Paso Di Falzarego and Paso Di Tornale, Italy Week 30 12th - 13th November 2011
Next morning we woke early (as one does when one goes to sleep early).

Sunrise on the mountains at 07:00 sharp!

We were parked just outside the line of trees.

A thick coating of ice on the windscreen.

Good news is that heater worked and water wasn't frozen.

Couldn't get enough of the early morning sun on the white dolomite.
After a little while we got normal daylight.

But a cloudless day in the mountains really is priceless.

We left Cortina headed towards Paso Di Falzarego.

Italy is a north south sort of country.

I guess it stems from the river flows from the mountains to the sea, then the roads followed the rivers before bridge engineering developed.

Traveling east west is not the natural way.

Add to that we are staying close to the mountains, rather than on to the industrialised plain on which sits Milan, and we had an interesting time deciding on the route let alone navigating.

The cable car is parked.

Just another of the facilities which were closed.

We thought we'd try some special effects with the camera.

Keep it out in the cold for too long and there's a bit of condensation round the edges of the lens.

Our hands were a little cold also!

From the car park at Paso Di Falzarego.

The cable car was closed.

We passed this way in 1997 with Jennifer and Rachael. The cable car was open then and we had a memorable day riding up and walking down.

The things we make our kids do!

A chair lift also runs from the car park.
More of the special effects!
And just to be fair - that reminds me, must have a hair cut!
The dark blob on the skyline is the top of the cable car.
Not quite on top of the world.
Location, location, location.

As well as all the activity from Roman times onwards there was quite a lot of WWI fought in this area.

The Via Ferago (think that's right) is a track which follows some of the way the Italian troops moved around the mountains. Reminiscent of the Chinese plank roads.

At least one church in every village.
Intrigued by this vehicle.

It looked like a modern version of a Haflinger / Pinzgauer. A central tube with all the driving gear hung off it.

We couldn't see a brand name.

There were 33 tornante on the way up to Paso Pordoi. This is near tornante 30.
The chair lift was closed.
The car park was snow covered.

The restaurants were all closed.

There was a monument to cycling on the pass.

In particular to Fausto Coppi ("Il Camionissimo".

We are fairly certain we wouldn't enjoy trying to cycle up the pass.

But having driven up we could drink in the views.
Wall to wall mountains.

And a bit of religion thrown in.

On the way down we stopped for lunch.
We were tempted to stay overnight but carried on.
The village on the way down from the pass was closed.

Most campsites are closed from around mid October to January. Between the summer hiking season and winter ski season.

The weather we are enjoying is unusual.

The trees are pine.

Something not quite right as we thought they were evergreen.

Couldn't decide if this solar array was short a few panels because the owner ran out of money or there was too much shade from next door.

There's around 100 panels. Not sure what size but that's probably more than 8kW (lots).

We hadn't realised Italy would be closed. Nor had we realised how difficult it would be to find a roadside camping spot.

It was getting dark as we headed up another pass.

We stopped in the car park at Paso Di Tornale.

In the dark we'd noticed a couple of motorhomes already there so simply joined them.

We heard a few others arrive after us.

About 07:30 the car park started filling with skiers.

Obviously what Italians do on a Sunday! The motorhomers were also there for the skiing. But we did learn that motorhomes staying overnight in ski field car parks is acceptable, at least at this time of year.

We went for a walk round and watched the sun rise on the mountains.
We didn't join the queue for the ski lift.

We've both tried skiing in our younger years. I enjoyed it for a while but its not something I went out of my way for.

Paso Di Tornale was the only field we passed that was open.

We'd wondered what the machine noise we could hear all night was.

Some of it was a tractor grooming the snow. The sort of whistling noise was a snow making machine.

What a strange thing to do to a peaceful mountain.

We headed through the Val d'Aosta.
And caught a glimpse of Lake Como between tunnels.

The lake runs more or less north south.

We wanted to go west!

We can tell the gps which places we want to go via but not which roads we want to take. Although it does at least allow us to say "no toll roads".

Lecco is towards the southern end of Lake Como, near the outlet.

Our gps is annoying in that it tends to take us through the middle of towns rather than the easier to traverse by-pass.

This time it was nice to drive along the waterfront.

Lecco of course has a bridge which meant we could carry on westwards.

An Italian Air Force trainer.

It seems that putting old air force aircraft on posts for display is fashionable in more than one country.

This was 3.5m wide according to the sign.

Our truck is 2.1m wide, plus the width of the mirrors.

Apart from overtaking the hard part from a right hand drive vehicle in a left hand drive country is seeing what's coming round the right hand corners.

Getting through some of the small towns and villages and across the rivers was interesting. Despite the gps at one time we were not sure where we were or where we were headed.

We stopped to ask in one village. For a few moments we were simply lost for words. What question to ask? How to start? So with silly grin and a hint of embarrassment I climbed out of the cab with map in hand.

After much discussion among the four people the directions were brilliant. 

We continue to be baffled as to why people feel they have to apologise to us for their poor English. We figured we were the problem not understanding the local language, the people or the country.

Haven't described it well, and impossible to photograph, but it was another of those delightful encounters with total strangers that we've had.

We ran out of camping ideas as it got darker.

A night in a truck stop next to the Autostrada.

Surprisingly peaceful and a good night's sleep. Just like Asia really.

Italy to France and Lac Blanc, Chamonix, France Week 31 14th - 15th November 2011

Raewyn Fri, 25 Nov 11 22:06:16 +1100
What fantastic views you've had!! Love the sunrise at the top of this page :), and am so glad the weather seems to have been in your favour most of the time.

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