotel, and my hands started to thaw out.  That was the most painful part.  So, nothing for it but, you guessed it, a sauna. We now had a chance to look at the room etc, and it was superb.  We had a suite (a sort of sitting room with seperate bedroom).  Very upmarket.

One thing we'd noticed today was that the signs for the summit of all these passes never seem to be at the actual highest point.  They're always before the summit proper.  Why is that?

Hotel details...

Hotel Evaldo


a marmot! This is what it's all about!  A day I'll never forget.  Awesome scenery.
a marmot! The road between the Sella and Gardena is extra special.

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