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Monday, September 21, 2015

Dolomite Mountain...High!!

Sunday September 20th.
Sam and Joan attended Sunday services this morning and we attended mass last night at the chapel over in area one, which is physically located in the town of Aviano. With our religious services completed, our adventure mission for this afternoon was to head into the mountains. (A note here, to say the weather this morning and afternoon was very clear and sunny.) This meant that the mighty Dolomite mountains were gorgeous! Our plan was to take a small touring, rubber tired train on an old road around some spectacular gorges and rock formations. The Barcis region has a large man made lake w
ith hydro electric power plants and towering peaks all around us.
The train ride was not costly, 6.50 Euros for each of us. The next train leaving was at 3pm, which gave us a chance to look around and watch the hundreds of locals who were also enjoying the afternoon sun and scenery. I noticed many Italians riding motorcycles. They all rode fast around the many mountain switchback roads. Most had bright flashy leathers to protect themselves. If they did wipeout, I would imagine the leathers wouldn’t be to helpful against the solid rock cliffs on one side of the road and the hundred’s of foot drops, on the other side of the road.
Finally, at 3:05 the train appeared coming out of the tunnel. To our surprise, the full train didn’t empty out. As a matter of fact, we were lucky to get on. What we didn’t know was that the train also picked up passengers at the village of Barcis, a couple of miles down the road. The train ride was not what I expected. The ride slowly went up in elevation switching back and forth for a few miles. Then, we came to our first of many tunnels. From here on in, we got our money’s worth! People not on the train were walking on the same paved road as our road train. The odd thing was that they were wearing hardhats. I presume small rocks can come rolling off the cliffs above. Some were wearing a different hardhat… the kind that cavers wear with a headlamp. Many, many tunnels to explore! With a moving train it was difficult to capture the moment with the camera. I just pointed and fired the shutter. The train finally came through the last tunnel and the end of our journey. It was a satisfying experience. If we every come this way again, I would definetly do the walking path.
From here, we motored to the village of Barcis, a tourist destination. It was Sunday and many families were enjoying this sunny afternoon. There was a dog show in the center of town. It was a different experience for us. Walking in a village, one must get off the beaten path to capture those picturesque photos that the four of us like. Joan said, “Let’s take a side paved path up to the main street.” We did and got all kinds of shots from sun dials, cats, shutters, buildings, gardens and so forth. On the main street, the irresistible Gelatos were right in our face, across the street. Yup, we got one and sat in the little park across the street and watched people, pets and Bugaty motorcycles ride by. It was getting close to the golden hour for photography! You know, when the sun is low to the ground and creates shadows and plays with everything. My favorite time of day!
Time to hit the road! From Barcis, our tour guide Sam, said we would head over the mountains back to Aviano! A one lane bridge and I mean one lane was our first obstacle. It was so tight that the passenger side mirror did scrape. Across the bridge, we ascended several thousand feet from switchback to switchback. It wasn’t very long before we started to notice snow road markers which were 10 feet high. It must be a monumental task to keep this road open in the winter. Ironically, the valley below gets only a trace of snow, if any, during the winter. Finally, on the summit, we reach a massive ski resort in the town of Piancavallo. Both Joan and Sam said that most of this was newly built since their last visit 5 years ago.
What goes up must come down! From Piancavallo, it is all down hill. A good thing our Peugeot, an automatic, has the ability to switch to standard shift. Sam kept the transmission in second and third g
ear down the four mile drop to the valley floor. No runaway truck stops here! We stopped a couple of times to take in the panoramic view. From here, looking North, East and South, as far as the eye can see there are no mountains and I was amazed how many small communities scattered the countryside!
It seems we are always eating. Sam said we were close to his favorite (Italian style) ha,ha restaurant. Pizzeria Vecchio Cafe in Polcenigo was our dinning experience for tonight. Calzone was the choice for Helen and I, as well as Sam. Joan had a veggie pizza. It may seem repetitious, but you can order several types of Calzones with different ingredients. It seems that I always say, “This is the best one so far.” but, they are all very good!
Aviano is the next town over from Polcenigo and we were home just a short time after dark! Just a short foot note here about the WiFi here on base. It is excellent! The only problem that we all experienced was that we could receive incoming email, but are having a problem sending out emails. The blog is going out better than back home!

That is what we did and saw!

View from Barcis, Italy
Ready for picking!

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