Author Topic: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report  (Read 1396 times)

Offline VacationLover

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Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« on: November 30, 2016, 11:19:47 AM »
Part 1 of 2

Dissclaimer:
Non of my reports nor pictures should influence you to do this. I already found myself in hot water more than once for recommending a trip that I did and enjoyed, but the recommend did not enjoy it.  Between them are @...... who I recommended my very best  trip so far to Wengen, Switzerland. But he did not enjoy it. And @...... who I recommended Victoria hotel in Austria last year and we were even there togather at the same time. And he did not enjoy his trip. But even stranger is that @Stbaum also went to Victoria hotel and had a terrific experience. (Despite the fact that TourPlus took it over this year resulting in mainly a Mizrachi type crowd)

Planning:
Okay and now to the actual trip. For this summer (2016) I wanted to try something different but still an awesome place. One of the places that immediately seemed like a good candidate was the northern part of Italy. Either Lake Como area (boarding Switzerland) or Trentino area more in central Italy a.k.a. Dolomites. The reason I did not immediately jump in to planning a Dolomites trip was because there is very little information or TR's found on English. Most reviews and reports I read (on tripadvisor and other sources) where written in Italian. And even what I was able to read was absolutely confusing. From the area to the activities. In fact when someone asks me where I went. The geographical answer is: Alba > Canazei > Val Di Fassa > Trentino > (Dolomites) > Italy.

But meanwhile my cousin got engaged and the wedding was going to be on a Thursday night in July in Belgium. We were not going to miss this wedding and thought of combining it with a summer trip. We started planning. I immediately found availability to BRU with Delta in J for 62.5 FB. Then found availability return flight from Venice one week later on Thursday with UA in J, so we booked it with Aegean 40k. Then booked a revenue flight SN BRU - VCE for Sunday.

So now that the flights are booked is time to book hotel stays. For Belgium we booked one of my uncles' house... for Italy we booked Sunday-Wednesday in My Kosher Hotel in Canazei after hearing great feedback of the accommodation and food. Since our flight home on Thursday was 10:55 a.m. and the Kosher hotel is a 3 hour drive from VCE we booked Wednesday night Hilton hotel next to the airport. Car rental we booked from Hertz via autoeurope.com for $236 a week.

Wednesday
We flew Delta J JFK-BRU. On Delta international two cabin flights, business class is called "Delta One".

Delta One

Thursday
When we landed in BRU we immediately saw the high security. When we arrived to Antwerp, however we were surprised to see soldiers in full gear literally "all over" the Jewish neighborhood. It felt like walking in "שער שכם"


Soldiers patrolling the city.

Friday we went to the zoo... Not much to do there besides the zoo. I tried out my new 50mm f/1.8 lens.






Sunday
We flew SN BRU-VCE and landed at 3:20 p.m. We headed towards the car rentals - a 10 minute walk -  the same direction of the water boats. Got our car, a Ford focus wagon and drove up towards the mountains. As we got closer the views became nicer and nicer. But being that we were exhausted from traveling throughout the day we didn't take pictures for now. But at one point we passed a little hill and saw it was somewhat white. As we got closer we realized it was sheep roaming around.




Sheep and their shepherd

After driving for 3 hours on the most windy road in Italy, we finally arrived to the hotel.

Offline Luvtotravel

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 11:37:47 AM »
great start! looking forward to rest.
and I'm sure it will be helpful despite your disclaimer
Don't wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.

Offline E-MAN

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 05:42:14 PM »
Nice start! How was Delta J?

Offline sky121

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 05:46:00 PM »
great start! looking forward to rest.

+1
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2016, 07:18:37 PM »
Nice start! How was Delta J?
Laying position was great. Sitting however was not so comfortable I felt like the seat was bent forward,  I didn't know why... I later looked at the pictures and realized that my head rest was bent forward throughout the flight  :'( what a pitty. Service was just as expected KSML Stogal wasn't edible.

Compare to UA. United may have slightly better service. Sitting position was certainly better... but laying position doesn't get all the way flat.  Delta does get 180 degree flat. Plus Delta' s pitch was 2 inches longer than UA.

Offline sam28

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 06:02:11 PM »
Great start keep in coming .

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 10:36:02 AM »
I found some pictures taken on the way to the hotel.




















Offline mgoldhammer18

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2016, 01:18:12 PM »
Really beautiful

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2016, 02:08:28 PM »
Warning! Long installment ahead

Part 2 of 2

When we arrived to the hotel we checked in and went to eat supper in the dining room. The food was great every day.

The hotel is nice and modern. Easily a 4 star. The only downside of this hotel is the Bathroom... while they wanted to present a modern style hotel, they installed in ALL bathrooms square toilets. I think it is enough to stop here... Oh boy is that uncomfortable...




View from our room

Monday morning we headed out to "Saas Pordoi" about a 30 minute drive from the hotel. The road is as winding as can be. I've driven plenty, in many countries, but let me tell you, the drive here (in the Marmolada area) is not easy. Not only do you have to fully concentrate with both hands on the wheel while making 350 degree turns on steep and narrow roads without gates - but you have motorcycles passing you at approximately 140 km. And here and there some thrillers zoom by with bicycles...





BTW at the end of this trip I felt much more comfortable to drive in the area. It takes some practice but everyone can learn the techniques how to navigate the roads and/or pass trucks on those 10-mile-no-exit winding roads.

We parked, bought a ticket, the price for ALL attractions in the area was a joke against the price you pay at popular attractions in Switzerland.





Saas Pordoi is unique with its rocky surface and interesting formation as you can see on the pictures. It really reminded us of when we visited the Grand Canyon in AZ. When you get up you have really nice views around but you have to be veeery careful where you walk. (There are some gates, but not everywhere). It doesn't matter if it's a hole in the surface or a 900 foot cliff. No gates.























After Saas Pordoi we headed to Saas Sella. We followed Google maps until we arrived to the destination. When we arrived I was a bit confused. I expected to arrive to a cable car entrance with a nice big parking lot. Instead we arrived to this hut on the side of the road.



So we parked on the side of the road to check it out. Turns out that this is a restaurant on the Sella Pass (way) from here you can take many hikes. Aha so We made peace with the situation and decided to go for a stroll. We hiked for 5 minutes and decided to rest on our mat. As we sat down our eyes met a stunning mountain right in front of us. Pictures DON'T do justice at all.


Note the people on the bottom right side

It was a such a lovely view and quite all around. After hanging around we saw a cable car a few miles down and decided to check it out. On the way I stopped for a minute to photograph some cows and my car





When we arrived there we saw narrow carts where people have to squeeze in and stand throughout the ride... we paid, and were literally pushed inside this narrow cart standing, not being able to turn around or move. It felt like being caged in for some 10 minutes.





We later found out that this is indeed the Sella Pass but this cable car is known here as "Sassolungo". On top there is nothing to do for poor hikers. This place is made for the experienced and adventures climbers. But we did enjoy the view and headed back down. Then drove back to the hotel.









Tuesday
After a full breakfast we left towards Latemar We were to stop on the way at Lake Karersee https://www.google.com/?as_qdr=all#safe=strict&as_qdr=all&q=Karersee which is one of the most photographed spots in the Dolomites. And for good reason. A blue lake surrounded by evergreen trees with rocky mountains in the background. Unfortunately the sun didn't play along nicely with the exposure of the camera, plus my ND filter stayed in the car.







Nevertheless, it was a surreal scene and was worth the stop, despite the overloaded parking lot and hundreds of tourists pouring in. Assuming because this place is free of charge...

Afterwards we drove towards Latemar mountain hoping to enjoy the famous mountain slide www.latemar.it/en/summer/alpine-coaster-gardone-summer. Unfortunately for us, despite the tens of hours of research I put into this trip I had mistaken the entrance and went here http://www.obereggen.com/en/the-resort/. Meaning that we went to this mountain but to a totally different entrance which was about a 2 hour walk or 45 minute drive from the mountain slide (Alpine slide)

Despite the mistake we decided to check it out. Here too like yesterday this place is meant for the real mountain hikers. after resting a bit we decided to go back down.









After Latemar we drove to (can't remember the name... sorry. somewhere near Bolzano) As the hotel recommended, it was to have an incredible view. The view did not disappoint. It was spectacular! If you want to go here make sure to go in the afternoon, when the sun shines on the rocks. It was a really enjoyable place.









r



Afterwards we walked across the street in search for a gift shop, and spotted those people playing the Swiss horn. (Which is one of the hardest musical instruments to play) then went to Bolzano for some shopping






Somehow I found this name funny





On the way home we kept our eyes open for one more cable car... when we saw a sign "Carezze Ski-king of the Dolomites" okay so will check it out. Here too the place is meant for the professional mountain climbers. But we actually enjoyed more than we thought because the rocks were right in front of us.






Note the cows







Plus since it was late in the afternoon the effect of the sun resulted in some cool photography...







Afterwards it was time to go back to the hotel where I took this picture



Wednesday
Today is on the agenda the highlight of this trip. A visit to the actual Marmolada then we were to drive to Venice. Return the car and visit the city for a supper in Gam Gam.

For Marmolada I will let the pictures talk even though its hard to comprehend the magnificent, stunning views.





















Afterwards we drove to Venice. And took Alilaguna "for the last time probably" ate supper, I recommend the Pita plate, it was really cool. Then took a Bus to the Hilton hotel. Thursday we woke up early, went to the airport, and flew back home with UA.



























Here are a few tips I am happy to share.

1) If you are planning a hiking trip, get yourself a folding mat. I bought this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0185PVG9K and it was such a hit. We were able to sit down EVERYWHERE. On small sharp stones or on snow, on wet grass or on anything. Anywhere. Anytime.

2) If it's hot outside and your water bottle gets heated from the sun, but you really want cold water: Buy a 1.5 litter water bottle. Spill out about a third. Put it in the freezer laying on the width. If the cap is blocked by water than tilt the bottle more upwards. Let it freeze overnight. The next morning fill up the missing third with cold water. This should last you throughout the day for 2 people and will stay cold.

3) You love hikes but are bored when resting? Or don't know what to do in a rainy day? We brought along a badminton set and really enjoyed it. The only problem was that high up was pretty windy.

The end.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 02:25:12 PM by VacationLover »

Offline shlonx

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 07:41:42 PM »
What an amazing trip report!! Breathtaking pictures!! I'm happy the weather worked out for you, it looks like you had a wonderful time!




The hotel is nice and modern. Easily a 4 star. The only downside of this hotel is the Bathroom... while they wanted to present a modern style hotel, they installed in ALL bathrooms square toilets. I think it is enough to stop here... Oh boy is that uncomfortable...




I know what you mean





P.S. Great tips at the end, thanks!

Brevity is the soul of wit, but floridity is the spirit.

Offline BarryLincoln

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2016, 08:08:00 PM »
Pictures are incredible... what kind of camera did you use?

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2016, 08:14:56 PM »
What an amazing trip report!! Breathtaking pictures!! I'm happy the weather worked out for you, it looks like you had a wonderful time!



I know what you mean





P.S. Great tips at the end, thanks!
LOL. Only you who was there would understand what it feels like... thanks for your TR it pushed me to try this.

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 08:17:15 PM »
Pictures are incredible... what kind of camera did you use?
Simple T5i with kit lens. And all pictures are original as taken. Didn't "enhance" color etc...

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 06:42:49 PM »

Offline shmoe joe

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Re: Vacation Lover's Italian "Dolomites" Trip Report
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 01:37:16 AM »
Thanks Wow reminds me of my honeymoon
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