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Lunching at Lago Misurina

10 Aug

Lunching at Lago Misurina

This is where we celebrated the end of our six day journey from west to east in the Dolomites. Lago Misurina is about a 20-minute drive from Cortina. A beautiful still, glassy lake surrounded by high peaks and tall fir trees.

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We ate at that inn right around the bend.

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Back at Hotel Menardi we bade farewell to each other, our trio through the mountains.

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Back at the hotel I sat out on that lovely green back lawn and let the fresh breezes and the sun relax my bones. I thought about my kids and how much I wanted them to be here to share the experience with me.

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Happy feet.

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Just gazing up at the sky congratulating myself on completing my hike.

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Then one more delicious dinner in the hotel dining room before packing for an early departure. Next stop:  Venice.

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A Walk into Town

7 Aug

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Cortina…pedestrian walkway. The golden color of some of the buildings indicates a shift in culture from the greater Tyrolean influence in the towns to the west. This town feels more Italian, although there is certainly a mix of styles. The church tower has straight sloping sides rather than the onion-shaped variety in Tyrolean towns.

You would think after a long hike in the higher altitudes that I would have been ready for a rest, but I wanted to see Cortina, and I needed to find a bank to replenish my Euros. Directly behind the back lawn of my little hotel there was a bike/hiking trail (paved) that led into the downtown with a 10-minute walk. I went for a stroll.

I walked up the sloping lawn of the quaint Hotel Menardi (which I highly recommend).

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Here I hopped onto the bike path. This path is a old rail line that has been transformed into a greenway. It goes for miles and miles in each direction. Speaking of rails, Cortina eliminated its trains and train station years ago. Public transportation to and from the city is only by bus.

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I got an intimate view of people’s houses and yards as I walked along.

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Before I hit the pedestrian zone there was a tiny little park with this small fountain.

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For the first time on this trip I passed frescoed walls, so Italian.

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I stopped in at the church where the organist was practicing. It was wonderful to hear the powerful sounds resounding through the church.

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Several mountain bikers made their way home through the pedestrian zone late in the day.

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Standing outside the Cooperativa, the big store in Cortina.

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A colorful house, “Ciasa” (chyaza) is house in Ladin.

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These banners represent the various allegiances of the people in this region. From Left to Right:

the flags of Veneto (state), Italy, the European Union, and the Ladin people.

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Sun sets on the rooftops of Cortina.

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On the way back to the hotel the surrounding mountains are lit with late afternoon Alpenglow.

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So glad to be back for the night at my Cortina home, Hotel Menardi.

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More Lagazuoi

4 Aug

More Lagazuoi

At the Rifugio I had the time to change to a zoom lens to capture more detail in the surrounding mountains. Here are a few of the photos.

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Changing Valleys

21 Jul

Changing Valleys

Hard as it was to leave the comfortable environs in Ortisei, Val Gardena, we had to move eastward to our next location in Val Badia. Early in the morning we headed out driven by our guide Marion. The car climbed upward on hairpin turns to the Passo Gardena, which was the divider between between the two valleys. When we came down the other side we were in a new area and we headed for the tiny town of Colfosco, our home for the next two nights. Marion’s family owns an inn and a sports equipment shop. We stayed there at the Hotel Garni Bel Air. Here I am at Passo Gardena wrapped up in layers on my first day out after being very ill with a fever and URI. Early in the morning the skies were threatening and didn’t promise good weather for today’s hike. Notice the mountain biker. They are everywhere. I have great respect for the vitality and endurance of these bikers. The only thing harder than climbing these mountain paths is biking up them. Also notice the small church. It doesn’t matter how high or how remote the location, you can always find a church or a chapel in the vicinity. The next few photos are not the best quality because I shot them from the car while Marion was driving.

There are always tunnels.

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Driving on these high mountain roads can be unnerving when you have to share them with large trucks (lorries, as they say).

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The weather did not look at all good as we approached Passo Gardena.

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It was definitely raining over there.

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We were near the top of the pass and here you can get a good look at the dolomite rock, which can have a pinkish cast in certain light conditions. This rock was once seabed and contains the remains of coral reefs.

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A lone biker under overcast skies.

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Back in the car we headed down into Val Badia. Here is a good view of the hairpin turns that Marion had to navigate.

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And we arrived. Alta Badia is a section of the Val Badia. Notice the Welcome sign in three languages: here in Ladin, then Italian, and German.

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Every town has three names in the three main languages. Here is our destination in German, Ladin, and Italian. We always called it Colfosco.

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Our new abode.

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And the Posch Sport store. Remember Marion was a Olympic gold medalist in snowboarding.

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I noticed the greenway over the road and assumed it was for animals crossing, just like the ones over the Autobahn in Germany. Not so. This is a ski run.

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Then we met Lucky, their dog. The Posch family always had black dogs and they always named them Blackie. When they got their newest pup, he wasn’t black, so they couldn’t use that name. Lucky sounded close enough to Blackie and it fit.

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Here is Marion Posch with her shy nephew. Marion never ceased to amaze with her stamina, her linguistic abilities and her vast knowledge of the area.

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Südtirol Elegance and Hospitality

20 Jul

Südtirol Elegance and Hospitality

Only two nights in the lovely Hotel Grones in Ortisei, Italy. That’s all that I had. What an experience in lovely surroundings in a beautiful town. They had an elegant dining room where we ate breakfast and dinner. There were three menu entrees and then there was a big buffet to supplement. The second night at dinner there was a dessert buffet, the biggest that I’ve ever seen. It was divided more or less into three sections. I cannot eat wheat so I ignored the cake section which took up half the area. I focused on the fresh fruit, so many kinds, with several different sauces to choose from, among them chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, peach sauce. Then there were the mousses: dark chocolate mousse, chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse, lemon mousse, creme brulee. I wish I had a photo to give it justice. The tiramisu was to die for, but not for me with my gluten intolerance. Everything was handled with precision and Gemütlichkeit. Pictured here in the dining room are the mother and daughter of the Grones family in traditional dress.

This was my room for two nights. It was so spacious and elegant. All for me! If I had been a kid, I would have jumped up and down on the bed.

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Here was the terrace for sitting and sunning.

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The patio with the towering Sasso Lungo standing sentinel over the valley.

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Every day orchids on the table.

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Our charming maitre d who hailed from Slovakia.

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One of the servers, always smiling and helpful.

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The lobby and bar.

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The pool and spa. Unfortunately I was too sick to appreciate this.

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I could have spent an entire week here. If you are planning a trip to the Dolomites, I highly recommend Hotel Grones in Ortisei.

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