Venice, Italy to Lienz, Austria

Day 83 – Thursday 15/07
At sea on-board the Europa Palace.

We did pretty much nothing today. Got up early to watch the sunrise over Albania while we docked in Corfu harbor to take on more passengers. The rest of the time we just walked around the ship, ate, drank and watched all the films we had downloaded a few weeks ago.

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Sunrise over Albania with a large four mast boat coming in to harbor.

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Corfu harbor. Click to view larger.

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Leaving Corfu and the Greek waters.

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Sunset in the middle of the Adriatic sea.

Day 84 – Friday 16/07
Venice to Ferra d’ Alpago – 94kms Total 3925kms

The ship seemed to take the scenic route through Venice. It really seemed strange for such a huge ship to sail through the canals, we could imagine sitting outside a cafe with our cappuccino and watching such a big ship sail by a few meters from shore.
Anyway once on shore we made our way to the tourist office got the map and information we needed to get out of town and did. It was quite easy to get out of Venice with very good roads and behaved drivers.
But as the day progressed it got very hot with the temperature toping off at 42c by the afternoon.
The day also became extremely difficult  because of the steep climb we had to do (after 65kms flat) before the camping at Ferra d’Alpago. It would not have been so bad if it were early in the day but the heat and late afternoon climb really took its toll.
This camping is ok for Italian standards and we were too tired to cook this evening so checked out the restaurant which turned out to be pretty good and fairly priced.

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Coming in to Venice guided by a couple of tug boats.

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Beautiful colored houses near the main canal.

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Santa Maria Elisabetta.

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Sant Elena.

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Canal behind Sant Elena.

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This huge ship really need two tug boats to guide it through the canal.

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And the nice yachts near Rio de LÁrsenal. Click to view larger.

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Piazza San Marco.

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San Giorgio Maggiore.

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Santa Maria del Rosario.

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We really loved the mini cruise and will most likely be sailing this route again. Greece has not seen the last of us.

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On the SS11 heading for the mainland.

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Beautiful land house in Treviso,

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were we stopped for some refreshing watermelon.

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One of the entrances to the old city.

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On the SS13 heading for the hills.

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Which were getting bigger and bigger.

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After San Martino we got on the SS51 and started to climb.

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With the A27 overhead.

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By late afternoon the heat was really taking its toll.

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And by early evening we reached the high-point of the day. It wasn’t very high but the heat and the climb at the end of the day was tough.

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Finally made it to Lago di Santa Croce and the camping in Farra DÁlpago.

Day 85 – Saturday 17/07
Ferra DÁlpago to Cortina – 75kms Total 4000kms

Woke up and on the road by 07:15. This morning we met and briefly chatted with two like minded guys from Hungary doing a loop of the Dolomites.
The roads and weather today were perfect. The climbing started soon after leaving camp on the SS51 and after a while we had to go through two tunnels first was 2.5kms and the second was 1.5kms long. It was not a very nice experience because of all the traffic, noise and pollution from the lack of ventilation.
The hard climb began right after Piere di Cadore with a lot of traffic which got Monique very nervous. It didn’t last long and soon we found a greenways cycling path which took us all the way to Cortina.
Even with the nice cycling path the climbing was relentless, we just kept going up and up at a steady pace.
The views were nothing less than spectacular, we had never before seen let alone rode along such high and rugged mountains. We had also never sweated so much while cycling before in the past couple of days either. We highly recommend riding around this area, guaranteed you will not be disappointed. Today we reached another milestone 4000 kilometers 🙂
Camping in Cortina is very good.

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The two like minded Hungarian cyclists we met yesterday evening. They were in a real hurry yesterday while climbing and missed the turnoff to the camping and ended up riding all around the lake before finding the camping. We did drop the hint to slow down a bit 🙂

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The beginning of the beautiful National Park.

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Just great to see these beautiful rugged mountains.

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Looking back down the valley.

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Just beautiful.

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We stayed on the SS51 for most of the day.

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Some sections were a bit steep.

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But the views just kept getting better.

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Once on the cycling path it was just cycling heaven.

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Difficult to find a better cycling experience.

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This route was complete with well lit old disused railroad tunnels.

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This area is a must for anyone touring on a bicycle.

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Complete contrast to where we were a few days ago.

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Even the old railway stations were kept up.

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Cortina is just a few more kilometers up the valley to the left.

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Finally at the beautiful camping near Cortina.

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This night we slept good.

Day 86 – Sunday 18/07
Cortina to Dobbiaco – 37kms Total 4037kms

It had started to rain late last night pretty heavy and it continued on and off until 09:00 when we left camp. We rode into Cortina which seemed to be overrun by tourists and after the usual tourist  pictures we got onto the most beautiful cycling greenways path ever to date. Around every bend of the road was the most spectacular views of high jagged mountains. The path itself was packed gravel with some sections that were clearly washed away with huge boulders which we had to walk our bikes around. The pictures that we’ve put on this page do not do this place justice it really is the best cycling path. We cannot recommend this route enough.
Most of the day was cloudy as the pictures show but still a fantastic ride.
The first camping we came to was crap so we went a bit further and checked out camping Olympia which claims 4 stars. Off coarse everything is polished. Ok for one night though.

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Looking back at last nights camping and the valley we rode up.

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The road to Cortina.

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Cortina center.

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Cortina center.

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Back on the disused railroad line.

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And the great views.

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A few kilometers out of Cortina and the cycling path turned to packed gravel.

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We just loved the easy gradient of this climb.

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We were already thinking when will be coming back here.

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Cycling heaven.

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There were plenty of day riders along this beautiful route.

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We had to put on jackets while riding through the cold tunnels.

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We also had to cross an old bridge.

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Just enjoying this fantastic ride.

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The old bridge we had crossed.

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We stopped at this old station,

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for lunch and an extended break to just take it all in.

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Lago Bianco.

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Finally the top, we really din’t feel like we climbed that high.

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The sign says it, we left Veneto and entered Trentino-Alto Adige/South Tyrol.

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And the downhill began.

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Some sections of the cycling path were washed out which forced us to push the bikes up the steep banks.

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One thing we found was that this side of the hill is a bit cooler.

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Another washed out section, it was impossible to cycle these parts.

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We found out that these peaks were a magnet for climbers.

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A close up of the peaks.

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They seem to be very popular among climbers with many routes to choose from.

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Taking another breather.

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More great cycling.

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I had to wait for Monique while she visited an old WWI cemetery.

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Looking back from the SS51 near Seghe, at the velley we rode down from.

Day 87 – Monday 19/07
Bobbiaco, Italy to Lienz, Austria – 53kms Total 4090kms

We finally got under way by 08:15. We got into town, found the cycling path and soon got a very pleasant surprise, the whole way to Lienz would be downhill, from around 1200m to 670m WOW
The whole day was great with fine weather and beautiful views of distant mountains. This cycling path seems very popular especially with families as they have many bike rental shops and regular trains with as many cars for bikes as they had for passengers.
Bottom line is this whole area is just set up for cyclists and hikers, very nice indeed.

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A beautiful start to the day, sunny weather, smooth cycling path and over 50 kilometers of a gradual downhill.

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We will definitely be coming back here.

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The views of the huge rugged mountains in the distance were great.

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Nice wood carving of mountain goats along the way.

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And of Marmots.

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And lets not forget the castles.

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The great cycling path continued.

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And another wood carving, this one of fish.

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Before Lienz we rode a few kilometers through some nice woods.

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Looking from Lienz at the valley we rode down.

Riding through the Dolomite’s was one of the best cycling experiences we have had, ever. We will definitely be coming back here to explore more of this beautiful area.

Continue on to Lienz, Austria to Innsbruck, Austria.