Saturday July 3, 2004, 62 km (39 miles) – Total so far: 507 km (315 miles)
We had a hearty breakfast in our expensive hotel in Cavalese before heading further into the Dolomites and our next mountain pass. The Passo di San Pelligrino turned out to be not nearly as tough as Monte Bondone despite being a few hundred meters higher. We stopped for a picnic on the ascent and for a coffee at the summit where we admired the spectacular views. The area is popular with skiers in the winter and there were a few lifts open taking walkers up to the high peaks.
The roll down to Alleghe was great fun, not so many hairpin bends as our previous descents so less braking and easier on the hands. Alleghe itself is a renowned tourist and ski resort with a picturesque lake – apparently in winter you can skate on its frozen surface.
We had a nice meal in a lakeside restaurant where they were setting the place up for a massive celebration, maybe there’s a wedding tomorrow?
It’s pretty common in Europe that restaurants offer you a complimentary apéritifs or digestif, and in this part of Italy it’s usually grappa. Grappa is some sort of a grape-based brandy that smells and tastes like the stuff you clean paint brushes with. This evening’s grappa was unusual in that it was actually drinkable. It was laced with berries and honey which made it nice and sweet.