We spent the night in Cavalese, South Tyrol, which seems to be a popular destination for skiers in the winter but is completely deserted in the summer. The first Gasthaus (a bed and breakfast-style hotel, usually with something between 5 and 20 rooms and a small restaurant serving traditional local cuisine) was actually closed, the second Gasthaus was open but we turned out to be the only guests and had a big house with 17 bedrooms all to ourselves … It seemed kinda cool at first but then the Triumph man reminded me that this is how most horror movies start …
View from our bedroom balcony – not sure what we liked better, the mountains in the background or the Grappa distillery right across the street
The next morning we headed straight into the Dolomites, a famous mountain range in the Alps that have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rocky peaks of Dolomites stick out like a sore thumb in the wooded mountains that surround them, they give off a very threatening and uninhabitable vibe.
To cross the Dolomites, we had to fight our way over a bunch of mountain passes and through more than 80 steep hairpin turns (the Italians call them “tornante” and are kind enough to put up little signs that count them, so we didn’t have to). From there, we set our sites on Austria and its tallest peak, the famous Großglockner (elevation: 3,798 m, 12,461 ft).
As excited as we were about the great weather that allowed us for the first time to see a peak of a major European mountain free from clouds at first try, we had to keep moving – it was Friday already and we had to catch a plane from Hamburg on Tuesday. We raced through North Tyrol and crashed at a cute Gasthaus near Kufstein, just miles from the German border, had some Schnitzel, watched some soccer, and planned the route for our last big push the next day.