Saturday, October 16, 2010

WWI Tunnels

Determined to spend a day outside, we drove with our friends Pat and Jordana through 2 hours of pouring rain (which then turned unexpectedly to snow), in order to hike through the World War I tunnels at Falzareggo Pass.  In blizzard conditions, we almost drove back home.  But when we saw that the gondola was still running, we decided to ride it to the top anyway.  It turned out to be an awesome day and by the time we emerged from the tunnels the weather had cleared.  

The moral of the story: don't cancel outdoor plans just because it's raining.

The gondola ride took us up about 1000 meters in 4 minutes.

Pat at the summit

 From the summit, we hiked for about 15 minutes to get to the entrance to the tunnels.

 Even with the bad weather, we weren't alone.  This is the norm in the Dolomites.

 Barbed wire left over from the Great War.

 Pat and Jordana just before entering the tunnels.  You can see the incredibly steep terrain the Austrians defended.

Tens of thousands of Italian and Austrian soldiers died fighting in the Dolomites.  According to our guidebook, more troops died from avalanches in the Dolomites than died of poison gas during the war.

We descended through the tunnels for almost 2 hours.  We spent lots of time wondering how troops got food and other supplies during the harsh winters.

Headlamps were required, but every so often a window offered some light and amazing views of the cliffs and the valley below.

 At the lower end of the tunnels, we escaped to Martini Ledge, which was a crucial position for the Italians.

The weather cleared a bit and we had sweet views.

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