We finally visited the Dolomites or rather South Tyrol, in the northern part of Italy where it touches Austria. These pale mountains take their name from the carbonate rock dolomite, named after the French mineralogist Déodat Gratet de Dolomieu. The most familiar peaks run in a band in the southern part of South Tyrol from Misurina to Canezai. From our base in the north, we could just see them peaking above the more familiar green Alps around us.
Distances proved to be a challenge with the 30 kilometres to Misurina from our base taking an extraordinarily long time to travel. Just when you think June was early enough to get a few spots to yourself, it turns out you needed to come in May. To say the road from Misurina to Cortina d'Ampezzo was busy is an understatement. Chaotic would be more appropriate. The short passes in the region were full of all forms of transport, much worse than Switzerland. Mostly cyclists, seemingly with a death wish. On a descent down the Falzarego Pass, a Dutch driver became daunted by a passing cyclist (no overtaking on all the passes...) and suddenly pulled off into, well not a space. This caused avoiding action by everyone else, scattering bikes into the opposing lane and mountainside.
Having driven all over the Alps we have rarely seen any problems overtaking or being overtaken by cyclists but here was very different. Not that the cars or coaches were much better. We followed a pickup being driven erratically and holding up a large group of vehicles. He couldn't negotiate any hairpins and went off the road a couple of times. All the time not exceeding 40kph. Downhill.