Exciting journey through the dolomites
So when I decided to plan a trip to the Dolomiti, in the alpine north eastern part of Italy, I thought I could find all helpful details online including maps, itineraries and top locations to visit. Unfortunately finding detailed information especially concerning the best and most preferable routes to take was really confusing. Moreover I was personally facing two challenges; first I had only a period of 5 days to discover the maximum and the most I could from this UNESCO world heritage landscape and was accompanied by my younger sister who wasn’t only not ready for long distance hikes but also used to a typical Lebanese spoiled life excluding sleeping in dormitories or traveling on a certain budget. A lot of discouragement came from my family and friends part thinking that it was a crazy idea; two young Lebanese girls with no prior long hiking experience, adventuring alone in a not so frequented site. “And if you got lost? Or got endgured?” It sounded pretty much like if I was adventuring through the Sahara desert! (I might also go there one day ;)).
Anyway, my inner curiosity and urge of wanderlust lead me in discovering this area in a spontaneous way. I know many of you wouldn’t dare to go on a similar trip especially if it wasn’t organized hour by hour including transportations, comfortable accommodation, breaks, routes and most importantly special and complete hiking gear!
I primarily and only booked a roundtrip train from Rome and back and the accommodation for each and every night spent on the road, I did not even calculate how long it might take us to get from a place to the other, my only tools where google maps and Rome2rio that weren’t so efficient since most of the hiking roads weren’t featured there.
The hiking roads
So as mentioned earlier, all I had prepared was a general overview on the main roads between each reserved hut. But I wasn’t even sure if we could arrive there in one day. Every day we discovered different landscapes, each very diverse from the other. The region was full of surprises with pristine alpine sceneries and breathtaking lakes, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and narrow, deep and long valleys.
On our first day we hiked Val di Fassa from Gardeccia to Passo Sella a very scenic route through the beautiful alpine villages and green flourishing hills. A landscape I only used to hear about in fairytale stories.
On the second day we passed through the borders of Val Gardena going from Passo Sella to Pian Falzarego while admiring giant peaks and really atypical mountain shapes. This next picture represents the Sassolungo peaks on our way.
Luckily the weather was calmer on our third day. So we adventured in the Dolomiti d’Ampezzo Natural Parc, direction Fodara Vedla. An easy but long hike crossing several gorgeous waterfalls, a variety of fauna such as wild horses, cows, butterflies, birds etc. and unique alpine and colorful flora.
On our 4rth day we walked the Fannes Sennes Braies Natural Park from Fodara Vedla to Lago di Braies. No words could describe the beautiful moment when the turquoise blue lake appeared between the mountains after a challenging but very fun trek.
After 4 nonstop hiking days we took the 5th one as a break to calmly visit the nearby city of Verona before departing to Rome. There was so much more to uncover! One more reason to come back! Next time I will come back more prepared with a specific plan. But somehow the fact that this trip and the routes where spontaneously chosen, made it more unique and uncommon. We adventured through roads that we weren’t prepared for and everything turned out to be perfect eventually.
Why all the fuss about the huts you would say?! Or “Rifugi” in Italian. The experience wouldn’t have been complete without staying in a Rifugio. Forget about hotels or even staying in a random village, because staying in a family managed Rifugio when in the Dolomiti, is the ultimate immersion in the tranquility and serenity of the landscape in itself. You will experience generosity and hospitality surrounded by spectacular 360 degrees of pure nature on top of a hill or the bottom of a valley or in the between the mountain fields. Although sometimes you would have to sleep in a dormitory, but it is really all in the modesty of the adventure. One more thing, these traditional huts are spread on purpose on all trekking roads even in the most remote places, making it easier for a hiker to proceed his journey on the following day through the wild.
You will dip in the ladino culture, by tasting authentic homemade food and terrific house wine from the region. Expect to be served with big generous portions, as Italians do, starting with a first course or a starter meal, a main dish and finally a desert. Unexpectedly the wines I tasted there where some of the best I ever tasted, very aromatic and fruity. Thumbs up for the culinary experience!
This dish is a corn made pasta filled with mushrooms and alpine cheese.
To summarize everything, if you are an adventurous and dynamic person eager to discover natural wonders and relax in serene environments. I would definitely recommend you a trekking week in the Dolomites Region. However we adventured there in a cold rainy weather, unprepared (with no special hiking gear or shoes) and no car for transportation. Did we regret any moment of this trip? Not in any way possible!! It was actually an opportunity to get to know new people, sharing our Lebanese culture with them (most of the locals have never met Lebanese hikers in the region), hop on auto-stops, have great moments of bonding, and learning a lot for our next trip. This short journey was sincerely a combination of heavenly landscapes, very good food and booze, bonding and meeting new people, and an amazing way to lose weight and do sports 😉
Fun Fact: I built up packs only through 4 days of hiking
P.S: Stay tuned because I will be posting more details soon that will help you plan your next trip to the dolomiti.