The second Dolomites Group (Aug 31 – Sept 13, 2013) assembled in Brixen (or is it Bressanone) for what one wit described as “an eating holiday interspersed with walks”. The Sud-Tyrol is an interesting area in far Northern Italy which doesn’t really believe it is part of Italy or Austria. This is epitomised by one hotelier saying that all the food was local but the chicken was imported from Italy.Peter Blackman ably assisted by Matteo led a spectacular range of walks based on Bressanone, San Vigilio di Marebbe and Livinallongo which highlighted different aspects of the Dolomites. The weather was perfect for walking, in fact rather warm on occasions. I felt rather foolish having transported my picnic kit from Australia since most morning coffee breaks and lunches were taken at rifugios. What bliss if our own countryside was riddled with these eating houses.
One delightful walk was led by our host at San Vigilio who led us to a church (next to a rifugio of course) high in the Dolomites followed by a loop through delightful woods. For those interested in religion, this followed the fourteen stations of the cross. We found this variant in a number of churches in the area.
Fortunately we could undertake the last major walk which was cancelled for the previous group. This featured a stunning view of Marmolada, Queen of the Dolomites, from a rifugio, a view of an unusual dam with a wall at each end, and dozens of marmots.
Thence to Venice for a couple of days sightseeing. Most of the group decided to go to Padua by train for the day. Curious journey, 75 minutes there, 20 back. Padua has some wonderful old buildings contrasted with a modern tram which has only one rail.
Stats: 8 days actual walking in the Dolomites, 95km total distance walked, total vertical 4554m, total weight gain – heaps!