Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Thursday, Rest in Sexten

Snowfall in the morning, fog down to the base of the valley. I stay in my bed, what to do else? I got a nice catalogue of this place: you can see the biggest sunclock of the world. The peaks got their names of the hour when the sun passes by. Today there is no clock, no sun, no hour. At 9 o'clock it gets brighter outside, my energies rise as well. What to do best at a rest day: make a bike tour. I start towards the Dreischusterhuette in the Innerfeldtal. They tell me there are wonderful flowers in that valley. So if there is to be seen nothing in the air: look at the ground.

One hour later I reach the Dreischusterhuette at 1517 m. The sun breaks through, the peaks are still covered by clouds. As the path gets too rough I lock my bike behind a bush. There is a marked trail number 105 to the Dreizinnenhuette. There are no traps on the snow, so I am the first today. I know the dangers of the Alps in this situation, but I try the trail for it is easy to walk. Climbing up the height of the snow grows and the feet get wet soon. Suddenly a chamois (Gemse) stars at me, I as well. Will he attack me! But he does not and jumps away.

Point of Return

I now feel anxious, it is too lonely, if you break an ankle or so and no one around? The Dreizinnenhuette seems to be far away yet. Now the snow is too deep, I am stuck to my knees. That must be the end. I sit on a rock on my hat to preserve the cold from below. The fog is hanging around, sometimes you see the rockwalls, then they disappear again. A slight snowfall starts, I decide to return. With caution I slip down on the snow. The snowfall does increase, what's about my hat? Well: I have forgotten it at the rock above. What to do? I own this hat over years, there is some tradition combined with it. The love to my hat is stronger: 10 minutes back, save the hat and so I do. The feet are wet anyway.

Now with the hat at it's place I walk down again. Finally an older couple comes from below: now I feel safe. The man asks me for the way, I can tell my story. Then he asks for a result of the German soccer league, I must quit the answer.

Soon I am back down again jumping over the rocks. The bike is still at it's place. Upside there is more fog again, so back home. 10 minutes downhill, the wind blows into the wetted stockings and feet, they feel like ice. Back in my room I can regenerate and take a nap.

At 6 pm suddenly the best weather comes up. The sun is shining and the fogs pour down the walls. I leave my bike at it's place and enter a road leading straight upwards. And there it is, the great panorama, the sunclock from 8 to 12 am. At 8 pm I return, happy!


Sextener Rotwand at Kreuzbergsattel

Friday, Sexten - Cortina 75 km

Start at 8 am with sunshine and free view of all mountains, but frost during the night. Up to the Kreuzbergsattel, 1636 m.

For these 6 km leading up 400 m I need one hour. At the summit new mountains come up in the south. Down again I reach Padole. This day the market is active. Language, houses, and the total atmosphere is Italian now.


Next up to the Pass St. Antonio, 1468 m, and then down to Auronzo 864 m. I must take a rest for the rears get hot from the brakes. Behind Auronzo there is a wide valley, at it's end there are the Drei Zinnen (so I think).


Now I enter this valley leading 1000 m up to the Misurina See and Drei Kreuze Pass. For the distance is long you come up step by step. In the valley all hotels and country houses are closed, they get alive during the season only. Not much traffic on the other hand and that is what I like. At the end of the valley just in front you see the peaks of the Cristallo.

I walk and ride in turn, the speed nearly is the same in both cases. I try to find a trail which is marked in the roadmap, but it ends up in a creek and a muddy area. So I enter the road again to see the famous lake of Misurina. The big hotel seems to be a home for children meanwhile. Some busses, the people walk on the comfortable way around the lake. Pedal boats are available. A German couple leaves their car, the wife enters a meadow and shouts: "Hi Korl (Charly) this is gentian (Enzian) around here!". Then they take their shots, so do I and make pictures of the scene, the Drei Zinnen (now they really are in place) decorating the background.

At least after I have consumed my sausage (Landjaeger) I go up to the Drei Kreuze Pass (Tre Crocci), 1809 m. Now the mountains of Cortina make the scenery, in front the Tofana. The descent to Cortina is wonderful, the curves are wide and you fly down. It is 4 pm, but I cannot go on for there is no greater village on the further way behind Cortina. In the tourist office they tell me, no private pensions available, hotels only. Well I choose Hotel Montana just besides the church as well. Cortina is totally influenced by tourism, many shops and restaurants. I only need a Pizzeria.

At least I have some philosopic ideas of this evening. At home my sport fellows celebrate the yearly barbecue party in a former cow stable. And I stay at Cortina. What is the better party?

Misurina Lake

Cortina and Tofana

Cortina and Cristallo

Saturday, Cortina - Vigo 80 km

I get up at 7 am, the sky is blue in all directions. Breakfast time is one hour later. I cannot wait, and start without breakfast (extra cost anyway). Just above Cortina there is a huge stonewall, the road passes it by a traverse and a small tunnel. There you have a wonderful final view of Cortina. It looks better from far away than from inside.

Near Pass Giau

I reach the fork to Pass Giau. My plan was to take this route at fine weather, no question today. Someone has lost his water bottle here, so I pick it up and clean it thoroughly. You can find clean water at many wells aside the road or directly from a creek - but there you never can be sure of the quality of the water. I use drink tablets to make the water tasty.

Walking or riding I come up. At the tree line a black Mercedes comes along. It is from Hamburg and a former hearse (Leichenwagen). In the back part of the car there are to be seen pillows and beds, so the people sleep at the same place they formerly had the coffins ....

Up the tree line you have a free sight and the road is less steep. Two long curves lead among snow banks to the summit of the Giau at 2230 m. Three hours from Cortina. But now there it is: all the mountains I only know from the books: Marmolata to Sella. I stay for half an hour but a second pass waits today.

Paß Giau

You need warm clothes for the next 1000 m downhill. Some stops again to warm up, the rears have to do the opposite. At the next junction I turn to the Colle Santa Lucia, a wonderful landscape all around.

At one place the village Rocca Pietore lies 300 m beneath your feet. I can look to the valley of Petorina up towards the Fedaia Pass. At the wall beneath you can see rare flowers (Kuechenschellen, Pulsatilla). The road to Rocca is closed, that would be a 30 km extra tour. But there is just a bus coming up, I think then I will success in coming down as well. No problems, at one place a rock big as a house (a small one) has fallen on the road. That is the reason why it is closed.

Santa Lucia


Rocca Pietore

Now I have three hours again for the second 2000 m pass this day. I go slowly and try to avoid the main street. At one village there are scenic wooden storage houses. High above there is a bridge where the main road crosses the valley. I wonder how I can come up there. And there it is: the big surprise. I find myself inside a canyon: the Sottogudaschlucht. This is the historic trail up the valley. You find all you want: big walls, a waterfall and a chapel.


At the end of the canyon I meet the main road again. A big cable lift goes up to the Marmolata, a ski tow (Schlepplift) runs up the valley. Several hotels do not look very romantic. But today there is no skiing and that is the better thing. I make a rest near some old wooden haystores and now can activate my phantasy. I imagine those former days less than 100 years ago when this dangerous trail was the only connection to the rest of the world. During the wintertime this place is a roaring ski center today, at those former times it was the end of the world.

The next passage of the pass is unpleasant. Steep without curves the road leads up like a ramp. Near the summit some hairpin turns make the end, they are better to run.




The view at the top is not as impressive, main reason will be the weather turning bad again. The Marmolata looks grey, the water reservoir is nearly empty. At the descent I get my difficulties in the tunnels again. Near Canazei in the Fassatal the rain begins. I ride some more kilometers to Vigo di Fassa. I get my accomodation and a splendid pizza at the restaurant La Grotta.

Sunday, Vigo - Male, 120 km

At first today up 400 m to the 1745 m Karerpass determine the early morning gymnastic. But I can stand it riding. I am one week in the mountains now and feel some better condition. After one hour I am upstairs. Next station is Nigersattel with a view to the Rosengarten and Vajolettuerme.

Rosengarten at Nigerpaß

The weather above here is grey now but down to Bozen everything looks sunny. The descent leads down to 265 m. It's a great run and you see Bozen from above. Down in the valley there is much traffic. There must be place for the highway, the main road, the railway and the poor river named Eisack.

At Bozen I meet the summer. A telephon call at home and that's it, too much mass of people around. I try to ride towards the Mendelpass (Paso di Mendolo). At a kiosk I ask for the way. A man with a moped explains the way with many words and gesticulations. At least I now know the next two junctions of the way. Just after the departure the man with the moped passes by and explains, I just should follow him. But my bike is no moped and he drives more than 30 km/h. But I can stand it, at the traffic lights I can breathe down. Finally he tells me, he is living in this street, I now only had to go left and then straight ahead. "Passo Mendola much road" is his last advice. I say thanks and good bye and leave Bozen.

Furthermore I really find much road and traffic. I am on the Suedtiroler Weinstrasse towards Kaltern (there is a famous wine named "Kalterer See"). The sun is burning now, and riding slightly uphill the sweat runs into my eyes. Another problem is a cracking sound at one of the pedals, but some drops of oil from another old can at a petrol station help. Finally I reach the junction to the Mendelpass, no more heavy traffic and a rest. A group of youngsters with mountain bikes is coming up, they take a rest too. Now it's my time to go on, I enter the bike and start climbing in an elegant fashion. I am aware to jump off the bike behind the next curve and to start walking. But it works, I find my rhythm. But the road is not so steep and leads through the forests in the shadow.

Up to the Mendelpass

Then I reach an exposed ramp blasted into the rockwall. Now I walk to have a better view down to the lake of Kaltern. I dream of the red wine down there. The rest to the summit is no problem, I have made 20 km from 260 m up to 1000 m. On the way I was wondering at the many bikers running downhill, now there is the solution: someone drives up by car and the sportsmen unload their bikes and run downstairs proud of their racing dress.


We have 4 pm and I can make some distance yet. A descent to the wide valley of the Rio Novella. From the right a canyon comes down, I stop at a bridge and peer over the fence. Such a sensation I never saw, there is a 50 m deep canyon completely dark at it's ground. At the next bridge the same view, and from now on I suffer from the desire to stop at every bridge. After many harmless creeks the desire gets moderate again.

Some small showers of a thunderstorm are coming up. I enter the entrance of a house for shelter. I miss to notice this is a Carabinieri Station. At once an officer comes out and declares in an resolute fashion this would not be the right place for me. Well, the rain stops anyway and I roll on. But one feels something strange for most people on the way usually are very friendly to cyclists.

Another gorge at the Lago di St. Giustina an then I enter the Val Melecchio di Sol leading to the Tonalepass. It is 6 pm but there is a nice backwind and it is pretty warm. I go on one more hour to Male where I hope to find my accomodation.

I pass some hotels which look expensive. Then I stand in front of Hotel Puller, this looks more modest. In the entrance there sit a lot of elderly women. I pull on my long trousers to look better and enter the house. Everywhere elderly women sit and chat. May be I entered a Senior Home or something like that?

Two of the elder women seem to be the managing directors, one of them speaks some German. They are extremely kind, of course I can get a room, at 8 pm will be dinner time, they will call me up. I feel wonderful. As I enter my room I break out in laughter. But I must hurry to take my shower bath and change to a convenient dress. Then the telephone rings: "Dinner is Served" they tell me.

I find myself in an old fashioned dining room with crystal lamps and antique pieces of furniture. The dining tables are set thoroughly by tableclothes and serviettes, different wine glasses, bread basket etc. All the elderly women sit at their place and chat. Some elder men are to be seen too, but they don't chat, may be they have given it up. I got my place, two waitresses serve the meals. Soup at first. Then I make something wrong when they ask for the drink. Though I dreamed of the Kalterer See this day I ask for a beer. That seems to be unusual, they run in several directions first to find a bottle of beer, then to find an opener. At least they pour out the bubbling beer on the ground and must run for a wipe cloth.

Finally I can enjoy the steaks, potatoes, bread. At least they offer cheese. I choose two well shaped pieces. As dessert they bring a portion of ice and I have difficulties to combine this with my big bottle of beer.

After dinner the complete society starts to a walk around the etablissement to get the metabolism (Stoffwechsel) in action. I go my own way. Next morning I have a splendid breakfast as well and pay DM 45.- altogether.

Chapter 3