Day 16: You Never Know How a Day will Unfold!

Trip Start May 30, 2013
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17
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Trip End Jun 29, 2013


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Flag of Italy  , Trentino-Alto Adige,
Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's funny how when you start a day, you never really know how it will unfold. And what you think will be the highlight is a surprise.

We had a pleasant drive to Siusi, another small town about 20 minutes or so from where we are staying in Bulla (Puffels in German).  Harvey is becoming much more comfortable on the twisting uphill and downhill roads!  We found the parking lot that Dunia had suggested for us just at the Seiser Alm gondola station.  And with the help of a family with a mountain bike and a young toddler setting off for an overnight in the mountains and a staff person in an outdoor clothing shop in the station, we actually found the beginning of Trail#2 heading to Laghetto di Fie. 

It was along this trail that our ears were in high gear for the six-mile hike.  In the first part of the hike we were in a forest and the trail ran parallel with the road, so we heard cars as they whipped by.  The trail turned with the contour of the mountain and we now heard the sound of rushing water from a stream.  Sweet.  As we moved further from the stream, the sound of bird calls and chirping seemed to be so loud – we thought of our birding friends John & Susie and how happy they would be to hear this and with their binoculars try to identify the specific birds.  We’re not that bird educated, but we did perk up when we heard what sounded exactly like the cuckoo of a cuckoo clock!  It seemed obvious now, but we had not connected that the clocks were duplicated the sound of an actual bird!  What a kick.  Soon we came upon a meadow and before it was in view we heard the clanging of cow-bells.  Sure enough, the wild flowers and high mountain peaks were the backdrop for 4 cows simply lounging in the meadow twisting their heads every now and then to stir up the flies that were surrounding them.  We occasionally passed others on the trail and everyone spoke German, which we’ve become accustomed to.   We picnicked on a bench on the lake called Laghetto di Fie and then returned back to our car.  It was an easy walk and considering Harvey had a giant blister on his heel, it was just as well that we weren’t doing anything challenging today.  But as far as trails and a lake go, it didn’t provide that sense of place that said  - you’re in the Dolomites - so it was a bit disappointing.   The best part of all was the sound of the cuckoo and when at lunch Harvey took out his ipad and we started reading together Stravinsky’s Poetics of Music – a series of lectures that applies to any creative process.

On the return trip to Bulla and the Hotel Uherhof, we passed some kind of horse festival and traffic was detoured so the horse drawn carts and their drivers in traditional attire could navigate through the tourist- lined streets.  It took us sometime to figure this all out – at first the road was detoured without explanation, then we saw lots of people so we thought maybe we should stop and check out what was happening, then a policeman stopped all traffic – and I got out of the car to ask what the special event was, but he only spoke German, as did three other passers-by.  So, we just waited in our car where we got some good photos of a house with incredibly complex painted wall murals and finally followed the policeman as he walked ahead of what was now a caravan of cars through the streets of Castelrotto where cars were now sharing the main street with the horse drawn carts!    Patience was rewarded.  All was revealed.

After having driven through Castelrotto’s festival and streets, Harvey definitely earned his afternoon beer and rest back at the Hotel Uherhof.  A short nap and before we knew it, dinner was ready to be served.

New guests had arrived this evening – five Australians and one New Zealander – journalists driving the new Mazerati sedan that is being released at the end of the year in Australia.   After the very quiet and polite German and American guests in the dining room, we were right in there joking and having fun with these guys who live and breathe cars and are on a four day Italian road trip testing out this new car before writing their evaluations.  Lots of car talk and by the end of the evening, Harvey had brought up his Jag XKE and all had a lot of laughs about that as well.   Before saying goodnight we went to the garage and took a look at the new car – who ever knew that you could choose your own front wheel brake color?    All in all, lots of fun!

So, you never know who you will meet and what experiences you’ll have in this international destination of the Dolomites.  And be open to surprises!

Tips:

Hiking maps are readily available for purchase at any of the shops near the lifts/cable cars/funiculars.  If you are at a lift station and want to get a quick look at a map, head for the WC/toilettes/restrooms and we’ve found them on the walls near there.  On several occasions now, we’ve found helpful staff at the ski/equipment shops on the same level as the WCs who have guided us as to where to pick up  particular hiking trail number.  Also, the camera on a phone or ipad can be handy for getting a quick map for the day.

The Tourism website for Val Gardena has information about the open cable lifts. Here is the link: http://www.valgardena.it/en/open-lifts-and-slopes/page357.html

In the ski shops at the cable car stations, maps and guidebooks are sold.  Prior to our trip, I had emailed the Val Gardena tourism office and they were very helpful.  When we walked into the Val Gardena tourist information bureau in Ortisei today, we were the only other tourists, yet it seemed like we had interrupted the staff person from whatever he was doing and he gave us very short answers about hiking possibilities.  So, when you’re here, pick up one of the hiking guidebooks to help you choose where to hike and reference the Val Gardena website to see what cable lifts are open during the dates of your visit.
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