2017 Summer Adventure part 11, The Dolomites

As it turned out, Hotel Gianzianella in Sottoguda was a good spot for staying a couple of nights. For one thing, the prices outside Cortina d’Ampezzo are better, the Dolomites are close by. Then there there are the roads!

Outside the hotel Albergo Gianzinella in Sottoguda. Enjoyed the two spent there.

Outside the hotel Albergo Gianzianella in Sottoguda. Enjoyed the stay.

The Dolomites – when you’re at the doorstep

in the literal sense of the word. Right across from the hotel the road to Passo Fedaia begins. Further down in the valley other possibilities awaited.  During breakfast I considered the options. Quickly realized two days wouldn’t cut it for riding all of the passes. 

Then of course, when you ride these roads,  you have the directions. What seen in one, might be a vastly different experience when going the other.  This was going to prove very true on this day.

Made it up the first part of the ascent along the valley side, made a short stop to capture the valley below. 

Sottoguda, the valley where i stayed, in the South Tirol region of Belluno

Sottoguda, the valley where i stayed, in the South Tirol region of Belluno

Material for your bucket list?

I would say, material for anyone’s bucket list. This is an experience everyone should consider, for at least once in a life time. The Italian part of South Tirol, with its respective provinces,  offer mountainous nature of a totally different kind.  One you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

The Dolomites has its own unique geological properties which, together with nature’s forces, Tectonic movements, time, ages, and weather, has formed the spectacular mountains you find here. 

Into Mountainous Wonderland 

Anyhow, so there I was, one fine morning with half-decent weather. Heading up the SS641, with no signs (or imminent prospects) of rain showers. Slightly overcast which, temperature-wise, is an advantage when you’re a motorcycle rider. Especially if you’re a motorcycle rider who venture down into South Tirol in mid/late July.

Heading up and into the Dolomites, chuckling to myself all the way up.

Heading up and into the Dolomites, chuckling to myself all the way up. 

This stretch doesn’t have the sharpest of twists and turns. But, more than exciting enough and a nice way to warm up. The whole entry slowly built things up in an almost multi-dimensional cinematic way.

Further up the almost commanding power and presence of the Dolomites began to show

Further up the almost commanding power and presence of the Dolomites began to show

While heading up and in I did more than once wonder if the whole experience would morph into a shower-on-wheels.  Not that I cared the least bit. But the higher up I came, the more it looked like it would go the other way. 

Clouds swept across and over the mountains, the further in the more signs of sun breaking through.

Clouds swept across and over Passo di Fedaia, the further in the more signs of sun breaking through.

Mountains, clouds and sunlight, three key ingredients that contributes to a strong photographic experience.

Machine & Mountain by Lago di Fedaia seems like a proper title for this shot

Machine & Mountain by Lago di Fedaia seems like a proper title for this shot

At the western end of the mountain lake there’s a dam and some touristy stuff I didn’t get into. Stopped for a brief moment, took some more pics and headed down on the other side of the pass.

Lago di Fedaia, dam construction on the west side. A little Photoshop tweak done this pic

Lago di Fedaia, dam construction on the west side. A little Photoshop tweak done this pic

Down and up again

One thing that makes this such an incredible experience is the different roads, and different scenes. Coming down just outside Canazei, turned right up towards Sella Pass. 

The road up to Passo di Sella from this side offered different scenes and different road experiences

The road up to Passo di Sella from this side offered different scenes and different road experiences

And the bubbling ascending experience started over again. Hard to describe but whether car or motorcycle, those who have done this will now. 

The road up to Passo di Sella from this side offered different scenes and different road experiences

The road up to Passo di Sella from this side offered different scenes and different road experiences

One thing I have to say again, is how fantastic the BMW R1200GS Adventure is to ride. Even fully packed up it takes corners in an impressive, non-stressful way. Pleasantly “torqy” it pulls you up hills and around corners, with no need for high rpm.

My BMW R1200GS Adventure 2016 model, pulls like train, rides like a sports bike on twisty roads :)

My BMW R1200GS Adventure 2016 model, pulls like train, rides like a sports bike on twisty roads 🙂

I rode up the last bit to the pass and Sella Towers

Sella Towers while on the way up towards Sellla Pass

Sella Towers while on the way up towards Sellla Pass

Finally made it up to Passo Sella it was time for a little break with coffee 🙂

View from Sella down to the valleys below

View from Sella down to the valleys below, my kinda gig this landscape!

Shortly after it just got better. Sella Towers on one side, Sassolungo or Langkofel on the other, and in the direction I was heading. There was no question, had to make plenty of stops to get some pics. 

Langkofel or Sassolungo, the highest mountain in the Langkofel group

Langkofel or Sassolungo, the highest mountain in the Langkofel group

Going back and forth

has its photographic advantages. Glad I did so, even if at the time the whole advancement felt a little, or more than a little, ride-wise staccato. But if I hadn’t bothered to do so, there would be less to share. Plus less for myself to enjoy, later.

The scenery, the effects that mother nature can create with mountains, clouds and light changes just is… plainly and simply awesome.

Langkofel or Sassolungo shot closer

Langkofel or Sassolungo shot closer

On one of the descents I had to stop and turn around to capture the mountains in brighter sunlight. Fascinating how the colors changes depending on the setting and angle. So here, again…. 

Langkofel or Sassolungo shot from a different angle, at a different time

Down from the pass and the road and views just kept on being the one of a kind experienced I had hoped for. It delivered on absolutely every single account.

Riding down and across the Dolomites kept granting me views to remember

The one thing I’ve learned from this expedition is timing. Although being lucky with the weather I think next time I’ll go earlier. 

Machine & Mouintains, again. After all this is a biker's blog! :)

Machine & Mountains, again. After all this is a biker’s blog! 🙂

Winding down, back to my valley

I went back and forth quite a few times. Experiencing the roads selected for the day in both directions. Don’t know about you but for me, it gets to a certain point, of contentment. Of being full, of impressions not the least. 

Talking about impressions…hmmmm

Can't paint but the perspective, light & setting had me inspired :)

Can’t paint but the perspective, light & setting had me inspired 🙂

By now I’d seriously lost count regarding number of twists, turns, ups and downs. As the day ebbed it was time to head down into the valleys again.

Later in the afternoon, time to head down from the mountains

Later in the afternoon, time to head down from the mountains

Returned to the hotel, some food and drink later darkness fell upon the surroundings. The valley and region has a world heritage ravine worth seeing. Incidentally, I had missed the opening hours and instead had to settle for a little walk in the village.

Hotel Albergo Gianzinella in Sottoguda by night

Hotel Albergo Gianzianella in Sottoguda by night

A couple of digestion miles later it was time to head back. The day after was going to be equally exciting. 

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