Predil Pass, Slovenia and Cortina, Italy Week 30 10th - 11th November 2011
As we headed north west across Kras we saw some of the mountains that had been hidden by mist yesterday.

Once again, thanks for all the helpful comments and encouragement.

Until we re-entered the mist that is.
Not for long, fortunately.

We are headed into the Julian Alps.

We just had to visit them didn't we?

The Vrsic Pass in Trivlaski National Park was unfortunately closed in October.

I suspect they simply close it at the end of the season rather than when conditions dictate.

Either way we headed a bit further west through Log.

This was a lunch stop.

On reflection, even though the pass was closed, we perhaps should have taken a detour through Trente in the national park and gone for a walk.

Another of those "we can't do everything" conversations. And we are ever watchful of the weather which surely must turn bad some time soon.

Some of the surroundings for lunch.
And the river, complete with "no rafting" notices on the track down to it.

There must be some incredibly silly rafters to even think about it.

Looking more like Europe every day!

Its been a slow transition, but a stark contrast, from the obstacle course of piles of building materials, rubbish, animals, motorbikes, etc., on the roads of Asia to the kerbs, neatness and order of Europe.  

And of course the very different architecture as we approach the alps.
A glimpse of the dolomite to come.
The Predil Pass between Slovenia and Italy has been a major trade route since at least Roman times.

This fort was built by the Austrians in 1808 but burned by Napoleon's army the following year.

There is a memorial to the dead Austrian troops.

My school history was Europe between 1789 and 1870, of which I can recall very little of the detail. Enough though of the Hapsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian Empire which obviously must have extended this far.

Just to remind us that we are now in Italy and the speed limits are different.
And more like the classic dolomite mountain shape.

We saw small hints of dolomite in the limestone of China.

Here the whole mountain has been metamorphosed. A sort of stone forest on steroids.

We wondered what the gorges between the spikes must be like but didn't really have the time or any clue as to whether they were at all accessible. 

One of those "isn't nature wonderful" moments!

We stopped for the night just over the border in a convenient rest area.
Crystal clear water, but mist in the morning.
Memories of Chinese motorways.

Appearing out of a tunnel on one side of the valley and disappearing into one on the other side. With a bridge in between!

The toll charges are somewhat higher than China for shorter distances. A day on Slovenian motorways cost us A$60 through 5 toll gates. Italy is similar. Austria would have been even higher.

And the railway does the same.
We wondered about this odd looking little bit of engineering.

Finally realised it was a cycle track. A rail line sealed and converted for cycling.

What a great idea.

Headed towards Cortina.

The view from "just" another roadside stop.

Square box architecture in Italy.
With the more than occasional church and a few arches.

We tended to miss photographing the low overhanging balconies as they were associated with moments of quiet panic until the answer to "are we going to hit it" became clearer.

We crossed the Paso Di Mauria.

We began to realise that Italy really was closed.

One of the nice touches on Italian roads is the signs at each hairpin bend. And a sign at the beginning and end of each pass telling how many "tornante" there were.

For some silly reason it reminded me of a children's rhyme .... "one tornante, two tornante, three tornante, more ..................".

Back to the valley floor.

Not far to Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The dolomite is very light coloured and reflective.

Just a hint of sun to make the mountain stand out.

We camped in the only open camping ground about a km from the center of Cortina and walked.

We forgot about the long Italian lunches and found Cortina closed.

Too cold to hang about.

The water supply in the camping ground was limited to the ablutions and there surprisingly wasn't a water connection near the dump point.

Just as well we have our bucket system to fill up the tanks.

Paso Di Falzarego and Paso Di Tornale, Italy Week 30 12th - 13th November 2011

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