If the mention of Cortina conjures up thoughts of your salesman dad’s old Ford you’d be delighted to see several in town. The Cortinas to Cortina has been a rally for the dedicated and the unhinged that celebrated the 30th, 40th and even 50th year of the once iconic company car. Hopefully all the drivers worn wing collared shirts, open to the waist, and some serious bell bottoms.
They weren’t the only old cars in town though – there seemed to be an old British car club event, and a super car event in this, the gem of the Dolomites. The skiers’ mecca has become one for petrol heads today.
We didn’t need to come through Cortina, but once I saw that the detour was only a hundred miles or so I had to do it. Dad was stationed here at the end of WW2 and he needed little encouragement to talk passionately about the place.
I’m so glad I did. I was driving along watching the awesome sight of the craggy Dolomites looming up on my right when the road to Cortina swung that way. Yes!
At the bottom of the climb is the lovely lake at Dobaccio where we took an hour or so to stroll around the lake. Just like any British attraction it was crowded at the car park, but within 20 minutes walk it felt as if it was all ours.
Feeling strong and refreshed we continued the climb, and envied the cyclists flying down the 28 kms between Cortina and Dobaccio. There’s only one climb in the whole ride back down to Dobbacio, and there’s a bus to take you and your bike up to Cortina – what a great idea.
I’ve only driven 60 miles today and it’s the first time I’ve arrived somewhere not utterly knackered. My Park4night app suggests Rochetta, a camp site only a couple of kms from the centre, and within no time we’re there, parked up, and having a cup of tea with a couple from Perranwell in Cornwall. Roger and his wife have only taken to van life this year – in their 70s. Good on them!
From the site there’s a 30 minute brisk walk across fields up to town, where we arrive to feel positively scruffy. This place is seriously wealthy and attracts the rich and famous. Fortunately they all like Polly and don’t notice the state of her human. Being in a strange place means Polly’s behaviour is impeccable, sitting politely for admirers. Oh thank you sweet Dog.
After gazing into shops selling things I wouldn’t know what to do with we sauntered back to the excellent campsite. This is the best I’ve stayed at so far. A good quiet site (Italian sites can be pretty rowdy places), a huge shower and toilet block with good hot showers.
And when I first went to the loo The Doors were playing, a later visit was accompanied by some fine operatic aria, and again by Shane McGowan. My toilet time is rarely as cultural!
Saturday has been a necessary rest day. Driving can take it out of you when you’re out of practise.
After a slow start, and a big walk up a massive hill, back at ArchieVan I cooked up a decent dinner while Polly slept. And soon I’ll be sleeping too. It’ll be an early start and we should be in Slovenia tomorrow afternoon.
Cortina – you are beautiful and deserve your riches. I hope to return and explore more, a spring walking trip especially appeals.