Our 2017 Dolomiti adventure got off to a grand start. We arrived in Venice and beelined it straight to Dolomiti only slightly heartbroken that we didn’t end up with a Fiat 500 at the car rental counter. Starving, we stopped at an Autogrill off the Autostrada where I bit into a focaccia and immediately broke a bracket off my back braces complete with full-on wire stabage. What is Italian for, “Oh shit, do they have orthodontists in Italy!”
It is at this point that we realized that Fritz forgot a certain necessary over the counter medication so we start scouring every town we pass by for a Pharmacia, oh please let omeprazole be available over the counter in Italy and please let us be able to communicate this need with our incredibly limited Italian in a non-touristy area. Amazingly, we ended up with the correct medication and I was able to pry the bracket off my tooth and trim the wire with a scissors using the rear view mirror in a parking lot and we arrived in Cortina just in time to make the drive up to Passo Falzerego at sunset. It was September 4th and there was snow everywhere!
We spent the night outside of San Cassiano in my favorite mountain inn, Al Pini. I’ve stayed at this adorable little inn the last two summers and it made me so happy to see Ericka who took great care of me when I ran the Cortina Trail Ultramarathon last summer. Pretty sure she upgraded our room and we had two huge flower-filled balconies with views of the snow-capped Dolomiti peaks. We enjoyed dinner of pizza, salad, and extra bubbly Proseco and then Fritz went right to sleep while I filled up the Jacuzzi sized tub and soaked silently squealing to myself – I’m in the Dolomites again OMG!!!
We woke early and Fritz headed right out for a run (I don’t know how he does that) while I enjoyed the sunrise on the patio and tried to get oriented with all of my maps. Breakfast was croissants, cheese, and the best darned cappuccino I have ever had and then we headed to Capanna Alpina for a hike up towards Lago Lagazuoi.
It couldn’t have been much warmer than 30 degrees Fahrenheit, but it didn’t matter one bit. We hiked up past the Rifugio Scotoni passing a few free range llamas along the way turning around at one point and noticing the brief rainbow down below. That moment will go down as one of my most favorites of my entire life – snow-capped Dolomiti, misty peaks, the sun poking through, and a RAINBOW – so beautiful I almost burst into tears. How lucky am I to get to return to this unbelievably gorgeous place!
On the way back down to the non-Fiat tiny car, we stopped off at the rifugio for coffee just as the jet lag was setting in. The coffee got us going enough to make the drive up and over Gardena Pass to our next stopping point, Selva di Val Gardena where we allowed ourselves a one hour name before heading out for more pizza and Proseco. What a great start to our time in Dolomiti!