And now on to the final day of our Alta Via hike:
I had left off where we were enjoying food & wine at our last hut on the Alta Via 1, Rifugio Laguzoi. We had really enjoyed the huts, but were also excited to get back to civilization. Our hike out was to access Falzarelli Pass via the Laguzoi Galleries (tunnels), then an additional hike up to Rifugio Nuvolau for lunch. The tunnels were going to have Via Ferrata – David was psyched!
But first, we woke up to discover… it had snowed during the night!
And was still snowing! Cold couple in their PJs:
So now we had experienced everything – sun, rain, snow and hail! Mountains are unpredictable. The clouds here were kind of crazy.
After our usual Euro breakfast, we bundled up eagerly for our first real Via Ferrata experience.
We started down a path marked “difficult” that included some iron chords and was tricky to descend to to the snowy & wet conditions. Curious that we were the only ones going on this trail…
We soon made it to the tunnel entrance and put on our head-strap lights.
We had checked the map outside, but noticed it had a maze of tunnels, not just one. We decided to stick to the “spiral gallerie” and hope not to get lost.
The tunnel was pretty dark, but had openings every now and then to see where you were.
The Italians had built the tunnel to blow up the Austrian base, but when the Austrians heard tunnel construction, they left, so the tunnels were all for nothing! It was crazy that this was all done by hand. There were a number of historical markers/info in the tunnel, so it was pretty informative. We went down a really long way, and were the only ones there the whole time – creepy, but cool! After exiting the tunnel, we continued down a series of switchbacks with more Via Ferrata.
We made it down to a Fazorelli Pass, a bus station with restaurant, then decided to continue hiking on Route 441 to Rifugio Nuvolou for lunch.
Down at the lower elevations, it was muddy and there were a lot more people around. We had to change clothing a few times, and the path was steep with areas of scrambling involved.
I was getting cranky; can you blame me? We would have to hike back down the same route for the return trip to the bus stop. Luckily, the clouds parted right when we got to Rifugio Nuvolou (which means cloud) and we saw some stunning views to the north.
We snapped pictures, then stopped for lunch at the Rifugio and had a quick Spaghetti Ragu as the temperatures started to drop again.
I was really tired, so we took a detour to Rifugio Sciolleti and took the lift down. David kind of scoffed at thelift cost at 7 Euros each, but I really didn’t care at that point; thank goodness for a short cut!
We got down to the bus and waited in the rain, and I snagged one of my favorite pictures ever of my sweetie.
Thank goodness we eventually caught a bus, we didn’t have much of a back up plan or any other means of transportation except hitch-hiking.
We bused back to our Cortina hotel and took a well deserved nap and washed our clothes. We only ventured out to the nearby Pizzeria for dinner since it was quite rainy and cold out. The following day was an 8 hour car ride to Zermatt via Milan. I’ll spare you the details – see you next in Switzerland!