Tuesday, July 24
Carabinieri & Cows
Jenn and I were up early, and headed into Agordo. The first order of
business was to recheck the bank machine. Nope, definitely nothing there.
Then to the grocery store. Nope, no one had seen any sight of Jenn's
baggy. Then over to the local tourist bureau - nope, the lady hadn't
heard anything about it. Then a thought dawned on me that for some
reason I hadn't thought of the night before. If some decent soul had come
across Jenn's belongings, what might they do with it?... well, they might
bring it to the authorities, of course. We asked the lady where the local
'carabinieri' headquarters was located.
A few minutes later, we pulled up in front of the black metal-fenced
offices of the Carabinieri in Agordo (the Carabinieri are kind of like the
'state police', as opposed to a municipal police force). We walked up to
the door, pressed the intercom buzzer, and spoke into the speaker of our
plight. Before I had finished explaining about being Canadian, the door
locked buzzed, letting us in. "come in, come in, Jenn-ee-fer Inn-es,
Knowing Jenn's name in advance could have been an amazing bit of
prescience; much more likely, of course, was that someone had in fact
turned in Jenn's baggy to the police. Excellent!
The coat of arms of the Carabinieri
A very trim and proper officer in an impeccably clean and ironed well-
fitting midnight-blue suit let us in, greeted us warmly, and quickly
ushered us into his office. They had Jenn's baggy, and all we had to do
was provide some proof of identity and it was hers.
After showing the officer Jenn's passport, and him filling out some
requisite paperwork, we had the baggy back. Everything was untouched -
even the cash. It had been turned into the police very shortly after Jenn
had lost it, in fact. Had we come by the night before, we could have
retrieved it even sooner. Chalk that one up to a brain not fully
With our newly-raised opinion of the citizens of Agordo and local
carabinieri, we headed back up to Alleghe, where we rendez-voused with Pu
and Daryl, who had finished packing up and checking out of the campground.
Things were back on track - ready to hit the road north!
The weather had cleared somewhat on the 24th of July - Tuesday of our last
week of vacation. The first part of our day was dedicated to 'moving'.
Moving us, that is, from Alleghe to points further north. I felt we were
now ready for our first 'grade 5' ferrata - the hardest level, and
everyone in our group was reasonably ok with that. There are several 5C
routes (again, the grade level is based on a custom rating system
developed by Graham Fletcher and John Smith) scattered about the central
dolomites, but I wanted one with good protection and with a not-so-long
approach and return. A route in the Tofana mountain range, just west of
Cortina, had caught my eye several times in the past, and when I re-read
the route description, it seemed to fit the bill: We could approach
almost to the base of the climb by chairlift, and we could take a big
cablecar down from practically at the summit. Daryl appreciated the no-
descent portion of this itinerary. The protection was supposed to be
We weren't yet quite sure how we were going to work out the accommodations
during our stay in the northern dolomites. We hadn't yet called in to
reserve spots at any rifugios, mostly because we hadn't yet firmed up our
plans. Now that that was happening, we needed to get on the horn and call
for availability. Spots in these huts at the height of summer can be
hard to get.
The first order of business was to get ourselves to the Cortina area. I
charted a course northwards that snaked through dark forests, then wound
and switchbacked superbly up several thousand feet into the alpine to
Passo Giau - a high pass between Nuvolau and Monte Cernera. I had
deliberately suggested that we skip a breakfast at the camp, and instead
break out the food somewhere scenic - like this pass, for instance!
We pulled over just beyond the height of land at Passo Giau and spread out
our food at the edge of a cow pasture: A few panini, some little spicy
sausage things, a bit of sharp cheese, and a cool bottle of Orange Fanta
The early morning sky was part cloud, part clear, and at this
moment a wonderful beam of sunlight illuminated the steep prow of Ra
Gusela on Nuvolao. A fitting backdrop for a tasty breakfast!
Sport Biking at Passo Giau
Breakfast at the pass
Breakfast at the pass
We noticed that some of the cattle were curious, and a few them lumbered
up close to where we were sitting on the edge of the grass. We weren't
too concerned about it, but one big black-and-white fella kept edging
closer. "Not to worry", Daryl said, "cows are totally docile". As our
black-and-white friend edged a little closer, Pu leaned way over to have a
quick look, and complained that he 'simply could not locate' the udder.
Pu's masculine visitor
Now he does!
After having safely esconced ourselves away from the bull and back into
the cars, we continued to eat the remainder of our breakfast without
incident. We then continued down into the Cortina Valley, passing scores
and scores of bicyclists along the way (In general, the dolomites seem to
be full of very capable cyclists).
Again we were in a bit of a quandry about what to do - hike up to and stay
in a rifugio somewhere, or stay down low in town and hike up somewhere the
next day. Not ready to commit to any one path just yet, we drove north
through the busy traffic-filled streets of Cortina D'Ampezzo, the
dolomite's largest town, to a campground that we've stayed at several
times before: Camping Olimpia, a large campground nestled under the slopes
of Col Rosa. The campground had a new motif this year - white plaster-
of-paris forms of a hooded person in various poses - they were hung from
poles, next to bathroom entrances, and between campsites. Think of a
cross between a madonna statue and a ghost. Kinda spooky-lookin'.
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