to Arabba (64 kms)
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
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
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
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
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?