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Released: 20 Dec 2013



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Photographs from the Dolomites of Italy, June 2010

After an enjoyable week in the Alps, despite the sometimes dodgy weather, I packed my gear into the Fiat Punto rental car and made the long drive east to the Dolomites. It turned out to be a longer drive than expected because the Passo Stelvio was still closed on the Prato Allo Stelvio side, so I would have to make the long drive over the Passo del Aprica, Passo di Tonale, Passo di Mendola, through Bolzano, over the Passo Pordoi to Arabba. After planning the route in Google Earth I added about 20% to Google's estimate and decided it should take me about 4 hours, or maybe a little more with a few stops. Once again my estimate (and Google's) turned out to be on the optimistic side. With only a couple of brief stops it took around 5 hours 30 minutes!

I don't often say bad things about the places I go to on holiday and write about on this site, however.... Firstly, I have to say the Dolomites is a stunningly beautiful place. The mountains appear like massive rocky spikes that shoot up out of the ground and up into the sky (or clouds - either way they're a spectacular sight). However there's one thing that completely spoils the place: motorcycles. I'm a motorcyclist myself. I don't have a bike right now but I still like to think of myself as a motorcyclist ;-). But there are just so many of them in the Dolomites, which by itself is not necessarily a bad thing but the problem is the sheer number of them and the way so many of them ride. Most of them are OK, if a little unpleasant to be around just due to the noise and amount of pollution output by many high performance bikes (or are they just too cheap to have them serviced?). However there are many for whom the roads of the Dolomites are their own personal race track and for everybody else on the road, including many other motorcyclists I'd imagine, they are not just an annoying nuisance, they're also quite dangerous. There's no shortage of wreaths and photos posted on the roadsides for people who have died on the roads in the area and I can easily see why. I can only assume that local businesses make money out of them and so they feel they have to tolerate it, and the police turn a blind eye for the same reason. It's a shame because it really is a place of outstanding natural beauty and that alone could attract so many tourists to the area. In fact it was one of the things that attracted me but because of the motorcyclist problem I probably won't be back and I don't feel I could encourage anybody else to visit the area either. It was also a problem, to a lesser extent, in the Italian Alps but nothing compared to the Dolomites.

So if you're looking for a place to go cycling, forget the Dolomites. If you're looking for a place to go walking in the mountains with beautiful scenery and tranquility, forget the Dolomites. Go to France instead. Without doubt the Dolomites has beautiful scenery but all day, no matter where you are, the sound of screaming motorcycle engines can be heard. And cycling just feels too dangerous there - and this coming from somebody who used to live and cycle in Sydney, Australia, possibly the most hostile, anti-cyclist city in the world. The Dolomites is a beautiful place, but sadly, ruined by too many motorcyclists.


Photo from the western edge of The Dolomites
The western edge of The Dolomites
Photo from The Dolomites
Path up the hill south of Arabba
Photo from The Dolomites
Mountains around Arabba in The Dolomites
Photo from The Dolomites
Mountains around Arabba in The Dolomites
Photo of Arabba
Looking back down to Arabba
Photo from The Dolomites
Early morning view from my hotel window
Photo from The Dolomites
Looking up at the hills around Arabba
Photo from The Dolomites
My hotel in Arabba (Garni Monika)

Photo the Fausto Coppi memorial
The Fausto Coppi Memorial
Photo from Sass Pordoi
Part way up to Sass Pordoi
Photo from Sass Pordoi
Part way up to Sass Pordoi
Photo from Sass Pordoi
The top of Sass Pordoi
Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi
Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi
Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi looking west
Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi looking west

Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi looking east
Photo from The Dolomites
The top of Sass Pordoi looking down from the cable car
Photo from The Dolomites
The Dolomites near Tre Cime di Lavaredo
 
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This page first created by Craig Porter: 13/06/2010.