Monday, July 16, 2018

Back to the best place on Earth

One of the reasons to move to Europe was to be close to the Dolomiti - my favorite place on earth.

On June 30, we departed for a ten day trip, which was a six hour drive from Zurich through the Swiss Alps, Lichtenstein, Austria and the Pustertal to arrive in Sesto.

We left around 7:30 am to pick up our rental van and th n made our journey - arriving around 4:00 pm. We made a lunch stop in the mountains in Austria, where rest stops are fairly regularly seen on the highway.

Our home for the first four nights is the Hotel Monika. We enjoyed a walk before dinner and our beautiful half board meal in five courses.

July 1

Today’s walk - 23km with over 1000m vertical gain/loss from Sesto. Route 12a, 105 to Dreischusterhütte for lunch then 105 down, and 1b across to Sesto. Magnificent - and hard. It’s a little used route so lots of bushwhacking in the forest and climbing over trees and through scree. Only one big snowbank to navigate.

July 2

Today a redux of my favorite day hike ever. Fischental route 103 up to route 101 to Dreizinnenhüte and back down 102. Not to be outdone by yesterday, we did 24km and 2k meters of elevation. My feet are now officially hamburger. We had one thunderstorm around 3pm and another just as we were finishing.

July 3

We managed to sneak in about 12km and 400m vertical before a mega epic thunderstorm rolled in. From the Monte Croce/Kreutzberg pass, we climbed to the flanks of Croda Rosa and then traversed across to the ski lift above Bad Moos. We just finished lunch when the weather turned. So, we scurried to the ski lift and rode down where we caught the bus just before the skies opened. Even the 1/2 kilometer from bus stop to hotel left us soaked through. A fun time was had by all.

July 4

Today we did a very touristy hike circling Lago di Braies before moving home base to La Villa in Val Badia. We checked into our second hotel - Hotel Cristallo. We had dinner at a very Ladin restaurant - Lac da Sompunt. The smoked meat platter was delicious. Rick had a ravioli that was the best. My polenta wasn’t bad either.

July 5

Some snaps from our mostly grey ride around the Sella Ronda today. We went clockwise this time which revealed a completely new ride to us. Glad to have done it. And, I think I rode stronger overall than our last trip when I was still a competitive cyclist. Not fast, but feisty. Yay for general fitness. Passes were Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella, Gardena riding from La Villa/Stern/La Ila. At the top of Gardena, the skies opened and let loose some serious hail and rain. We are now drying out all our gear for tomorrow.

July 6

Today started with an aborted bike ride. I got about 5km into the rain and cold before bailing. It’s vacation, not training, after all. We waited an hour to see if it would let up, then took a rainy walk to Corvara for coffee. If things improved, we had a hiking route selected, but no. So, we walked around some more and had lunch. We walked back to the hotel mid-afternoon. Erika had gone for the whole route cycling, since it was her last full day. We ended our day with an epic meal at St Hubertus.

July 7 

Today we said arrivaderci to Erika and did a hike that would allow us chances for the view that made me fall in love with the Dolomiti 14 years ago. Sassongher standing as a sentinel over Corvara and Val Badia. Routes 24,30,25,27. The skies were only somewhat cooperative, but rain stayed at bay. We finished the day with a trip to the local wine store to max out our imports back to Switzerland 🇨🇭.

July 8

Golden Hour series from our last evening. We snuck out for a short hike after dinner thanks to prompt service. It was magical.