Third part of a diary of a motorbike tour of the Dolomites.
Here you can read the first parts:
Tour of the Dolomites part I
Tour of the Dolomites part II
From Belluno to Agordo
The weather today is very dramatic. Some of those fluffy cumulus clouds look real mean and dark. But there is still some sunlight with blue patches of sky. So we say that we will give it a try and get on our bike.
We take the road from Casan through Ponte nelle Alpi . We cross the Alpini bridge, turn right and hit the road to Agordo. At first the road is uneventful. Once we pass Mas the landscape starts to get interesting with winding curves and beautiful mountains covered in full green. The high rocky Dolomites stand as sentinels in the background. Rushing water flows nearby. We don't see it but hear it as we follow the Cordevole River.
We reach Agordo, a beautiful little town with an impressive castle with an entrance surrounded by statues in the main piazza. The sun decides to welcome us here and we take this interlude to have a "gelato artigianale" (home made ice cream).
We look at our map and decide to go up to the Passo Duran and cross over to the Zoldo Alto valley. The road starts winding up higher and higher as we reach the pass. It's very narrow and one has to stop where it becomes so narrow that only one vehicle at a time can pass. Once we get to the Passo Duran we feel the cold air of the Dolomites. The wind chases the clouds and they hide the sun. We do not stop but decide to head down before it starts to rain.
The descent is scary. Pinpoint curves and deep precipices follow in quick succession. You better be alert !! Fully concentrated on the road, we had little opportunity to enjoy the landscape. To be honest, it was windy and cold and we were happy once we reached Dont.
We continued on to Forno di Zoldo. Once we entered this valley, the wind stopped and the road became easier. We followed its bends and soon found our rhythm. The valley becomes wider and you can see the River Mae with its beautiful water fall.
Once we got to Mezzocanale we stopped. We love this place. It is the old post station lodge where from ancient times the innkeepers used to change horses and welcome travelers entering the Zoldo valley. Sometimes people were stuck here for days because of the heavy snows. The lodge has been in the hands of the same family for generations. They have even been honored with "The Gold Plate of Hospitality" for their service and hospitality to travelers.
Today you can still sit around the original "LARINGA" - the open fire place where huge wooden logs warm the bar in winter. You can enjoy a hot chocolate or vin brule' while you warm yourself and dream away as you gaze into the fire. Many times we met old locals sitting comfortably here and smoking a pipe while old ladies knitted socks for their grandchildren and told visitors stories and legends of the mountains. Dino Buzzati is a son of the Dolomites.
Of course you can enjoy an excellent home made meal in the restaurant. The main room is decorated with original craftwork. We enjoyed their special "cioccolata densa" (hot dense chocolate) this time to warm our bodies and calm myself down after the Passo Duran.
We reached Longarone and pressed hard on the gas pedal to get home faster. It started to rain and it surely looked that it would remain that way for the rest of the day.
By Eva Fabian