Week 3: Colfosco

 

For our third, and last, week of our Italian adventure we travelled to the Dolomites. This was the first time that Julie had been to this part of the Alps, and it was to be quite an experience. We took the train from Lucca to Florence, and then the intercity train from Florence to Venice. From Venice railway station we took the bus to Marco Polo airport where we hired a car and drove to Colfosco. It was a long and tiring day, and we were very glad to finally reach our accommodation Garni Delta.

 

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Garni Delta: a family run B&B. Alfreider and his family speak excellent English, and the accommodation was a very good 3-star. Julie and I greatly enjoyed our stay!

 

 

Day 15, 27 June: We saved the best until first!

 

We decided that we would have a gentle day: a stroll around Colfosco and a gentle walk following one of the indicated trails from Colfosco center. The walk turned into a real classic: to be recommended for sheer spectacle and great mountain walking!

 

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The walk started a little cloudy. This is track number 4 directly from the village center.

 

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The track continues up to the pass Forcide Ciampei Somafurcia, in the center of this image.

 

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From the pass track 2 is joined by track 4.

 

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Tracks 2 and 4 (and now joined by track 15) take you directly to the mountain refuge Utia Puez.

 

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You get great views down to Val Gardena

 

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And, of course, how civilised is this: miles away from anywhere, and you can get a beer.

 

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Partially retracing your steps along tracks 2, 4 and 15 to where track 15 takes you to new ground.

 

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A little further and track 15 splits, and we take track 5.

 

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Track 5 brings you to Val de Juel, a stupendous, shear, mountain environment!

 

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Track 5 takes you over steep ground to the pass Forc di Sassongher.

 

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At the pass the ground becomes even more amazing!

 

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The path takes you past enormous walls of limestone. Can you spot Julie?

 

It was an incredible first day in the Dolomites. What did the rest of the week have in store?

 

 

Day 16, 28 June: A day of big mountain views, flowers and lakes.

 

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We took the cable car up onto a plateau within the Sella group of mountains

 

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Navigation was not going to be difficult: the route was well marked, and was to be a very gentle day!

 

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As with everywhere in the Dolomites, we were walking in spectacular scenery

 

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The trails were well marked and easy to follow

 

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Wild flowers were everywhere!

 

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Spectacular and beautiful

 

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Julie and, in the background, the Marmolada

 

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Lech de Boa

 

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Julie under starter's orders

 

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Gorgeous views in every direction: here looking down to Corvara

 

 

Day 17, 29 June: The Big Race

 

 

When we arrived at Colfosco we were told of the big cycle race, The Sella Ronda, with 10000 competitors doing 100 miles over six mountain-passes!

 

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By the time the riders were passing through Colfosco they were well spread out!

 

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As the roads were closed for the race we set off on route 651 directly from the hotel

 

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The route takes you into Val de Mesdi, and more spectacular scenery!

 

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Higher and higher via route 676.

 

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And on to the Pisciadu waterfall via route 29b

 

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And on towards route 666a

 

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Looking towards Sas Ciampac

 

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Beautiful flowers everywhere

 

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Through fields filled with colour on our way back to the hotel

 

 

Day 18, 30 June: 1km inside a mountain!

 

This was a most memorable walk. During World War 1 Italy was at war with Austria in the Dolomites. Part of the campaign was to remove Austrian forces from the summit of Lagazuoi Piccolo, where a stalemate had lasted for many months. Italian forces dug through the mountain to lay a landmine consisting of 36 tonnes of dynamite directly beneath the Austrian stronghold. The resulting explosion removed the top of the mountain but not before the Austrians, having seen and heard the excavation, retreated from the summit!

 

 

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Some of the lower levels of rubble brought down by the explosion.

 

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Ascending to the Martini Ledge.

 

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Through the first, short, section of the tunnel.

 

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The other side of the tunnel is the Martini Ledge

 

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It is difficult to imagine how the Italians survived the ledge!

 

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The start of the tunnel proper: 1100m through rock sometimes inclined at 45 plus degrees!

 

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At times the going is quite tricky

 

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Eventually you emerge from the tunnel network back into sunshine

 

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The Austrian trenches near the old summit

 

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The trenches were abandoned well in advance of the landmine detonation

 

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The section of the mountain that was removed by the explosion of 36 tonnes of dynamite: where Julie is standing was once inside the mountain!

 

 

Day 19, 1 July: The Settsass Circuit

 

Our first, and only, drenching of the entire holiday was during the latter part of this walk.

 

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We started the walk with a great view of marmot cubs

 

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Our summit for the day: Settsass

 

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On route for the top: the weather is still great, but dark clouds are forming

 

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We didn't stay long on the top: dark clouds and thunder were heading our way

 

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We did stay long enough, however, to sign the visitors book!

 

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We made our way off the summit, and this is the last photo taken before the heavens opened!

 

 

Day 20, 2 July: Last day of our holiday

 

For our last day we decided to walk in the Sas Ciampac group of mountains. A view of these mountains can be seen in a photo from day 17, above. A very attractive group of hills that had the advantage of a cable car from our village to the start of the climb!

 

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Looking towards the Sella Group from the cable car.

 

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The pass of Gardena

 

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The complete Sella Group from the Sas Ciampac ridge.

 

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As with every day we had spent in the Dolomites, the views were just breathtaking!

 

Unfortunately, for our last day, we had more afternoon rain. Just after this photo was taken the first of many thunderclaps were heard. Luckily we were able to shelter whenever the rains passed through, and all in all we had a grand last day of a great holiday in the Dolomites!

 

 

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