Up and over the Alps—the Julian Alps—via the Vrsic Pass and the Soca River Valley. I have been over my share of mountain passes, but never one with 50 hairpin turns (24 up, then 26 down). Each one is marked; so there is no denying the count of 50. And never in a large tour bus. The bus would turn ever so, s-l-o-w-l-y, around each.
Our first stop at turn #8, included a quick hike up to a little Russian chapel. A memorial to 10,000 Russian POWs who died building this mountain pass during World War I. Not killed by gunfire, but rather the elements (cold and avalanche) and illness. The chapel was built where the final casualty was found. The wood of the chapel looks like copper. It had that glow in the lowlight of the forest. I had to touch it to be sure it was wood. Beautiful and lovingly maintained.
Next stop at a mountain-top restaurant for some hot chocolate. Had to chuckle at the sign. Bikers Welcome. In the States, a Bikers Welcome sign would indicate a stop for the local Harley motorcycle club. Here, well you can see for yourself in the photo to the left. A group of French adventurers! Only know a bit of French, but a shout out of “Comment Ca Va?! (how’s it going?) to the group brought out the smiles and waving back with the comeback of, “Bien, Merci!” (good, thank-you!) We saw them buzzing past as we headed down the mountain still waving a happy good-bye.