It just gets better.
After yesterday, I didn’t think it could get better, and I was slightly tempted to have a wee day off. Thanks to yesterday’s epic adventure, I wasn’t going to hang around sun bathing when I could have the same / similar experience that we had yesterday.
There’s no doubt about it, I just love Italy and that’s only from the last couple of days. The Dolomites are stunning. Drop dead gorgeous. If you pay too much time admiring the scenery though, you’re in danger of falling off the roads. (One of the German group that’s staying in the same hotel, did exactly that.)
The start of the journey was very, very slow. There was a cycle race starting locally and the villages were heaving. All respect to those men (and women) who are fit enough to ride up those passes on their bikes. Personally, I’ll stick to an engine.
Eventually, we lost the traffic, to be honest, we thought that we’d made a route planning mistake. Very soon, we appreciated the choice of route map that had won the debate last night after dinner.
The most interestingly BONKERS pass, by far, winning hands down, was the Passo Manghen. I have always avoided riding up Rory’s driveway in Cambusbarron, simply because I would be scared to drop the bike. Today, there were numerous switch-backs that resembled it. It was crazy. If anyone was coming down at the same time on one of the serious hairpin bends, you would wonder who was going to stop. Had Ed been on the Harley, he would have been paddling. Two summers ago, I couldn’t have done them. It was pretty much a single track road. There aren’t any photos, there was literally nowhere to stop!
A much needed coffee at the summit. Now that I think of it, we didn’t do lunch, too busy enjoying ourselves. I did have a look for our emergency bar of Milka. Couldn’t see it. I obviously had a ‘Fi look’. I found it when we got back to the hotel. DOH!
On our way to the Passo Rolle, I had my flip top open on my helmet. If anyone witnessed me riding through S. Martino di Castrozza, looking like I was picking my nose, it’s because I was (sorry). A bug had splattered on my sun visor and it’s innards ended up my nose. It wasn’t pretty. I must apologise also, to any people who witnessed me howking a rather large beastie from my cleavage. It was green, about an inch long (not a boggy) and was having a bit of a flap. Thankfully it wasn’t a stinger, unlike the wasp earlier. Shit, I had half the insects in Italy down my front. That’s what happens when you don’t wear a snood and unzip the top of your jacket. Because it’s a rather pleasant 24°.
The approach and descent on the Passo Rolle were fabulous. The Passo di Valles equally gorgeous. The only criticism of Italian roads is the condition of them. Some parts were truly shocking.
We were both astounded just how quiet we got the roads. For once I wasn’t being overwhelmed by bikers overtaking me and taking corners at silly speeds. As it transpires, ‘top-Rory-tips’, following last night’s blog, set me up nicely and I made good progress today, with a massive, huge, mega grin on my face. I was going to take the day off!? Really?
Here’s the top tips:
“If you find your vision coming ‘down’ you are going too fast for your confidence level at that time.
Slow, relax your body and your eyes, regain that ‘big vision’ feeling, re-engage and be faster than before.”
There were a few moments where riders felt that they were entitled to my side of the road too. A Pan rider I was bawling at, in good old Scottish fashion, along the lines of ,”Get tae….” Not that he would have heard me, nor understood. Fanny. I only had one place to go, that was a cliff face. He was off siding AND overtaking another bike; bigger fanny. Thankfully I had left my panniers and top box at the hotel; Smoggy was having a free, naked day. Just as well, by all accounts.
So, a day on the bike, followed by some wine, a chill and a swim before dinner. Did I say there was a pool? It’s a lovely place, I have already said I want to come back. I don’t care what the credit card says. Ok. I might. But, excellent facilities, great people and even an Irishman from Limerick who sat next to us tonight. WTF did he say? What chance did the staff have? A farmer, of the chicken variety; off on a week’s stint on his bike. The rest? I needed a translator.
Sadly, weather isn’t on our side. The next three days are not conducive to riding mountain passes. Rain (lots) with random thunder and lightning for good measure. We’re hot-footing it out of here and I have to say I’m well and truly gutted. So is Ed by all accounts. The Black Forest it is. Hopefully, without the gateaux. Don’t do cherries. Oh, I used to have one; I still have the box it came in.
Thanks Italy and the Dolomites, I really look forward to coming back. Soon.