Day 7. Route

After a luxurious, dry, breakfast (the others apparently got soaked by torrential rain and no breakfast at the campsite) Jim and I set out for Villa Santina. This was a must-make rendezvous as Liam and Kevin had arranged to meet us there. It was a slightly damp day, and we soon found out that the roads surfaced with white gravel were unfeasible slippery. Jim led setting a good comfortable pace (Jim is probably the only one who really rides to sightlines, whereas the rest of us just convince ourselves we are doing). The scenery was quite nice, and I would have loved to see just how deep the Torrente Novello was, the road went over it and it was a very vadose canyon, about 3 feet wide and with no visible bottom. We stopped for lunch in a restaurant off of a road which meandered through a ludicrously narrow red sandstone gorge (Passo tre Croci). Quite why it had seemed a good idea to take a road up there is a mystery. It turned out that we were in German-speaking Italy, which neither of us had been aware existed. We managed to order something from the menu after much deliberation (Italian food, in German) and though expensive it wasn't bad, we both managed to guess on something palatable. On the descent of the Passo di Falzarego (2452m) I had an outbreak of testosterone and swept past Jim. I had a great ride, though not a prudent one, bullying my way past a pair of Fireblades at one point. I did find the front sliding out on turn in at points though, so was probably not riding prudently for someone thousands of miles from home. After the pass I slowed right down until Jim caught up and we continued through Cortina and on to Villa Santina at a more sensible pace, and saw a lot more of the scenery for it. And what scenery! The dolomites were by far the most spectacular mountains of the trip, just enormous mountain-sized lumps of rock. (Dolimitic Limestone, actually, which is apparently quite weird stuff itself)
A mountain in the DolomitesAnother of the spectacular Dolomites mountainsWe arrived in Villa Santina to find Liam and Kevin already there, and after a few minutes the others turned up. Except for Crispin and Ian, the former because he wanted to get his wheel bearings looked at and the latter because he refused to get out of bed in the prevailing weather conditions in St Moritz. We decided to find a campsite, and Jeremy, having assured us that he had seen a campsite on the way in to town (it later turned out they had taken a quicker but less scenic route than Jim and I) led the way. It turned out that he had been mistaken, it was some strange restaurant in the middle of a forest, possibly something to do with hunting. We sent Liam in to talk to the locals (he has an Italian girlfriend, of course he can speak Italian) and he returned with vague directions to a campsite up the road. We searched up and down a bit and found a campsite in the woods. Unfortunately it was a Christian girl guides camp, and they were not too keen on the idea of being joined by a group of smelly bikers. They did give us directions to another campsite though, some distance away, but by the side of a very picturesque lake. It also had a bar and restaurant, and was pronounced a top venue. We ate hugely and well (at last, Italian food) and drank adequately. At some point someone went out to collect the stragglers, and they too got to eat and drink. Now we were 10.

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