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Da Treviso al Paradiso 

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by Allan, Konrad & Francesco 

  Day 7 - Wednesday 22nd May

< day 6    day 8 >

Arabba 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 Pordoi yesterday.

We left 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).

This 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.

The 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!

There 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.

I 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.


a marmot! Really enjoyed the climb of the Passo Giau.  Must have been the beans :-)
a marmot! Superb views from the summit and a wicked descent to Cortina d'Ampezzo.
a marmot! Marmot 1  Konrad 0

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