It's time to welcome our new friends from Canada, United States and Brazil to the Alps for a touring center among the Dolomites. For many this is the "mecca" for motorcycling, hiking, bycicling and skiing.
We will limit ourself to the first activity and from time to time a bit of moderate hiking to reach the best photo stops or a specific sight.
Tomorrow we will start with a loop over Passo Mendola and Passo Palade.
The weather won't play nice with us today but we don't care. A bit of rain and heavy cluods won't stop us from having fun up on the sweepers and switchbacks of Passo Mendola - the local "mountain race track" - and the s-curves of Passo Palade.
In between we visit an incredible monastery, the Erefo of San Romedio: this sactuary consists of several chapels built on top of each other on a cliff surrounded by a steep gorge. Any description of photo can't do justice to this extraordinary architectonical wonder that carries 1000 years of history.
In the afternoon we pass through some idyllic South Tyrolean villages, such as Prissiano, where we stop by the famous Katzenzungen (literally "cat tongues") castle.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's adventure. Hint: it will be a grand ride!
Today it's the big day: the sun is shining and we are ready to cross the Dolomites "coast to coast", or better "side to side". After leaving Collalbo along a narrow stripe of aspahlt surrounded by green pastures and chilled cows, we enter Gardena Valley, one of the main "doors" to the realm of the Dolomites.
Not three, not four passes are on today's menu, but seven. Actually eight if we count Passo Tre Croci twice, as we ride it both ways in order to reach the Lake of Misurina.
In order we have: Passo Gardena, Passo Valparola, Passo Falzarego, Passo Tre croci, Passo Giau, Passo Fedaia and finally Passo Costalunga. What a ride!
Let's have a look at some pics, although no photo can properly express the magnitude of this mountain range.
After so much mountain beauty from yesterday, today we head south to discover another incredible place: Lake Garda! This lake is as charming as it can get. Imagine the gentle breeze pushing the windsurfs on the glimmering water, the deep green of olive trees, tall cypresses interspersed with elegant palms and proud olive trees. Sprinkle the gardens with colorful flowers and the streets of the villages with cobble stones flanked by historical buildings. Bella Italia!
Nine more passes are waiting for us today. This time we will go towards the Dolomiti Bellunesi, the best kept secret of the entire Dolomites area. First we enter once again the Gardena valley, climbing this time the passes on the southern side of the Sella Group: Passo Sella and then Passo Pordoi.
We enter then a remote and lesser-known area, bringing us through passes like Forcella Straulanza, Passo Duran, Forcelle Aurine and Passo Cereda: six passes and we haven't had lunch yet!
The adventure continues inside the gorgeous Val Canali in the Parco Naturale Paneveggio Pale di San Martino (yes, long name for equally long mountain peaks). After resting (and eating) we ride over Passo Rolle, Alpe di Pampeago and Passo di Lavazè. What a ride!
And you think it's finished like that? Nope... we have one more cherry on our cake: instead of riding the busy Val d'Ega we reach Bolzano through a side valley for another 30 switchbacks!
And even when you think you have seen them all, the Dolomites are able to surprise you. After descending into the Val d'Isarco with our morning routine through our little mono-lane road flanked by cows and pastures, we enter another marvel of South Tyrol. The Val di Funes / Villnöss is truly a sedret gem. No big ski resorts here, no towns. Just the sound of nature surrounding our ride up to Passo Erbe - the perfect morning coffee stop.
A bit later we arrive in Val Badia and then we climb Passo Pordoi once again - but from the other side. Up there we take the cable car, that in 4 minutes take us to the panoramic terrace on Sass Pordoi at 2.950 m. Lunch with a view indeed.
The afternoon goes relaxed towards our hotel in Collalbo, with a last coffee break with a commanding position over Val Gardena.
Seeing the joy and the smiles of the group is a really rewarding experience for me as tour guide. Thank you so much for giving my the possibility to show you my homeland. You are welcome anytime!