Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Karnische Dolomiten Strasse

We found this road on the map and thought, this is not too twisty, let’s take this one, especially since it is marked with green dots alongside indicating a scenic route. We went out of our way to take it from west to east thinking we can connect later with a main road into Italy.
The Karnische started off smooth and winding, wonderful, with green grassy meadows,old huts in the valleys below; thru old towns with narrow streets and a feeling of time gone by but then it started to twist itself into knots.
Again, first and second gear but this time the drop offs were not that severe. It was not that high up so trees grew on the side of the road but that made the visibility around the corners a bit difficult. There is no field of vision, the corners are mostly blind corners and you hope nobody is in your lane when you come around the bend. The road was narrow especially thru the towns along the way.
jutted out into the streets, you literally must stop, look around the house if someone is coming and then proceed. Of course trucks and buses are there, too. If a truck comes your way you must back up or wait a bit and let him pass before you can proceed. A truck or bus and a bike do not fit on the roads. That is in the straight parts, forget the corners. In the corners, over the narrow bridges, might is right. The truck will go first.
We only made it as far as Ampezzo in Italy. was under the impression that this was Cortina D’Ampezzo, the 1964 Olympic town but it turned out to be a rundown town. We had a strange encounter here, or better 2 encounters.
The first was when we tried to check into the hotel. We agreed to the price and we left our helmet and jacket in the room when we walked down together, the gal who showed us the room was friendly enough and her English passable. Now she wanted my passport so I gave her my driver’s license instead. She wanted to keep it behind the counter, in free view of all and accessible to everybody who knows where to look. I refused to hand over my license for her to keep but agreed that she could make a photocopy. She was not happy; she wanted the license in her possession. She wanted the key back, too. A melee of confusion occurred about keys, identifications, etc. I handed over the key and now she refused to let us back into the room with the jackets and helmets being locked up inside. She did not kidnap us but she kidnapped our belongings. She wanted the physical passport or license. Finally, she agreed to open the door again for us to retrieve our belongings but only after she made copies of the driver’s license. The whole affair would have been a comedy if it I had not been involved. After much to do, we took our stuff and saddled up again and left.
Tired and worn out from riding the twisties, were do we go now? The town does not have another hotel. We rode down the main road a bit and found an Albergo, not so nice but we had a bed for the night. Nobody asked us for the license or passport here until in the morning and then only to copy down the number and the home address. The Albergo was a family affair. The daughter showed us the room and then disappeared. We walked around town to find a spot to quench our thirst and after a ginger wine for Carol and a beer for me the world was much better already.
Here is the 2nd event. After returning to our Albergo we asked if they knew of a place to eat. We asked in the bar downstairs and a man sitting at the bar took his cell phone and called around, trying to find a place that is open since the town really does not have a place to eat. He gets an answer on his cell phone and insists on driving us there. It is dark already, about 8.30 pm and this guy races with us thru the narrow alpine streets and drives us to the next town just so we can eat. He drops off us, leaves us his phone number to call him back once we have eaten and leaves. Ok, so we go inside this eatery and the kitchen is closed. The gas stove is broken, they cannot cook. Everybody is very sorry but they cannot cook. What to do? We call our driver back and he comes right away and picks us up. Everybody is shaking their head and all feel bad that we do not have anything to eat. He calls his wife at home (while driving FAST in the dark on twisty roads) and tells her to make spaghetti, just for us. It turned out, that our driver is the owner of the Albergo and his wife serves us freshly made, absolutely delicious spaghetti free of charge. We feel badly but no, they do not accept any money. Finito!
Now we are finished eating and ready to go to our room when the daughter comes to us and tells us, today is my 17th Birthday, I would like you to have some cake with my family and me. Naturally, we joined them and had champagne and cake for desert. We took lots of pictures of her, her mother and father, grandmother and grandfather, brother, 2 uncles and an aunt.
What did all this cost? Euro 50.- for the room.
The experience? Priceless !! Thank you, this old town Ampezzo might not have a great hotel or an eatery that is open but it has people with good hearts.

No comments: