Our first full day of biking dawned clear and bright as we left our 4 star Hotel Ancora in Cortina, a beautiful town in the heart of the Dolomites. Cortina hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, many world cup events and was the site of several motion pictures. Much of the '63 classic "Pink Panther" was filmed in Cortina, as was the stunt scene in James Bond's "For Your Eyes Only" with Roger Moore on skies being chased by gunners on spiked-wheeled motorcycles, and several scenes in the film "Cliffhanger".
We rode mainly on bike paths through beautiful green valleys and mountain towns.
We passed near this ski jump which looked intimidating even from a distance.
Occasionally we had to stop to check our maps and refuel.
And of course snap a picture of a distant church nestled in the mountains on the edge of a village.
But for me always, the most compelling thing was the incredible beauty of the mountains.
This made me a slow biker as I stopped frequently to snap a photo. My wonderful husband tolerated this and would stop and wait.
The clouds began to move in as the weather disintegrated and the scree fields on the mountains looked like pink snow.
Our riding paths though followed an old railway path which was started in 1916 during World War I to connect Cortina to Calalzo (our destination) for military purposes. Following a very bad accident in 1960 a bus replaced the train, and today the track is used as a bike path in summer and a cross-country ski trail in winter.
We finally arrived in Calalzo where our guides were creating a picnic "lunch", near a lovely alpine lake.
While they prepared, we had time for a glass of wine in the restaurant by the lake, as did our new friends, 2 couples from Colorado.
In spite of a drizzling rain, lunch was a huge success after which we were bussed back to our hotel - a perfect first day.
That night from our hotel room we were given an extra treat when I put my camera to our window.