160-161: Hairy Hairpins?!

160 – Sunday 27th Sept 2015: How many Hairpins and Porsche???

Best laid intentions and all that …. we planned to get the bus up to Tre Cime and do a big walk, BUT both of us slept badly (it only takes one to sleep badly and inadvertently, the other does too!) and J really could not stray too far from the facilities ….   Today then became a Driving Day.  But what a drive!!!

We took the Dolomites Road through the Passo di Fassa and must have done 4 major passes with amazing views, such as:

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And the hair pins .. the major bends are numbered and one descent had 34, however they only number the extreme ones.  Our brakes were hot and stinky (not J, his problem had settled fortunately!)


Our journey was very slow by necessity.

Porsche – we reckon at least 40 passed us going in the opposite direction.  The dealers in Italy are onto a really good thing!   And in equal number – cyclist both going up and down … they must be able to crack walnuts with their thighs!

Managed just to capture cyclist, no chance of the Porches!

Managed just to capture cyclist, no chance of the Porches!

We noticed the scenery become more mellow as we moved West.  Canazei is a major ski resort and the mural painter must be fully employed:


We had planned to stay in a town called Bolzano, but the free parking was next to a train station and there seemed to be some ‘characters’ lurking.  We ended up on a really lovely free parking about 12 km out of Bolzano.  It meant we did not have a wander into the old town, but how many Duomos can one see and we plan to see Trento properly.

161 – Monday 28th Sept 2015:  Pyramids and Porsches

A run for us both and then Pilates for K (slowly getting better at it).  A housekeeping session with laundry and hoovering.  We took the scenic route again down to near Cembra  –  4 Porsches in under 15 mins, but a slow day for them as most of the drivers must be at work trying to pay for them!

We stopped at the Pirimidi di Segonzano.It was quite a steep climb up, but well worth seeing these remarkable natural phenomena.  The stones in the soil prevent normal erosion, but apparently earth quakes, a flood etc mean that there are many, many less than 100 years ago.

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Apples everywhere and being harvested.  Interestingly, the grapes are mostly not yet being harvested, but they were in Slovenia.  Roadside stalls selling apples and honey, so we had to stop and bag a bag of apples.  EUR4 for 6 kilos!  And they are delicious … nothing like the starchy soft fruit we get at home.  But we will be eating them for a long time (if we can keep them without going rotten), as J counted 48 apples!


159: Sheer Drop Dolomites

159:  Lake walk and Jeep ride up … to snow, views and wow factor

K ran around the lake; J just giving his calf another day to make sure no twinge.  Again, another lovely place to run.


Can’t beat running around a lake


We had decided last night to stay put for two nights to max the area … we had thought about driving back across Cortina to the 5 Torri, but a lack of sostas / parking that side of Cortina made it all seem a bit like hard work.  We were running short of wine; I know in Italy … Piss Poor Planning!!  So we started the day with a walk around the lake.  In reverse for K, so it seemed more unfamiliar!  Found a Spar with EXPENSIVE wine, so just bought one bottle.  J, ever polite, attempted 3 Buon Girno’s and each time the staff ignored him – in fact they were inattentive and rude.   After all the Slovinian charm we have experienced, J (really, normally is politeness itself) was move to say “Grazie nice people.”

Our two night parking.  Stars out again last night.

Our two night parking. Stars out again last night.


Homemade leek, potato and blue cheese soup and then we bought tickets for the Jeep ride up to Monte Piana.  It is an ex-military road and you can only get to the top by Jeep.  As we ascended it was very apparent why.  Narrow.  Tarmac falling away.  Hairpins.  Various gasps on the journey:  K awed as the scenery unfolded.  J as he shut eyes, clenched buttocks and hoped he did not drop a Dolomite!

20 minute walk to the 360 views of the mountains.  Simply stunning.  Then walk onto several crosses and memorials to the fallen Italian and Austrians on this front of WW1.  14,000 soldiers died up here:  some to the battles but a most due to a snow storm.  We saw many, many trenches in the rocks, gun emplacements and barbed wire … so much evidence of the war not in a clinical museum environment .  We walked along part of the Italian line and crossed the Austrian … so close.  Such a beautiful place and tinged with such woeful echoes.

Dad, this was another ‘pinch me moment’

Jeep ride back down, saw J sliding across the bench seat away from the sheer cliffs, much to the amusement of our driver and the Austrians we shared with.  K slightly flattered as she was told her German very good – seriously!!! (I think Europeans sadly are impressed when any UK person can speak another language) and the driver even tested her French, and then as we left, he said ‘Caoi Bella”.

BBQ and the Tre Cime BIG walk tomorrow.  Heating on … September only … but it is snowy!!!!


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157-158: Dolomites Discovered and SNOW!!!

157 – Thursday 24th Sept 2015:  Departing and Driving to the Dolomites

Our drinking buddies had mentioned the Dolomites and K remembered Nicky used to climb here and both she and Bron had described them as stunning.  It seemed a sensible route to travel through Italy and onto the Lakes.  It took a while to leave Slovenia … like it had some kind of hold on us.  We had all Chardonnay’s services to do, a big shop, including a bike seat cover as K’s punctured gel saddle kept sticking to her bum, diesel and the LPG took a while as well as the pump needed re-setting – patient garage attendant.

Eventually we crossed a border point on a small road:  tiny, one bend and we were through.  No questions about migrants / refugees here.  By this time Sally was showing 8.30 pm as arrival at Cortina, so we bit the financial bullet and paid £8.80 in motorway tolls.  Ian (drinking buddy) had said he thought the Cortina Sosta (motorhome parking) had shut so we stayed a a superb FREE one just south of Cortina, and arrived in time for drinks!  Managed to dry out the awning too from the previous day’s downpour.

Free sorta, with views and awning drying :)

Free sorta, with views and awning drying 🙂

158 – Friday 25th Sept 2015:  Cortina and Cable Car

Slowish start and delayed by the chat to a lovely Aussie couple, who had bought a 30 yr old van in Britain and were doing a year in Europe.  They were only 21 and 23 and so much more together than we ever where at anything near this age.

Arrived in Cortina and found somewhere to park; had to pay!  Cortina is very posh!  Saw a LOT of very expensive cars.

Not one Porsche but two!  Must have seen about a dozen.

Not one Porsche but two! Must have seen about a dozen.

Cortina is nestled in the middle of some of the most stunning mountain scenery.

Cortina is nestled in the middle of some of the most stunning mountain scenery.

Looking for the TIC and J enquired in one of the posh frocks shops and the lovely lady even rang to find out which office was open still at midday.  We passed lots more designer shops and yes, Bron, shoe shops, but managed to not dive inside!  Helpful TIC:  the lake we wanted to walk up to was shut due to snow, suggested another lake with a sosta, suggested a cable car and chair lift to get views and a walk … oops .. J allergic to chair lifts, so she suggested another mountain with only a cable car!

Pix can do the talking and it was hard to identify which ones to include in the blog. Passo Falzarego and the Lagazuoi Cable Car.


Chardonnay’s bottom and already snow and views.


Setting off in the cable car

Setting off in the cable car

Getting higher and J now in the centre of the cable car checking his show laces!

Getting higher and J now in the centre of the cable car checking his shoe laces!

Can you actually see the car park down there?

Can you actually see the car park down there?


Ireland cap 🙂

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