to Cortina d'Ampezzo (51 kms)
A great nights sleep and a good
breakfast. We decided we'd spend half an hour giving the bikes a
quick once over before we set off today. A squirt of oil here
and a wipe over there. They were filthy from the descent of the
Arabba on the No.48, headed for Cernadoi (a great descent), where we
took the 638 signposted Colle Santa
Lucia. This was a wonderful
road, no traffic with a superb surface. Some great views from the top
of the lake at Alleghe, Caprile and the road off up to the Fedaia
Pass. The town itself is very
pretty, and we stopped for a coffee. From there it was downhill
to a fork in the road where we took a left and started the climb of
the Passo di Giau (2233m).
is a relentless climb, and quite tough with panniers on! We kept
a steady pace, with the thought of a bowl of soup keeping us going to
the Rifugio Fedare (please God let it be open!). This is one of those passes where you can
see the summit from a long way down! Just before the Rifugio,
the road gets pretty steep as it passes through a short tunnel.
owner of the Rifugio Fedare didn't let us down and we had a glorious
bowl of Bean and Pasta soup. We learned that the Rifugio did
have rooms for the night, and with hindsight, it would have been a
great place to spend the night. Worth considering if you're in
the area. But, we were heading for Cortina d'Ampezzo, and as the
beans took effect, we left for the final 'musical' climb to the
summit. Just before the top, we stopped to watch a marmot.
Konrad spent 5 minutes creeping up on it to get a close up photo, but,
he went to get just that bit closer and it disappeared down a
hole. Luckily Francesco and I had taken photo's earlier!
was a fair bit of snow at the summit and it was quite cool (but not as
cool as the Fedaia had been). Another stunningly spectacular viewing
platform! After a short break at the summit, it was a fantastic
descent all the way down past Pocol and in to Cortina d'Ampezzo.
I might not be able to convey what I mean here, but there was a section
of that descent before Pocol where the road twists and turns through
pine trees. I'm not sure whether it was the light, the stillness, the
quietness or what, but I felt as though I was riding through some sort
of fantasy world. It all seemed a little unreal. Like riding
through a Christmas card. I can't say I've ever felt that before.
It really was magical.
don't remember the name of the hotel we stayed in. It was
probably the worst of the trip in terms of facilities (no sauna ;-) but adequate -
though the room was a little noisy. We ate out in a pizzeria in
the town that evening. Nice pizza.