Sunday, 29 July 2007

European Grand Tour 2007 Day 8

Day 8

This was the day I was most looking forward to. An entire day driving through the mountains. After being waved off by the hotel staff we set the satnav for the car park at the top of the chair lift we had been on the day before.

Rosengarten 1743 Metres, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We got on the chairlift "Laurin 2" up to the top. The top was 2339 metres but it was still very warm even at that height. The view was phenomenal.

Rosengarten - looking down, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Laurin 2 Chairlift (2339 metres), originally uploaded by xrrr.

A number of people had got the chair lift up and were setting off walking back down the mountain. We were pressed for time and had not brought the right equipment (i.e. shoes, supplies) so decided to chair lift back down again.
The chair lift was great, it had great views and was surrounded by the sounds of cow bells from local cow herds:

Rosengarten Cows, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Back to the car and off on a drive of a lifetime on the most amazing roads through the most incredible scenery.

The absolute highlight was going over the Sella Pass on the SS242 between Canazei and Ortisei.

On the SS242 "Sella Pass", originally uploaded by xrrr.

The SS242 is by far the best road I have ever driven. The road was zigzagging up the mountain and the car performed brilliantly. There were a million and one bikers and cyclists (mad) to avoid.
We stopped at a picnic site for some lunch:

On the SS242, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Whilst eating we spotted some crazy people parachuting from the top of the nearby mountain.

Once at Ortisei we turned off the main road and headed across an amazing alpine meadow. No photos unfortunately because I thought that our hotel was in the meadow when it was not.

Hotel Waldsee, originally uploaded by xrrr.

We got to the Hotel Waldsee in good time, despite a slightly hairy overtaking of a hay tractor that I swear the driver must have been drunk as he was all over the place and kept almost crashing into the cars coming the other way!
The hotel was right on the edge of a country park and totally in the middle of nowhere. The room was nice but the bathroom looked a bit dated and in need of some minor repair. Everything worked that we needed to work so no big issues. We had the most stunning view from our bedroom window and balcony.

Sciliar Mountain, originally uploaded by xrrr.

As we had some spare time we went for an evening walk round the Parco Naturale dello Sciliar

Parco Naturale dello Scilliar, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The park was closing so it was very quiet and peaceful. And very beautiful too.

Parco Naturale dello Scilliar, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Dinner was a challenge. I had not pre-warned them that Alison is a veggie because I thought we were staying in the village and not in the wilds. I fact we were not entirely sure that we could eat at all because all the room literature was in German and Italian.
So after listening to Michel Thomas's basic Italian in the car on the way down through Switzerland I felt confident to string together: Posso mangiare qui sta sera?. 'Si' came the response along with some other stuff I did not follow but it was a good start. I was then really going to struggle to explain vegetarianism. Fortunately the one staff member who spoke English (thank you!) popped up and helped us out. She took Alison to meet the chef (and his dog - that was keeping him company in the kitchen) and they agreed on a bowl of pesto and pasta. I had some and it was very very good.
So we had a great meal, I managed to order some coffee and cake (which the nice lady gave us 2 pieces for the price of 1) and then rushed upstairs to take the following sunset photo of the Sciliar mountain.

Sciliar Mountain at Sunset, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Everyone seems to go to bed really early in South Tyrol so we had a relatively early night as we had a rather long journey back to France the next day.

[All Photos][Next Day]

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