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Our Pilgrimage to Santa Croce

22 Jul

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The dubious weather conditions made Day 3 in the Dolomites a bit if-y as far as hiking conditions went. Our plan was to hike up to the pilgrimage church of Santa Croce, underneath the peak of the same name. Donatella was our guide for the day. Here you see her and Vladimir approaching the church from below. You will also see that it was very cloudy, although I thought the cloud cover actually created more atmosphere and depth for photo taking. Following is a photo essay of the journey. We began with a chair lift from Badia. There are actually two consecutive chair lifts to Santa Croce, but we only used the first one, then hiked up the rest of the way.

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The chair lift allowed us to have a real bird’s eye view onto the farms on the hillside.

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Here is what it looked like to be sitting on the chair lift, camera securely around my neck, feet dangling over fields of wildflowers.

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We arrived at the mountain station where we begin our walk. Actually, the guide called it a walk. It felt like a trek or a climb to me. I am still trying to figure out what the teepee is doing on the mountainside in Italy.

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As I mentioned, Santa Croce is a pilgrimage church. The Stations of the Cross lead you up the trail to the church. Here is Station #3 where Jesus falls for the first time.

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Here is our guide Donatella coming up the path. You can tell judging from the teepee the steep grade of the trail, like climbing stairs, a lot of stairs. In the background is the Sella group, which forms the center of the Dolomite region.

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Here was a very unusual crucifix. Notice the absence of a body, but there is a heart, two hands, and two feet. The path at this point ran through forest.

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Two more photos looking down the trail to see how far we’ve come. It was a constant steep grade, to me at least, and this was the first day out after being sick in bed with a fever.

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This is the consistency of the rock and gravel we walked upon. It was loose, so there was always a danger of slipping, particularly on the way back down, but I never fell.

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Here is the top station of the second chair lift that we didn’t take. Here is a good view of our mountain track and the elevation grade.

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Looking back down the valley. The rain  clouds were still present, although we had not had a downpour yet.

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I was smiling with the church in view. Forested slopes, green meadows. the stark beauty of the Dolomite rock with its pink cast, and the humble church and rifugio at journey’s end.

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At the church looking back.

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Interior of Santa Croce.

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A stairway leads up to the three crosses.

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The rifugio was so welcoming with lovely potted flowers flanking the doorway.

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And inside a warm and cozy atmosphere and hearty food for travellers. Vladimir and Donatella.

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And me. While we were inside eating, it rained.

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But it stopped, when we were finished. We had time to explore the area and take more photos.

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The dolomite rock was seabed eons ago. It is made up coral, shells, and the remains of sea creatures. All over the Dolomites you can see erosion at work with the slides of scree falling away from the mountainside. In millions of years will the Dolomites be reduced to giant piles of rubble as the wind and rain and snow do their work? Donatella told me that she and her friends loved to run down the scree slides digging in their heels as they ran.

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More photos of this hike still coming.

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4 Responses to “Our Pilgrimage to Santa Croce”

  1. Reggie July 23, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    What a magnificent landscape, Rosemarie. Well done on hiking up that steep slope despite recovering from your cold. The church is beautiful.

    • Rosemarie July 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      It’s amazing what willpower can get you through. I was very sick at the time. I had a crate load of Kleenex with me.

  2. mflahertyphoto July 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Wonderful place and shots!

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