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Old 04-12-2009, 02:45 PM   #7
Andy G OP
2wheeled alpinist
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: eastern Munich outback, Bavaria, Germany
Oddometer: 551
Part 1: Through the Dolmites, ferry across the mediteranean sea, to Greece

Day 1:
As I already told, Anita still had to work so I advanced to the Dolomites to enjoy some twisties. Near Wolkenstein:

Did some more passes that day: Sellajoch, Passo di Fedaia, Passo di Falzarego and Passo di Giau. Shortly after Passo di Giau I stayed for the night in a nameless village in a rather spooky but pretty cheap hostel. When I'm travelling alone I don't like to stop too often so there are not so many pics of this day. Anyway the weather wasn't so nice. In the evening I phoned Anita and we agreed to try to meet on the Karapass in two days.

Day 2:
Because I know the northern Dolomite rather well I decided to roam around further south. So I didn't take any of the famous passes today but stuck to smallest country roads. Selva, Zoldo Alto, Forno, Logarone, Ponte, Pieve, Farra, Col Brombolo, Vittorio Veneto, Valdobbiadene, Broso and Monte Grappa were my stations today. From Monte Grappa I went to Grigno in the Brenta valley which I wanted to see for a long time. It is really impressive, narrow valley, high mountains. Also I had to turn north again if I wanted to reach Karerpass tomorrow night. In Grigno I climbed up the Passo di Brocon to Castello where I found a pretty Hostel and called it a day. I phoned Anita and she told me she won't make it to Karerpass tomorrow but will need two more days. During the evening with a great pizza with locally collected mushrooms, speck and a cold beer I decided to go to Greece tomorrow.

Valle di Zoldo between Forno and Longarone:

somewhere in Bosco del Cansiglia (Bosco means forest AFAIK)

I even found a gravel road that was not explicetly forbidden:

Ascending Monte Grappa:

Viewpoint on the ascend. Monte Grappa played some role in both world wars and is the highest peak in the Vicentinian Alps. I didn't visit the memorial site on top, it started raining and was pretty cold. Instead I had a coffee and a chocolate bar at the Refugio Bassano at the peak at 1742m altitude (Refugio = mountain hut, sometimes with food / lodging)

approaching the Brenta valley:

view from my hostel in Castello:

Day 3:
today I had to speed up a bit to get my ferry at Ancona at 4.00pm. But I didn't want to miss the Passo di Brocon. Early morning on the pass:

Made it just in time... went to the port (I still had the coordinates on my GPS from beeing there the last time), parked directly in front of the ticket office, ran in, bought a ticket (the girl at the counter just said hurry up) and rode on the ferry immedeatly (no waiting this time ). I was still unloading and bonding the tranny when the ferry took off. I wanted to check out a sleeping place I discovered last time: in the main stair case under the lowest stairs. With carpet, rather quiet, dry and halfway dark. Hmm, I slept better on other places, in the end it was to light and uneasy. Next time I'll sleep outside on the deck again.

Insertion for those who don't know the Greece-ferries:
The trip takes about 20h. The cabins are really pricey (> 300) and the seats are (I can sleep everywhere, but not while sitting). Third possibility is to just buy the passage and find a sleeping place somewhere on the ship, meaning no cabin, no seat. It's the cheapest and for me its the permission to do what I want...
end of insertion

on the vessel, leaving Italy:

We arrived at Igoumenitsa at 0600 in the morning. I didn't want to stay on the ship till Patra this time (same price) but ride along the coast. It was absolutely woth it!!! After season, almost no traffic and in any case more exciting than beeing on the ferry for another 5h.

Greek coast:

My private breakfast beach. After being caged on the ferry for almost 24h I first had a swim and then a nice big breakfast. There was nobody except me, maybe it was to early for the Greeks...

Around noon I got real hunger. And as I was still standing on the rather deserted main road of small fishers village thinking of what to do about it the door of the Taverna next to me opend and the Chef asked if I'm hungry ... so I had a nice steak with Greek salad. Later a Greek family joined in the restaurant, but there were absolutely no tourists!

The ascend to the Buddhist retreat center "Karma Berchen Ling". 15km from the next permanently inhabited village, 10km of it gravel road, the last 500m depending on how the last winter was rather tricky (I dumped bike, GF, me and equipment there some years ago while trying to get there two up in the night while raining).

more to come...

Cheers, Andy
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