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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

June 26th: Cortina d'Ampezzo to Brunico

 We woke up in the morning, had breakfast, loaded up the bike, and walked up to where the bike path begin, and who would pull up but Lukas! But he forgot my wallet! He promised he'd mail it to my hotel in Zurich. He would eventually do so, but not without spending all the cash in the wallet for a DHL overnight delivery.

The bike path out of Cortina starts out being paved, but soon turned into a dirt road, on a retired railroad grade. The nice thing about the railroad grade is that there's relatively little climbing, but the unfortunate part was that it was relentless. The views of the Dolomites was pretty impressive though!

The route went through no less than 3 tunnels, and it was clearly a much easier route than Tre Croci would have been.

When we got to the Cimabanche pass, Xiaoqin was quite mad at me as she didn't enjoy the dirt road. In retrospect, we should have gone over Tre Croci. While the Cimabanche pass was praised by websites, the websites that praised it weren't enthusiastic cyclists, and the bus to Misurina didn't run very often, nor could I find a taxi that would take us.

Following the bike path, we found the view of Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, a hiking destination very similar to the hike that Lukas had taken us on. It would have been a nice hike from Misurina, but we were now committed to riding to Toblach at the very least.

We ended up having lunch at Ristorant al Lago on the Toblachersee, crowded but with good views of the lake. There, I found an apartment in downtown Brunico, a place that was worth staying at because of the Messner Mountain Museum Arturo had showed me last time. I figured Bowen and Boen might enjoy it.
The ride to Brunico was lovely, easy descents, wide open vistas, and quiet bike paths separated from traffic most of the time. The views were very similar to Austria, this part of Italy having been part of Austria once upon a time.

I noted that we passed through Niederolang, where Arturo and I stayed during the 2016 Tour of the Alps. Upon reaching Bruneck, we found the apartment but nobody came to give us the key, with the owner giving me excuse after excuse when I called him about his kid being at the hospital. When I finally reached out to's support staff, I finally got a call on WhatsApp from his daughter, who explained to me that the apartment wasn't clean. I told them that we just needed a place to park our bikes and leave our luggage while they cleaned the apartment. So her brother came out to take us to the parking garage, where I left the luggage.

The kids and Xiaoqin went to get ice cream, and then I walked the kids up the hill to the Messner Mountain Museum. Xiaoqin declined to walk up the steep grade, a decision that turned out to be fortuitous because we weren't 15 minutes into the museum when the apartment owners called and declared that the apartment was now clean, and practically demanded that we show up right away to claim the key. Since Xiaoqin was 2 blocks away from them, it all worked out.

Unfortunately, the kids didn't like the Messner Mountain Museum at all, but they explored every nook and cranny of it before declaring their dislike for the place. After that, we went back to the apartment, took showers, and got cleaned up. It being a Sunday, the town was pretty dead, the only restaurants being run by immigrants, but a pizza place nearby was open. We had some pretty good pizza and shopped for breakfast the next morning while the supermarket was open.
Xiaoqin declared that she didn't have a good day at all, and said she wanted to take the train the next day. We went to bed thankful that while it was warm, the apartment itself was relatively cool and despite having no AC we could sleep quite well.

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