Monday, July 06, 2015

The European Trip, Day 29 - Uraling to Cortina d'Ampezzo

I left Bolzano after breakfast at around 8:20AM soon after checking out from the hotel.  The rig and I took SS12 or Strada Statale 12 (state road) and headed north towards Colma.  Most of the traffic was inbound into Bolzano so no traffic issues for us.

Just before reaching Colma and it's junction with SS242, I saw a small castle on a hillside:

Just south of Colma or Kollman depending on
whether you lean Italian or Austrian.

Historically, this area between Austria and Italy has been fought over many times.  The names of the towns changing depending on which army was victorious at the time I believe.  So the signs showing you the name of the town usually have two names, the Italian and Austrian/German name.  Just thought I'd mention it.

An eye-catching piece of "artwork?" I saw along the way today.
This was at St. Christina.

Riding over the bridge we then motored on SS242 towards the first pass of the day, Passo Gardena which is reachable via SS243 where it junctions with SS242 in Plan de Gralba.  All the tour bus traffic seemed headed down SS242 so it was an easy choice.

I next backtracked towards the junction with SS242, the road was now almost empty, funny how that happens once the tour buses go away.  I rode on SS242 towards Passo Sella:

I kept riding on SS242 until I realized that when it junctioned with SS48 that SS28 was the road that I'd driven on the way towards Switzerland!  As I was getting my bearings sitting on my rig at this junction, this bicyclist approaches me and in Italian he asked me about the road back where I'd just come from.

In quite a UDF session, he turned out to be a former URAL rider, some 20 years ago.  Sergey, or Sergio is originally Russian, now living in Italy working in the cheese industry.  Small world eh?  

After we said our goodbyes, he kept going towards Pordoi Pass on SS48 and I decided to backtrack towards SS243 as I wanted to ride new roads towards Cortina d'Ampezzo, tonight's destination.

So, I had to drive through the twists and turns all the way up towards Plan de Gralba, enjoying the views of Sella Pass once again.  Darn.

Now on SS243 once again, I went through Gardena Pass once again.  Darn.

The route would be to reach SS244, take it north for a bit until it junctioned at Villa Stern with the road to Valparola Pass.

After Passo Valparola, it was riding on SS48 towards Passo Falzarego, there wasn't much of a scenic view content at this pass, so here's the one picture I took to record passing through:

One continues from Passo Falzarengo towards the small village of Pocol and then turns south towards Cortina staying on SS48.  This portion of the road is quite twisty in spots and pretty soon one begins to get glimpses of the big mountains that surround Cortina.

Just before the last few kilometers to Cortina however, I elected to ride up to Passo Giau via SP638.  I'd ridden through this pass before on the way out towards Switzerland but the day had been hazy and no really good opportunities for pictures of the mountains near Cortina.  Today, I would get decent shots:

Backtracking on SP638, I approached Cortina d'Ampezzo and stopped an an overlook which showed the town quite nicely:

You can see the approaching rain from the south

The rain would compliment what had been a much cooler day of riding than yesterday.  Not to mention that there were a lot less motorcycles on the road darting about the cager traffic!  I made it to the hotel before the rain really started, and it wasn't really that much rain.

View from my hotel balcony, to the west in what would
turn out to be a pretty sad sunset.

I found the hotel I'd booked last night with no major issues now that my internet access via smartphone has been restored.  The process wasn't as complicated as I understood it to be, the nice lady at the Tabaccheria straightened things out in Bolzano this morning.

iphone6 pic on the way to dinner tonight


Gary France said...

Dom, you are showing people why The Dolomites are my favourite part of the Alps. Stop it now before too many other people realise what they have been missing and decide to come - just think of the additional traffic you are helping to create in the future! Seriously though, yet more cracking good pictures from the eyes and camera of my friend Dom. Isn't it wonderful!?!?!?

RichardM said...

Too late, Gary. The message is already out...

Martha said...

Um, Mr. France, I do believe these adventures are based on your professional insight and blame should be spread out a bit. Giggle giggle...

Glad it was a little cooler day for you!
URALs don't do well in the heat, do they?

RichardM said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos. Are the mountains are even more spectacular than the Rockies?

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Gary but all six of my faithful readers, including you, are not going to add to the crowded conditions on the weekend.... :) Thanks for commenting and the kind words.

RichardM, I would say they're just as gorgeous, its just that the Alps are so closely packed together and viewable from roadside whereas all the fourteeners in the Rockies are not so visible by motor vehicle. Besides, the CO mountains are taller! ;) You'll just have to come over, rent a rig, and ride them for yourself....

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

RichardM is going to have to have a passenger, though, or we rent a car. I love mountains. Those pictures are stunning! Can I copy and frame one? I would even love a puzzle of one.

ToadMama said...

Ah, how I LOVE that area. That's where I want to live. Thanks for all the lovely pics. We spent a few days in that area back in 2012. I'm ready to go back. In fact, I didn't want to leave. 😄

redlegsrides said...

Bridget, but of course you can use a picture or six....feel free! If you want the original let me know which one(s).

Kathy K. It's really a nice part of Italy. Thanks for commenting.

Andy & Laura said...

Spectacular Dom! What an amazingly beautiful area of the world. Thank you for sharing all these gorgeous views with us.

SonjaM said...

What a beautiful scenery, and only 500km distance from where I live...

redlegsrides said...

Thanks, Laura and Andy, the views make pics easy.

redlegsrides said...

Wow, was reviewing this posting, realized I never answered you SonjaM...sorry about that. Thanks and hopefully you and Roland will have a chance to cruise the Dolomittes!