06.06.2015 - 06.06.2015
Our room includes breakfast which is continental and buffet style. The passengers from the tour bus were at breakfast – so it was quite a crowd. But we were well fed and after breakfast, Andrew suggested we go for our first walk at Passo Pordoi. This involved quite a drive (about 1 hour) on windy roads and because it was Saturday there were even more motor cyclists on the road. There were also a lot of cyclists. They all looked very lean and fit as the hills in the area are significant. I calculated that one very long hill involved a climb of 800 meters. With buses, cars (a lot of pricy sports cars), motor bikes and cyclists it required a lot of concentration for driving – Andrew drove again and Bill navigated.
We got to Passo Pordoi which is a collection of hotels, restaurants etc. There was a big collection of motor cyclists who had stopped at this point and have a break and exchange war stories about their driving adventures. We commenced our walk at about 10.00am. We climbed up an easy slope through grassland and got to the top of the rise. On the way we passed a little chapel perched on a little knoll – I wondered if it gets used much. At the crest we looked down a very deep valley with a little village at the bottom. The other side rose up steeply (in places almost vertically) to a mountain range – the tops still covered in snow. The view was quite stunning. We walked unto a little rocky knoll to get some photos – the drop on the other side of the knoll was almost sheer. The path then continued along the side of a steep grassy hill which went down to pine forest and then fell down to the valley. We were now at 2,500 meters. The grass on the side of the mountain was beautiful – it was tufty and very soft. Because there were no trees the view was unobstructed. It was a delightful mountain path cut into the side of the mountain. You looked up and the grass went up to a craggy top and then you looked down to the valley and at the mountains on the other side. To add to the scenery the grass was sprinkled with wild flowers. We just had our shirts on and whilst it was cool we did not feel cold – it was great walking weather. This was a walk Hope would have loved. We walked for quite a distance and then returned.
On the way we came across a snow drift. Bill had the idea of burying his water bottle in the snow and picking it up on the way back – so that he would have a cold drink. When we picked he retrieved the bottle on the way back he was disappointed that the water was not as cold as he thought it would be.
We got back at about 1.00pm and started our drive back. It started to rain just after we started our journey back. This did slow down most of the motor cyclists – but some kept to the same speed as before.
When we got back it had ceased raining so we walked to a little restaurant just down the road from our hotel. We had a spaghetti meal (as there were only two options – both spaghetti – so it wasn’t hard to make up our minds). The waitress was very pleasant and a very hard worker. The Italians try to speak English if they can – which is a nice feature about them.
We no sooner got back to our hotel and it started to rain heavily. The thing is about a place like London or Rome, is that even if it is raining, there is a still lot of places to go. However at a place like Pocol there is nothing else to do when it is raining. I went and sat in the lounge and engaged with the Bernese Mountain dog – he wandered in and out and checked out every one. A number of motor cyclists had come in to get out of the rain and also to have some refreshments, so the place was busy. They were all talking - but either in Italian or German or whatever.
Later in the afternoon we went into Cortina – about 5 kilometres of winding road. There is a vantage point on the way, which overlooks Cortina, and gives a great view. The town is in a valley surrounded by steep rocky mountains. Andrew and Bill wanted to shop in the Cortina “Harrods”. It is a poor imitation of Harrods – but suitable for a small town like Cortina. While Andrew and Bill shopped I had a coffee (Americano) and tart in the very friendly restaurant we used yesterday. There is a very friendly atmosphere in Italian restaurants.
We then had dinner in a very nice restaurant – we all had pizza.
It was a most enjoyable day.