Today was another mixed bag of awesome in the Italian Dolomites.  In the morning, some of the group enjoyed an international horse-jumping event, one (not me!) went on a vigorous bike ride and we all reconvened for a lovely lunch on a covered patio of a local restaurant.  I’m becoming hooked on these grande salads they offer.

grande-salad-in-italy

A meal in itself

For the afternoon, we made our way up different routes to another beautifully situated rifugio, and Gary guided most of the group through a fascinating outdoor museum of World War I trenches, stone walls and fortifications along a ruggedly beautiful walking path.  In some cases, manikins are installed to illustrate the conditions and warfare experienced by the soldiers embattled in defending or besieging the critical Dolomites region during the war.

wwi-outdoor-musem-dolomites-italy

Old trenches and fortifications from WWI, Dolomites, photo G. Scott

Once we were all happily together again after our varying and satisfying degrees of outdoor exertion, we ordered wine – of course! – beer, and a bountiful platter of speck (the local name for ham and prosciutto) while we awaited our dinner, high atop a mountain with sweeping views.

“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.” John Ruskin

We all watched, mesmerized, as two rock climbers started their ascent of the main rock/tower of the Cinque Torri and made their way up to the top in a late afternoon glow.  As Gary explained the skill and teamwork involved in the climb up and the belay down, we ate our delicious meals and watched the pair as they carefully yet fairly quickly make their way down in the fading light.   Our own mountain style of “dinner theater”.  It was such a bonus to have an experienced rock climber as a guide and dinner companion.  But we were all a bit skeptical when he likened it to an afternoon of golf! One wrong move and you’re above par, but here…? Hmmm. Mistakes aren’t so easily forgiven.

“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” William Blake

climbers-on-the-cinque-torri-dolomites-italy

Our very own climbing drama stage in the alpenglow of the Dolomites, photo G. Scott

We donned our packs and trekking poles and headed down through flowered green hills to our trusty van parked conveniently below.  A fox obligingly darted across the road in front of us as we were contemplating what, if any, wildlife, we might be able to spot in the Dolomites.  I’m beginning to like this place ;) That, if you didn’t catch it, was an understatement.

cinque-torri-dolomites-italy

The Cinque Torri, Dolomites, Italy

Photos by Gina Stark except where mentioned

For more Dolomites photos and hiking, see Hiking Italy: Delving Into the Dolomites

Follow our fab guide Gary on Twitter @DolomitesGuide and view his trips here: Right Path Adventures

 

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Thelonius Bostik July 16, 2011 at 9:36 am

what a truly fabulous article! i got ya followed on twitter; your blog is sensational.

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Gina SuuperG Stark July 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

Thank you so muuchly! And grazie ;) Please let me know who you are on Twitter…I kinda have a few followers ;}} hard to keep track if I don't list you! Cheers and ciao! Gina

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stefan July 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

love your blog Gina ….. you are the best!!! yes you are …… a big big hug from Italy ciaoooooooooooooooooooo

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Gina SuuperG Stark July 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Ciao Stefan!! Thank you molto muuchly for stopping by my blog! You and your lovely hotel were such a welcoming and wonderful part of my Dolomites experience :) I love the fairy lights in the sauna. I almost melted because I couldnt tear myself away from them! haha. Thanks for the effusive Italian huugs! Ciaaoooo for now! G

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Irina July 18, 2011 at 6:30 am

Beautifully written,photographed and packaged – makes me realize how much more enhanced traveling can be with a cool experienced guide at the helm…

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Gina SuuperG Stark July 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Thank you and grazie! It was such a treat to have all minutiae handled by someone who knows hiking and knows the area. We should all go back together! :) xoxo G

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-j- July 20, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Wow. I'm very small. I can fit in a backpack. I'm just sayin'. xo

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Gina SuuperG Stark July 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

;) heehee Hi Judy. Thanks for visiting…it was a suuperb trip and I hope to return again some day soonly! :) G

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ccjamess July 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

Followed you over here from twitter and am glad I did. That's so amazing!
Clover Autrey aka CC James

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Gina SuuperG Stark July 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Golly! I thought I replied to your sweet comment and visit :) Thank you! It really was amazing and I recommend the Dolomites as a get-out-there-and-do-it vacation :) Thank you for following me and reading about my adventures (and some misadventures too! :D ) Cheers n ciao, Gina

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LunaJune August 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

WOW I'm going to Italy in 3 weeks… will have to look and see if this area is on our tour….

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Gina SuuperG Stark August 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Helloooo beautiful poetic Luna June! I SO recommend this region! Let me know if you'd like info on our guide, Gary Scott. He's still running weekly tours. I could have savored Italy for the entire summer! Where are you going? Let me know if you'd like suggestions, etc. If you'll be in Venice, DO try to get to the outlying island of Burano (not Murano – even tho it's very nice) but BURANO! So colorful! You can see more photos in my Facebook albums: Burano > https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2205069… and more Dolomites > https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2260305… Thanks for popping over. Cheers and Ciao! Gina

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Stefan March 31, 2014 at 12:37 am

bacio dall'Italia

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Gina SuuperG Stark April 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Bacio dall'California! :)

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