Day 6. A terrible night without sleep. The dormitory was humid and everything so dirty. I can usually live with that but last night I wasn’t able to sleep at all. After checking the time every half hour, I get up at 5.45am and sneak (more or less) with my stuff out of the room. I am getting dressed and then go outside where the sun is still fighting with the clouds to do my back exercises and some yoga. Finally fresh air! A trail runner passes by and the shepherd is already on his way with the herd of sheep.
At 7.30am my sister Claudia and I are the first ones for breakfast. A mother with her (grown up) son join us and we have a lovely chat and exchange our recommendations for the trail. As my sister, the mother has been through blisters and now her boots are also starting to loose the bottom. We decide to dump the boots at the hut, it’s now impossible to hike with them so why carry these heavy boots? The mother gets our tape and we wish each other well.
We hike down along the ridge in the direction of Belluno. Despite the clouds and mist, we can already see the town! Then a beautiful trail through the forest that ends up in a ski town and the lifts. Our first mountain, the Negeval is a well liked ski area in winter.
After a short part on the road we get onto an easy trail in the forest. We hear more and more noises, like engines being revved up in a bend. I think it’s just too many motorbikes on a Saturday but when we finally get to the street, there are guards and spectactators watching race cars speeding through the bends. Now that’s unexpected and we need to continue a tiny bit on that road! A nice Italian speaks German and discusses with the guards. We are allowed to walk fast on the grass next to the road until our trail continues. Just a bit scary, with the noise and the speed of the cars! Most of all, after 45minutes in the forest we are again at the road and would have to continue on it the last kilometers into Belluno. We have no clue how long the race will take nor where it starts or ends and my Italian is too limited to ask all of this. However I ask if we can continue to Belluno by foot and the first guard says yes. So we hike a few meters on the grass again but the second guard shouts at us and then at the other guard. We walk back and are now sent into the woods. We try to find our way when suddenly a lot of people appear. We ask about the way to Belluno and they show the street. Suddenly I understand and ask in my great Italian “auto finito?” and am advised that yes, the race is through. A few hundred metres further we understand that we saw the start of the yearly Nevegal race, the Alpe del Nevegal. They finish somewhere else so we can walk through the starting pits and the interesting atmosphere.
Another (hot) 45minutes and we are finally in Belluno. What a set with the backdrop of the Dolomites just behind the town!
We take a shower at our B&B and then walk to the sports shop where we luckily find good new boots for my sister! Now only her blisters need to heal. Some shopping for the five days ahead in the mountains and one more ice cream before heading back to the B&B to prepare ourselves. Claudia is still taking her rest day tomorrow while I hike up to the Rifugio Alpini to do the Via ferrata on Monday. Claudia will take the bus on Monday, detouring the via ferrata but hiking up close to 1800m altitude to the hut where we hopefully meet on Monday late afternoon again!
We are invited to a glass of home made Schnaps by our host and have a nice chat despite the two dogs and ten cigarettes being smoked by her.