BMW R1200 CL
I would like to introduce to you Leo. This is the name of the bike we started our tours of the Dolomites.
When spring is knocking stronger and stronger at the door everything here is in flower and the hills are covered with new greenery. This is what happened on our first tour.
We left Casan and drove down from the village (about 3 km) to the main road, which leads to Venice, the SS 51. We remained on this road and came to Lago di Santa Croce on the left; we stopped to enjoy the beautiful view. You stand in front of this dark green – blue lake, with the whole Alpago Valley and its endless small villages scattered in the distance. On the right are the high walls of the Cansiglio Plateau with its magnificent and still snowy Cavallo Mountains forming the backdrop.
Having taken in all of this beauty, we continued down the winding but well-built out road to Vittorio Veneto. Once you get to the main Piazza you feel that you have come to another climate. The air here is silky and much warmer. There are palm trees in the gardens and the vegetation is in full bloom, weeks ahead of where we live in the mountains.
In the historical part of the Piazza called Ceneda, we stopped and had a “coretto” to strengthen our nerves and loosen our limbs after the excitement of our first downhill experience. Then we drove through the city gate and turned left heading toward the Prosecco region and followed the road to the source of the world-renowned Prosecco white wine.
Once you pass the town of Revine, you will see on your left the lakes, which are ready to welcome you. You can have a swim, take the sun, or just sit around and barbecue a piece of meat on the grill that is open to the public. The road continues through old villages, winds up higher and higher through vineyards on both sides of the road. Every centimeter is planted with the precious grapes. An endless line of beautifully kept vineyards keep you company along your journey. This part of the road is rather straight and easy. It starts winding once you climb up the hills towards Valdobbiadene.
If you really want to get a special kick on your motorbike, turn sharp right just before Follina to the Passo Boldo! Be prepared not to believe your eyes, if only to observe the greatness of Italian road engineers!! You better be a very good driver!!! You are inside a snail shell– an endless tunnel that winds higher and higher into the mountain. This internal road is well hidden from prying eyes. It was a secret transportation route built by soldiers and used in wartime.
After this surely unique experience, I am sure you are ready for less excitement. Continue on the road to Cison di Valmarino. If you feel like it, take the elevator and visit the Castel Brando. It has a breathtaking view of the region that unfortunately includes the area’s industrial zone.
We stopped on the Piazza, had a well-deserved cafe latte at the bar, and fully enjoyed it. From Cison we continued to Follina where we visited the Abbazia , a beautiful 12th century cloister with a very special interior garden with columns all around it. We decided to enjoy an “ombra”, a glass of Prosecco, before heading back to the Osteria on the Piazza. Now we were ready to head back.
Once we passed Vittorio Veneto we started driving up the winding road to the Fadalto Pass. You must travel under these gigantic highway bridges. Only when you are under them do you realize how impressive they are. You pass the Lago Morto and see the power plant, which collects water from the Dolomite Rivers, mainly the Piave and its tributaries and pumps it down to the plains below.
Once you reach the Fadalto Pass, everything changes. The wind gets stronger and colder; the palm trees disappear and the vegetation lags behind the region you just visited by at least a month. Now a window to the Dolomites opens before your eyes. You do not see them well yet but you notice that there are high mountains on the horizon. The view to the Lake Santa Croce opens up and you feel the strong afternoon wind pushing up from Venice that blows through this passage towards the mountains.
We drove down the winding pass, turned to the right, and drove through the tunnel along the lake. Wind surfers and gliders were shooting over the lake with breathtaking speed.
Another few turns up the mountain and we arrived back home shortly afterwards. We were proud and happy of our first bike experience. Only then, we realized how hungry we were. I rushed to the kitchen and prepared a hearty dish of ”Polenta and Scott” with a good glass of our local Cabernet Franc red wine. Salute, cin, cin!!!