Continuation of our Alpine Odyssey 🙂
Day 4, Tuesday, San Daniele Del Friuli – Pieve di Cadore
In the morning, politely, like a group of “preschoolers”, we stamp for breakfast. Preschoolers would be happy. I think five types of cake, “plastic” jams, luscious cereals. Fortunately, there is some cold meat, some cheese and a good selection of bread. Definitely the weakest breakfast away. We take the road for a bottle of water and “fire”.
First we go to Passo di Monte Croce on the Italian-Austrian border. There is a museum on the pass where commemorated the victims of fighting during World War I. We leave for Austria and return, thanks to which we cover the route twice.
The “Austrian” part is simpler. A fast road leads through the woods to Kötschach-Mauthen. The Italian episode is much more interesting and also more demanding. Long straight and tight turns give a lot of fun. The road is narrow in places, trucks run, and some corners are in tunnels. You really need to be vigilant at the highest level.
For another moment we enjoy the warmth and sun. As soon as we turn off in Sutrio from the SS52 road on SP123 it starts to rain. We’re going to Sella Monte Zoncolan. A beautiful, winding road runs through the woods. It is narrow, but the traffic is negligible. We pass maybe 2-3 cars.
Wet asphalt is covered in places with some “dirt” falling from the trees, so we slowly roll up the hill. At this speed, we can almost read the plaques commemorating the cyclists who here, during the Giro d’Italia, fight for sports trophies.
Via Villa Santina we go to Ampezzo and head towards Sella di Rioda. The sun is shining again, and fast turns among the trees and views of the mountain peaks, enjoy double. When we fall out of the 300-meter tunnel, we see the captivating mountain lagoon Lago di Sauris.
Turquoise water on one side is closed by a high dam, and on the opposite top of the mountains. An ideal place for a few photos. It is empty, quiet and peaceful.
Continue on the SP73 road towards Sella di Ronda. Ah, this weather, it is raining again and we only stand for a souvenir photo and then without stops we go to the Pieve di Cadore for the night.
On the spot, at “B&B Vicolo15” a kind lady awaits us, who first shows us the place for motorbikes, and then the rooms, kitchen, dining room and terrace. Traditional, newly renovated house, with interiors in a modern style.
We want to eat something in the city, but we don’t reach the restaurant because we come across a mini market (Via Ferdinando Coletti, 21), which has everything we need. A small family store, where we fall into the vortex of shopping. The owner speaks English, so the language barrier disappears. We can try virtually any cheese and sausages in the store.
Among other things, regional Dobiacco cheese, from the province of the same name (thick slices can be fried or grilled), Pecorino from sheep’s milk, perfect for a cheese board or as an addition to casseroles, or risotto, creamy gorgonzola prelibato, or spicy Piave Mezzano from the province Belluno.
We also buy prosciutto crudo and speck, a South Tyrolean regional ham that is smoked first and only matured later. Deer like donkeys, we leave the store. We have so much delicious that we don’t know where to start. Such self-catering, I understand 🙂
Day 5, Wednesday, Pieve di Cadore – Vigo di Fassa
Another morning. The whole dining room for us. Our hostess prepared breakfast and collected coffee orders. There are scrambled eggs, homemade preserves, a great mortadella, cheese, bread and homemade strudel and biscuits. Everything tasty and fresh.
We finish our coffee on the terrace. Cool place, definitely worth staying here. As provisions, we take the remains from dinner and gather for the road. It is warm and the sun is shining … yet.
Today we want to drive up to “Three Teeth” (Tre Cime). The weather is starting to break, it is raining harder. We arrive at the entrance to the scenic route. We already want to pay for entry, but the lady in the window advises against – the mountains are covered with clouds. We retreat and stop at Lago di Misurina.
It would be beautiful if it wasn’t raining. We can only admire the snow-covered three-thousanders of the Dolomites in the distance. There is nothing else for us to do but head towards Passo di Giau. We pass Cortina d´Ampezzo and somewhere on a mountain serpentine we stop for lunch. I’ve never enjoyed dried ham and Parmesan cheese like that.
In the distance we admire Lastoni di Formin and Ponta dei Lastoi. From this distance they look like sand castles on the Giants’ beach. On Passo di Giau, full of motorcycles from all over Europe. There is no wonder, because they are surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains from everywhere.
And this is not the end of the day. We drive through picturesque serpentine at Passo Fedaia, where we eat strudel at a roadside inn. Probably the fifth on this trip and so far the best. The cake is thin and crispy, and the apples are aromatic and tasty, here and there mixed with raisins. We rest in the rays of the sun, which will not leave us until the end of the day.
The most interesting part of today’s route is ahead of us. Traversing several passes and passages, we will circle the SELLA massifs. It’s only about 50 km, but for this route it is worth booking at least 2 hours because of the numerous turns and for wonderful, breathtaking views.
We start from the west. We first see the Torri del Sella massif. We head north towards Passo Sella, where we stop for a moment to admire the Grohmann peak (3181 m), Cinque Dita (five fingers) and Sassolungo.
Let’s move on. Smooth asphalt passes under the wheels, and on the right we admire numerous small waterfalls splashing early thaws. In a moment we reach Passo Gardena, where we are taking more photos.
We overcome next turns and in Corvara turn right onto Passo Di Campologno, which we enter on a fairly easy route. The last point of today’s trip is Passo Pordoi.
We made our motorcycle “Sella Ronda” and saturated with mountain serpentine and the view of the peaks bathed in sunshine, we go to Vigo di Fassa, where rooms in “Locanda Pensione Maria” await us.
In the parking lot, behind a quite large guest house, we leave motorbikes and take up rooms. The bathroom is a bit frightening with the outdated finish, but everything is functional. We unravel the motorbikes, throw “lumber” in our rooms and go to the dining room. Unfortunately, English does not work here, and my German strongly “rusted”. The hostess stops explaining and leads us to the kitchen to show the “live” menu. We do not decide on dumplings with greaves.
We choose a roulade made of minced meat, wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese, with the addition of potato purée. The dish is not fancy, but very tasty and filling. In addition, a selection of vegetables and salads on a shared table. Dinner tastes great. We also get dessert – crème brulee. I do not like him because until now it has been a sweet pudding cream with a thick layer of caramel. Today was different. Chilled cream with a light texture, mild taste, palpable vanilla and fresh cream, not exaggerated sweetness, some crunchy caramelized sugar and a delicious homemade sponge cake. The perfect end to the day.
Day 6, Thursday, Vigo di Fassa – Monguelfo
After a tasty and filling breakfast, we set off on a road that, in the rays of the sun, gently turns, leads through the woods. On the right we pass Roda di Vael (2806 m.a.s.l.) and immediately overcome the Niger Pass. We leave the mountains for a moment to reach Merano, where we make a coffee and sweets break. We also do shopping in the “sausage and cheese cave.”
There is no way to describe the smells and aromas that filled the store. It’s really hard to decide, because there are pork, venison (deer, roe deer, wild boar) meats, maturing beef and a huge selection of cheeses. I chose wild boar and deer salami, as well as spicy and mild, maturing pork salami.
We look at the sky and put on raincoats. We go to Timmelsjoch (2509 m a.s.l.), and we are accompanied by rain and sun. The pass no longer rains and we admire the views and the “New Pass Museum”, which looks like a giant boulder. It’s amazing how much snow can still lie at this height in mid-June. At the turn we pass snow drifts at least 2-3 meters high.
On the left we pass ‘Smugglers’ – a specific ‘monument’ set up on the road from Zwieselstein to Moos im Passeier, reminding of the smuggling ‘traditions’ of this place, where smugglers carried illegal goods when crossing a dangerous trail and often hiding from customs officers. We arrive at “Top Mountain Crosspoint” in Hochrurgl. What we saw there, watch here .
We leave from Timmelsjoch. The traffic is light, but it’s raining again and it’s hard to enjoy the road. In the rain we pass Passo Giovo (Jaufenpass). We use the rain break for stopping and shopping. The saleswoman in the shop realizes that ‘some nonresident’ so she gives us a few delicious cold meats and salami that we gladly buy. We are surprised by such nice service in the “chain”. We stock up on various salami, gorgonzola cheese, which has such a creamy consistency that the saleswoman must put it in the box with a spoon. The turbo of the salivary glands turns on from looking at these delicacies. Equipped, for dinner (avoiding the highway) we go to the hotel ‘Hell’.
Check-in makes it easier to communicate in English, which is not the norm in this area. Our rooms are spacious, so we easily organize a meal and savor the taste of purchased specialties and recal the past day.
Day 7, Friday, Monguelfo – Prague (Czeck)
The morning greets us with beautiful weather. Probably for a consolation, because our ‘alpine holiday’ ends. We descend to the large dining room. The choice is large, nobody will go hungry. We get on the packed motorbikes and leave the Alps with a tear in our eyes. Today it will be “bored”, but I am looking forward to an evening in Prague, because I really like this city. Just after 19:00 we are at the ATTIC hotel. We easily get along in English with a cheerful young receptionist. We leave things in small rooms. We go to the subway, where we buy tickets in the machine and go to the centre. We pass Vaclavske Namesti, reach the Charles Bridge, walk a little around the small streets and finally sit down in the garden in front of the ‘Cafe Bar MODRA RUZE’ (BLUE ROSE), where we order the ‘Modra Ruze’ goulash with Karlovy ‘dumpling’.
The appearance of the dish does not impress, but just not the appearance here was important. Tender and juicy meat, tasty and soft dumpling, and aromatic sauce. A really good dinner for 250 crowns. The day is ending, so we drop in for a small glass of white Moravian wine to the nearby ‘Bohemia’ restaurant on the corner of Husova and Karlova and return to the hotel. Tomorrow we have over 600 km, so you have to sleep well. Next night in your own bed.
Saturday is the last day and basically the end of our journey.
What was important to me when organizing the trip.
The route led only on asphalt roads, because each of us has a different machine. For a few nice views, it is better not to risk an accident in the middle of nowhere, out of beaten roads.
When deciding about the stopping place and accommodation, I considered the possibility of accommodation in single rooms. I believe that this solution gave us the opportunity to rest and feel at ease. After a busy day on the motorcycle, we wanted to avoid listening to your snoring, grunting, etc. Choosing accommodation, I also suggested the ease of travel and quiet of the place.
Food is an important thing. Another criterion for choosing accommodation was the option of breakfast on site. Due to the specificity of the Alpine region, so-called continental breakfasts, i.e. croissants, jams and coffee, are quite common. Once you can, but not the whole week. Before going to the mountains, you need to gain strength and energy. And the best is a decent, filling breakfast. In fact, we left fed up from every place after breakfast. The sets were different in varoius configurations, but there was never a lack of local meats and cheeses, coffee, tea or cakes.
You will find something suitable for you without too much trouble. Accommodation with a decent breakfast (which we thought about) can be found in the price from 50€ / person.
For me, the pleasure of traveling, being on the road, saturating my eyes with landscapes and the possibility of a relaxing ride was important. That’s why I based the daily travel limit not on distance but on the time we spend every day on motorcycles. There was supposed to be time for taking pictures, meals, coffee (in beautiful natural circumstances) and other urgent needs. I added two hours to all daily attractions “near the road” to each daily route. Next time I will add a day off.
As you know, the weather in the mountains is variable. There was rain and heat. We were forced to dress and undress our rains in three to four times a day or ride from morning to evening in the heat pouring from the sky. Be ready for any weather. Properly prepared you can get anywhere.
Well, at the end I just add that I wanted to write “Fatal roads, poor views, nasty food” to discourage you from leaving and have the Alps more for myself, but I couldn’t. And I hope that my report encouraged you to plan your next trip in that direction. We saw a lot of interesting and beautiful places, which I wish you when you go to the Alps.
And finally the list. Crossed passes and interesting roads:
Wurzenpass (Austria / Slovenia),
Route 206 (from Kranjska Gora to Trenta, Slovenia),
Route 902, driveway to Mangart (Slovenia),
Road SP76 (from Lago di Predeli to Chiusaforte, Italy),
Passo di Monte Croce / Kreuzberg Pass (Italy / Austria),
Monte Zoncolan (Italy),
Sella di Rioda (Italy),
Sella di Ronda (Italy),
Passo di Giau (Italy),
Passo Fedaia (Italy),
Passo Sella (Italy),
Passo Gardena (Italy),
Passo Di Campolongo (Italy),
Passo Pordoi (Italy),
Passo Nigra / Nigerpass (Italy),
Passo Rombo / Timmelsjoch (Italy / Austria),
Passo Giovo / Jaufenpass (Italy)