As always, perfectly sunny weather in the morning! I had breakfast at the Pensione in Forno di Zoldo and the odd man owning the place told me I could not sit where I wanted and I could not take of the cereals from that table and so on, but soon I was off anyway. Bought some fruits at a local fruit and map/book shop. They do not eat much bananas in Italy (apparently people from Sweden eat extraordinarily much of them). But they had great fresh fruits of many kinds and it was good to eat some before beginning the journey.
It was actually the same road I was going to continue on that went over the Passo Duran pass. It was very nice and and it was a very normal pass road up to the Cibiana pass (not very difficult), perhaps a little more forest than usual. (The road is marked as very steep and dangerous on my map, but I had already begun to not take the map too seriously (even if it was very helpful of course).) The Cibiana pass is at 1530 meters. Another thing that you should take notice off when bicycling up in the dolomites is that you ought to look at the road signs – if they mark out a curves to come ahead, it could often be rather valuable information even if you do not go as fast as the cars (for which they are there for of course). But the signs are not always correct and should not be trusted too much either. (Just like the map.) The road down from the Cibiana pass to Cibiana di Cadore was not very good and suddenly it was unpaved for roughly 100 meters, where I did not have a chance to stop the bicycle in time. It is usually not dangerous to go on unpaved roads even with road bike bicycles – you just have to stay cool and avoid the worst obstacles.
Then I continued up to Calalzo di Cadore where there were hundreds on sheep out on the main road. It was rather tricky to get past them, but I got through much earlier than the cars so I basically had that side of the road for myself for some time later on. The worst thing is that the road gets all yellow-brownish and the tires too :-). The plan now was to make a first stop in Vigo di Cadore, that I hoped to reach before the shops closed at 12.30. But it turned out that Vigo di Cadore (that was last place to stop at for a long time considering where I was heading) was a pretty dead little place and I was not too happy about that, but then I noticed some people walking with bags as if they had been somewhere buying something. Just a few hundreds meters after Vigo di Cadore appeared Laggio di Cadore and here there were many shops and a very alive little city, but this was not marked out on the map, strangely enough. So I had plenty of things to eat: pastries, cookies, fruits and an italian big Coke (San Pelegrino). A very nice little town that I suspect very few tourists from outside Italy ever comes by.
Now I was going to go up to a pass I was not certain to get by. Actually, I first now when I write this down quite understand the map – I thought the map was wrong previously here. I thought I would miss (just with some meters) two passes on this way: Forcella Lavardet (which was what direction signs hinted at down in Laggio di Cadore) and Sella di Razzo (which one passes if one intends to go to Sauris di Sopra (and that area that I read should have some interesting things to see)). However, I surely reached a pass on the road to Val Pesarina and that pass everyone has to pass on the way to Laggio di Cadore from the east. This pass is also the highest of them, but is nonetheless not marked out on the map nor mentioned on any road signs. It is the Sella Ciampigotto pass at 1790 meters. On the photo you also see one of those cow warning signs that appears here and there on high pass roads where cows walk around freely. I actually saw passed by some cows at another place, but cannot quite remember where now. This was the last photo I could take on the film I had in my camera and that day was Sunday, so I was a bit worried I would not be able to document some of the further things I should pass by later on that day. I asked at the eating place at this pass but they told me to try down in Pesarina (which was a totally dead place it seemed) (yes, they had a restaurant even here, though it was pretty much in no man’s land – there were very little houses and villages nearby – but inside this place it was more full of people all eating and talking in high voices as if it were some kind of party going on in the middle of nowhere. I left the party and proceeded down Val Pesarina where the road through the forest part was not very good again. This road was marked as beautiful on my map ( I had tried to plan in as much of such road stretches as possible, but here I was not very impressed (maybe it was partly because the weather was now very cloudy and it was slightly chilly now.
Now I was going to take a road over from Comeglians to Paluzza, but the road sign was deceptive and I went up several kilometers in the direction of Sappada before I realized that I should have taken off to the left earlier on. The road sign at the main road does not mention Comeglians, but only Tualis and one other place, but only hundred meters on the way it all becomes clear, where one turns to Comeglians and before getting into the little village there is a sign reading ’Austria’ announcing where a very tiny road could eventually take you ;-). (One could also go over Tualis, but it is a bit longer). This road was rather uneventful and I got a little shower of rain on the way. It seemed like the way over Tualis would have been nicer. Then I was down on the main road going to Austria via the Plöckenpass or down to Tolmezzo. However, I had a third possible alternative route in mind. On my map (not on all I saw) there was an interesting road going from Paluzza to Paularo (this part was on most maps), but it then continued to Pontebba. In Paluzza (a very boring place) I did a clever thing in obtaining a film for the camera after having asked at petrol station where they gave me no hope – I got the idea that maybe a local pub could perhaps have such a thing and yes there where three Kodak rolls laying forgotten on a shelf!
On I went to Paularo. The road up from Paluzza was indeed rather steep and it is very much like a pass road. At the summit I met the only other cyclist that day since down at Tai di Cadore and said hello, upon which he said ’Hei’ – I suspect he was from Austria. Then down to nicely situated Paularo (648 m) where it was damned hard to figure out which road to take to get to Pontebba. There were a lot of people living there it seemed like, which is kind of odd as it is almost isolated up there near the high mountains that is the border to Austria. (Strangely I got the feeling people were not so friendly there, but maybe it were only some local youngsters there that gave me some odd glances.)
Next day is Day 5.