Dolomite Tour I
Hi there, Here we are Joe & Eva, two people who decided to change their lives. We talked about it for ages. As you know, there is always a long road between wanting something and actually doing it !! We were also entangled in our responsibilities - jobs, kids, money, without even mentioning our fear of jumping into the deep end.
But in February 1999 we did it. We left all the comforts of Munich and went to live in a tiny mountain village in the Dolomites. Nobody believed us, not our kids and family, nor our friends, not even the people in the village. They gave us 6 months at the most before we would fall apart and go back to old lives.
Today it's 2006 and we never left Casan. It really became our home. Our roots have dug deeper and deeper into the soil of this beautiful and magnificent region of the southern Dolomites. We are now in our mid fifties and thank God, healthy and in good physical shape. This year Joe decided to make his old dream come true and buy himself a motorbike. He rode one during his student years.
So, one day he asked me to come along with him because he had something interesting to show me. We went to Belluno and stopped at the BMW dealership. And there it was. Even before he introduced the bike to me with careful words, the moment I set eyes on it I knew that's the one, the beast - the king of the forest. I looked at Joe and said, 'We'll call him Leo." No other words were necessary. I hoped we would enjoy many great experiences riding Leo together.
Of course our hearts started beating a little faster when we got on it and started heading along those winding Dolomite roads. With time Joe learned to rely on its great technical abilities and trusted it more and more. So fear turned slowly into pure enjoyment and love of this great experience.
Now spring is knocking stronger and stronger at the door. Everything here is in flower and the hills are covered with new greenery. This is what happened on our first tour.
We left Casan and drove down from the village (about 3 km) to the main road which leads to Venice, the SS 51. We remained on this road and came to Lago di Santa Croce on the left, we stopped to enjoy the beautiful view. You stand in front of this dark green - blue lake, with the whole Alpago Valley and its endless small villages scattered in the distance. On the right are the high walls of the Cansiglio Plateau with its magnificent and still snowy Cavallo Mountains forming the backdrop.
Having taken in all of this beauty, we continued down the winding but well built out road to Vittorio Veneto. Once you get to the main Piazza you feel that you have come to another climate. The air here is silky and much warmer. There are palm trees in the gardens and the vegetation is in full bloom, weeks ahead of where we live in the mountains.
In the historical part of the Piazza called Ceneda, we stopped and had a "corretto" to strengthen our nerves and loosen our limbs after the excitement of our first downhill experience. Then we drove through the city gate and turned left heading toward the Prosecco region and followed the road to the source of the world renowned Prosecco white wine.
Once you pass the town of Revine, you will see on your left the lakes which are ready to welcome you. You can have a swim, take the sun, or just sit around and barbecue a piece of meat on the the grill that is open to the public. The road continues through old villages, winds up higher and higher through vineyards on both sides of the road. Every centimeter is planted with the precious grapes. An endless line of beautifully kept vineyards keep you company along your journey. This part of the road is rather straight and easy. It starts winding once you climb up the hills towards Valdobbiadene.
If you really want to get a special kick on your motorbike, turn sharp right just before Follina to the Passo Boldo ! Be prepared not to believe your eyes, if only to observe the greatness of Italian road engineers !!! You better be a very good driver !!! You are inside a snail shell- an endless tunnel that winds higher and higher into the mountain. This internal road is well hidden from prying eyes. It was a secret transportation route built by soldiers and used in wartime.
After this surely unique experience, I am sure you are ready for less excitement. Continue on the road to Cison di Valmarino. If you feel like it, take the elevator and visit the Castel Brando. It has a breathtaking view of the region that unfortunately includes the area's industrial zone.
We stopped on the Piazza and had a well deserved cafe latte at the bar and fully enjoyed it. From Cison we continued to Follina where we visited the Abbazia , a beautiful 12th century cloister with a very special interior garden with columns all around it. We decided to enjoy an "ombra", a glass of Prosecco, before heading back to the Osteria on the Piazza. Now we were ready to head back.
Once we passed Vittorio Veneto we started driving up the winding road to the Fadalto Pass. You must travel under these gigantic highway bridges. Only when you are under them do you realize how impressive they are. You pass the Lago Morto and see the power plant which collects water from the Dolomite rivers, mainly the Piave and its tributaries and pumps it down to the plains below.
Once you reach the Fadalto Pass everything changes. The wind gets stronger and colder; the palm trees disappear and the vegetation lags behind the region you just visited by at least a month. Now a window to the Dolomites opens before your eyes. You do not see them well yet but you notice that there are high mountains on the horizon. The view to the Lake Santa Croce opens up and you feel the strong afternoon wind pushing up from Venice that blows through this passage towards the mountains.
We drove down the winding pass and turned to the right and drove through the tunnel along the lake. Wind surfers and gliders were shooting over the lake with breathtaking speed.
Another few turns up the mountain and we arrived back home shortly afterwards. We were proud and happy of our first bike experience. Only then we realized how hungry we were. I rushed to the kitchen and prepared a hearty dish of "Polenta and Scott" with a good glass of our local Cabernet Franc red wine. Salute, cin, cin !!!
Here is the recipe of ' Polenta and Scott": for 4 people.
800 gr. of ground meat
500gr. of full polenta
Add salt and pepper to the meat according to taste. Make small meatballs and fry them well. Keep meatballs in the oil.
Take 1 liter of water, add salt and bring it to boil.
Slowly add the polenta stirring constantly. Pay attention that it should not get lumpy. Its consistency should be smooth and rather liquid. Let it boil slowly for about 10min
Take a nice big casserole and pour in the polenta.
Add the meatballs with the oil.
Add to it 4 big spoons of Parmesan cheese.
Mix well and let it simmer over a small flame or in the oven (200Ã‚Â° C) for another 30 min until it forms a nice crust. Now it is ready to serve.
You can serve this dish with a fresh green salad. Put in some arugula and radicchio.
Of course do not forget to serve it with a good bottle of red Cabernet Franc.
I hope you'll enjoy it.
Buon appetito e salute, cin, cin.
By Eva Fabian
- Motorcycle Dolomites tours 1
- Motorcycle Dolomites tours 2: Around the Marmarole
- Motorcycle Dolomites tours 3 : From Belluno to Agordo