Italy: Dolomites with Motorbikes, Day 3
Plan for our third day was to ride a couple of hours to Falzarego Pass, then hike to Lagazuoi Piccolo, and after that return back to our base in Laives, using a different route.
|On our way towards Kastelruth|
|Through the Urtijëi / St. Ulrich in Gröden / Ortisei|
|Towards Gardena Pass, 2136 m. Hate the part in wikipedia "The route becomes busy with tourists, motorcyclists, and cyclists during the summer.", which was true.|
|Lago di Valparola, just before Falzarego Pass|
Just after noon we arrived to Falzarego Pass, where we parked our bikes, changed the shoes and clothes, and we were ready to conquer the Lagazuoi Piccolo, known for its World War I wartime tunnels.
History (from http://www.grandeguerra.dolomiti.org/EN/dettaglio2.htm):
On the 20th October, 1915 an Alpine platoon reached the Lagazuoi ledge, the wide rock ledge situated halfway up the mountain , surprisingly neglected by the Austrians.
The Martini Ledge, named after the commander of the battalion who occupied it, became a thorn in the side for the Austrian forces. From here, the Italian troops, with impunity, could fire at the Austrian trenches on the Valparola Pass from above, with machine guns and hand grenades.
However, both contenders had by then realised the futility of traditional combats, utterly ineffective against emplacements protected by barbed wire fencing and machine guns.
Both the armies started digging the rocks inside the mountain to provide shelters for men and weapons, necessary to survive, and made Lagazuoi into the new fortress of the Twentieth century.
Following the first excavation works, it was soon realised that the only way to conquer the adversary's fortified emplacements was by digging a tunnel. Once the tunnel was close enough to the enemy, it could be filled with explosives to blow up their positions.
Five "mines" were detonated, four by the Austrian forces against the Martini ledge, and one by the Italians to conquer Lagazuoi. The results of these explosions are still clearly visible on the landscape: the two mine craters on the mountain face and the two large screes at its base, not present on the photographs taken before the war. Also mine explosions proved to be basically ineffective, ensuring only marginal tactic advantages for both armies.
In October, 1917 the Austrian German offensive of Caporetto caused the retreat of the Italian army to the line of Grappa and the Piave; as a consequence the Dolomite front was abandoned, together with the cyclopean works created in the heart of the mountain.
|Ready to conquer Lagazuoi Piccolo, 2778 m|
|The illustration shows the location of the first 10 gallery systems on Piccolo Lagazuoi. Red - Italian Tunnels, Blue - Austrian tunnels. Read more on this link.|
|You can also reach the mountain as a normal tourist, with a cable car.|
|Left, towards the tunnels|
|Kralj, Mrki, Ana and me just before we went into the mountain|
Somewhere in the middle of the mountain
|Out of the tunnels|
|View from Rifugio Lagazuoi|
Me and Borut went all the way to the top of Lagazuoi Piccolo. Primož gave me a flower at the bottom and I brought it here for him (left photo).
|Back to Rifugio Lagazuoi|
|Lunch & beer time at the top. They serve only till 15:00.|
Back to our motorbikes, to Falzarego Pass
|Near Pordoi Pass, 2239 m|
A lot of traffic on our way back to our base, also a little bit of rain.
|Short break for navigational adjustments|
Nice 250 km circle