5 days in Colfosco: the end of the Dolomites

Ferda and I ended up spending about three and a half weeks in the Dolomites. The last five days were in Colfosco in Alta Badia on the other side of Passo Gardena from Ortisei. My parents took a taxi to get there. We took advantage and loaded them up with most of our luggage. Wow, what easy riding when your bicycle is so light!

IMG_20220716_121916 by bryandkeith on flickr
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10 days in Ortisei: 4 via ferrata adventures

Ferda and I coasted down from Passo Sella to Ortisei. We parked our bikes and didn’t touch them for about 10 days. The main goal was to spend time with my parents and my brother and his family for our first visit since covid started. Elise (or was it Kevin?) found a comfortable house to rent in Ortisei. We had a wonderful holiday in Val Gardena. Here I’ll just show some photos of our four via ferrata days (Piccolo Cir, Oskar Schuster, Tridentina al Pisciadù, Sass Rigais).

Having done a couple via ferrata in Slovenia and a couple more in the Dolomites on the way to Ortisei, Ferda and I were clearly the experts (!). For starters we decided to take Kevin, Elise, Jasper, and Zoë up Piccolo Cir. I had read in multiple places that accommodation in Ortisei comes with cards to use the public transportation in Val Gardena. Be warned of two things: renting a house may not include those cards (ours didn’t) and you cannot start your mountain excursion early if you wait for the first bus of the morning. For Piccolo Cir we took a taxi to Passo Gardena, more because we were eight people without bus cards than because we needed an early start.

It was a short walk to Rifugio Jimmy:

IMG_20220708_093636 by bryandkeith on flickr

Another short walk, and we were at the start of the route. I showed Zoë and Jasper how to use the via ferrata equipment, and they were off and running.

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Passes in the Dolomites: Staulanza, Fedaia, Sella

Wow, the Dolomites are beautiful. Ok, I guess that shouldn’t be such a surprise. Visiting the Dolomites has been on my list for years, but still I was stunned.

Our first pass was Staulanza. From the Piave River down at 420m in Longarone we climbed up to 1760m at the pass. We took our time. It wasn’t hard. The most disturbing thing is that there’s a 5km section of road between Igne and Mezzocanale that is closed to cyclists. The alternative (via Pieve di Cadore) is over 50km longer with an extra 1300m of climbing. WTF? We rode the 5km illegally and didn’t get caught.

Above Forno di Zoldo we started getting views of the high mountains.

IMG_20220628_095838 by bryandkeith on flickr
Forno di Zoldo
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Bicycle touring from the Julian Alps to the Friuli Plain

The Russians built the road over Vrşiç Pass during WWI after the Italians invaded the Austrian Empire. The aim was to supply the Isonzo Front. There’s still a well kept Russian chapel about half way up the north of the side of pass.

Russian Chapel by bryandkeith on flickr

The 800m climb was my first riding with a full load since crashing 10 days earlier. I was happy my knee did as well as it did. I wasn’t so happy with the views. Vrşiç Pass is the highest (paved?) pass in Slovenia and gives access to the highest mountains in the country. I guess I expected the scenery to be more impressive.

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15 days in Gozd Martuljek: hiking, biking, via ferrata, and other excitement

Ferda and I had heard there was a lot to do in the Kranjska Gora area. When we finished our via ferrata in Mojstrana, we looked for a place to stay there for a few days. Everything seemed full. On the internet I found Boršt Apartments in Gozd Martuljek and booked an apartment for a few nights. It said the room had a “mountain view”. Ferda and I laughed because everywhere we turned in this area had a mountain view.

Well, uh, they weren’t kidding. This was the view from our room:

IMG_20220604_165750 by bryandkeith on flickr

They also weren’t kidding about the things to do. We kept extending our stay. Here’s a list of our excursions while we were there:

  • visit Jansa Lake by bicycle
  • climb the Jerm’n via ferrata
  • a 60 km 3-country (Slovenia, Austria, Italy) bicycle loop
  • climb the ferrata Hvadnik
  • visit Fusine Lakes (in Italy) by bicycle
  • watch ski jumpers at Planica
  • explore the Vrata Valley by bicycle, then on foot
  • climb Jalovec
  • explore the Krma Valley by bicycle
  • walk to the lower Murtuljški waterfall (there’s an upper one as well)

Here’s a short list of some of the things we thought we might do but didn’t have time for:

  • climb Triglav
  • climb Špik
  • explore the Kot Valley
  • explore the network of trails below the mountains that we looked at everyday from our room

Yes, it’s a great part of Slovenia to spend a few days. Note that it’s all about sport and mountain scenery. There’s not much in the way of culture and history. Also, it seems difficult to get around if you don’t have a bicycle.

This is how we started most of our excursions, heading straight toward the mountains to access the bicycle path that heads up and down the main valley (Sava Dolinka):

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