Last Day of Hiking in the Dolomites – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 27th, 2018

Dolomites - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We are now on a train, traveling south to Rome. We had to leave the beauty of the Dolomites this morning, for we have an early flight tomorrow from Rome, which will bring us back to California.

I am so glad we had those last four days in the Dolomites; the hiking, the lifts, the animals, the friendly people, plus the sheer beauty of the area was so enjoyable for all of us. Danny and Heather took another trail yesterday, and I took the Trail of the Witches that they had hiked the day before. This trail is considered an easy trail, but I do believe the classification of “easy” is all in the mind of the hiker. To me, it was a moderate trail, with rocky paths, some steep uphill walking, but manageable. Also, we found that the term, “hiking”, is not a word used very much. The kids found that people from Scandinavia do not have a word for that. Those people simply “walk” on the trails. While I thought eight miles was a pretty hefty walk, the Norwegians said they do that on a daily basis. I think I must be a wimp. I have learned, also, that if a trail marker says the next point will be 20 minutes, for me, it will be 40. I stop frequently just to admire where I am.

The trail followed the outer perimeter of one of the mountains. From the trail, quite often I could see over the rim to the valleys below.

At the overlook at that northern end of the meadow, there was a memorial cross. I counted four crosses up on that mountain.

Of course, since the trail leads through grassland, there were cows. This cow, named Dagmar, was not going to budge off the trail.

She and I had a conversation, but since she only understood German, I lost the debate. Finally, I did make my way around her. I knew her name, for I could read her name tag on her ear.

The path had some pretty little scenes along the way, such as this wooden bridge over a small stream.

At last, I could see our town, Castelrotto, sitting far, far below me. At that point of the trail, if I took a few steps to my right, I could have fallen halfway to Castelrotto. I was careful.

After lunch, I competed my walk back to Compatsch, then I took the cable car back down to the station, and the bus back to Castelrotto.

The kids beat me home; we compared notes, and I discovered that they had walked the trail that I had walked the first day, through the fields of flowers, the Nature Path.

All in all, we had a delightful four days, with plenty of exercise, fresh air, good food and wine, plus the added pleasure of meeting people from different countries; all of us had come to Alpe di Suisi to enjoy the beauty of the region.

Soon we will be back home, living our ordinary lives, with the memories of this fantastic vacation to keep us happy.

I hope you have enjoyed our trip to Italy with us. I will not blog again until we are home; probably rested, also. Please tell me your thoughts and views on these blog posts. I want all of you to enjoy the places that I visit.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

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More From the Dolomites – Dolly Goolsby

Author: , September 19th, 2018

Good evening, all,

We had another adventure on the mountains this morning. Today, the weather was quite different from yesterday. There was a cloud cover and it was pretty breezy and chilly, once we got up to Compatsch. I took it easy today, only taking a cable car up to Puflatsch and back again. However, the view from up there made me so happy just to be up in those mountains.

However, after I had some coffee at the restaurant, I walked out and looked toward the west. I love this view, for you can see across the top of Italy, into Austria. If there weren’t any clouds, I believe you could see to Switzerland.

The kids weren’t deterred by the weather. They took the Trail of the Witches, up to the Witches’ Benches, following the path that overlooks the valley and the villages down below.

I have never seen fuzzy cattle before. After I saw the picture, I knew I would have to make that hike myself, just to see these guys up close. Mama cow has already shed her winter coat, by rubbing it off on the trees. I think she is trying to help her baby get that old stuff off. Mama really needs to get her bangs cut.

My way of relaxing is just to view this peaceful valley with the grand mountains in the background. Although I did not hike today, I found my happy place where I could simply absorb the beauty of the Alpe di Suisi meadow.

Tomorrow will be another day for exploring up on the Alpe di Suisi. I will write more about that after we get back from that adventure.

I hope you are enjoying the Dolomites with us.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

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Bolzano – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Bolzano - Dolly Travels

Good evening,

I finally have time to sit and write. We have been in Bolzano since yesterday afternoon, and it seems we have been going non-stop since we arrived.

We had a long train trip from Vernazza to Bolzano. If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that we came from the Ligurian Coast to northern Italy, to the gateway to the Dolomites. Actually, I have to admit, our train trip wasn’t so bad. We got a medium high speed train, the Frecciaargento from La Spezia to Florence, taking only and hour and a half, versus the usual 3 hours on a regional train. We had to wait about an hour in Florence, then we got another Frecciaargento train direct to Bolzano, a little over three hours.

Our hotel, Hotel Feichter, is located about four blocks from the train station, near the center of town. We got checked in, then took a walking tour of the town. It is a lovely Austrian-looking town, and of course, as we walked, we did not hear Italian being spoken anymore; the primary language here is German. Everything is so clean and neat. We walked down one street that had a covered portico to shield us from the sun. The shops were pretty upscale, but we weren’t shopping, we were just strolling.

Of course, for me, the biggest draw to Bolzano, is that this city is the gateway to the Dolomites. From the walkway in front of my room, I can see the stark Dolomite mountains. They are calling me.

Last evening, we walked again, and had not really decided where to have dinner. There was a big black cloud hovering over the western edge of the city. I told the kids that our dinner destination would be determined by what that cloud did. Interesting enough, we were just a few steps from a brew pub when the first fat rain drops started to fall, and within minutes, everyone was scrambling to get out of the rain.

We made it into the pub, got seated and enjoyed a traditional Austrian type dinner.

Of course, Danny had a beer with his dinner. After all, he had to try the locally-made brew.

After dinner, the rain had stopped, so we were able to walk home without getting soaked. However, about an hour after we got back to the hotel, we were treated to one of the most spectacular lightning and thunder shows that I have ever seen, complete with pouring down rain. It was so incredible, I had to open my window and watch the show. Heather and Danny told me that they went out onto the walkway in front of our rooms to watch it. What a fantastic treat…one we could enjoy from the comfort of our rooms.

Today, we visited the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where we saw the displays focused on Ötzi, the Ice Man: an intact body of a man that was found high in the mountains between Austria and Italy in 1991. He has now been determined to be between 5,100 and 5,300 years old.

Later, we took a gondola up to the town of Oberbozen, a small resort town in the hills above Bolzano.

Tonight, we walked through some small streets, finally settling on one small restaurant for our dinner.

I do enjoy being in Bolzano, for it is an interesting city. There is a university here; it is the largest city in the northern part of Italy. There are many shops, eateries, plus parks and places to relax. Staying here is always a pleasure.

We will leave here in the morning, and take a bus for the one hour ride to Castelrotto, where we will spend four days, hopefully hiking and enjoying the outdoors in the clean Alpine air. For me, just being in the Dolomites makes me happy.

I will try to write a blog post within a day or two. It is hard to believe that this vacation is drawing to a close. What wonderful memories we will have to take home with us.

Arrivederci,
Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

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Bolzano and the Dolomites – Dolly Travels

Author: , April 18th, 2018

Bolzano and the Dolomites

Today I want to tell you about Bolzano, in northern Italy. If you are traveling by train up to Bolzano from Bologna or other points south, you will notice a distinct change in the terrain, the look of the villages along the way, as well as the language of the people who live in this area.

Bolzano and the DolomitesAs the train travels further north, the terrain changes, becoming more rugged. Tiny villages are tucked into crevasses between giant mountains. Fields of hay are grown on the more flat areas, then there are apple orchards and vineyards. Some of the best white wine in Italy comes from this area.

This northern part of Italy once belonged to Austria. Most of the citizens here speak German, not Italian. The churches look more like the ones in Austria; in school, the children are taught in the German language. When there is a festival and the citizens dress for that, their costumes are Austrian in design; dirndls for the women, lederhosen for the men. The food, also, is different. The restaurants serve schnitzels, sausages, more potato dishes. While this food is delicious, it is not Italian food, as we know it.

Bolzano and the DolomitesA typical meal in Bolzano and the Dolomites: a ham hock, sauerkraut and a potato dumpling, with stone ground mustard to go with it. Beer is the preferred beverage, and in Bolzano, we found two very good breweries, both with restaurants.

From Bolzano, there is a cable car that takes passengers up to Oberbozen, as you saw in the earlier photo. That area is another very unique place to hike or ride mountain bikes. On one of my trips, some young men took their bikes on the cable car up to Oberbozen, then rode the trails down to Bolzano. There are trails for hiking or biking.

Bolzano and the DolomitesThe earth pyramids. These are unusual rock formations, found in the Oberbozen area. The rocks are unique. I don’t know if there are any of these anywhere else but in this region. Notice the rocks sitting on top of some of the peaks.

Hiking down to see these was a challenge for me, but if I had taken hiking poles, the trek would have been much easier. Hiking up was even more of a challenge.

Bolzano is home of the South Tirol Museum of Archeology, where the main attraction is a preserved body of a man that was found in some glacier ice high up on a mountain near the Austrian-Italian border. After extensive research, it has been determined that the man is over 5,300 years old. The museum is well done, with exhibits on three levels.

Of course, Bolzano, to me, is the jumping-off point for a stay in the Dolomites. I usually stay two nights in Bolzano, for it is an interesting town to me. But from there, I take a bus for a one-hour, exciting trip through winding mountain roads to Castelrotto, in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. I will post just a few pictures here, for the Dolomites will be another blog post or two.

Bolzano and the DolomitesOf course, there were bicycles. The trails are great for biking. I don’t know where that tractor came from, or where he was going.

That is a rare sight. Usually, there are just other hikers or bikers.

So I will say “Goodbye” for now. I will write more about Italy next week.

You can be sure that sometime, before the first of June, I will write about the Dolomites, for there is my “Happy Place”.

Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

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Dolly Travels – Being Lazy in the Dolomites

Author: , July 6th, 2015

Dolly Goolsby - DolomitesI simply must write. Today is our last full day in Castelrotto. I want to stay longer, but I do have to get back to Florence. We have had a lovely stay here in the Dolomites. I have been having trouble adjusting to the altitude (I hate to think that my lack of stamina has anything to do with eating too much or partaking of too much of the local, delicious wines and beers! So I will blame it on the altitude.)

I love being here, and as much as the weather would permit, I wanted to be out in the fresh air and the mountains. Therefore, I decided I should only do down hill walks. That is not so difficult. Yesterday, I took a chairlift up to Panorama station, then walked down to Compatsch. That was about 45 minute walk. The view from Panorama was outstanding. By standing near the end of the chairlift, I had a 360 degree view of the mountains around me.

This northern part of Italy is actually pretty narrow, so therefore, Switzerland is not so very far away. The Swiss Alps link up with the Dolomites.

Once I reached the village, I walked over to another cable car station, and took a gondola up to the northern part of the valley. I reached the top of the mountain, then had a choice of walking further uphill, or just going back to Compatsch. Being a lazy hiker, I elected to do the one hour trek downhill. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The path was wide, scenic, but very steep. I had to walk zigzag down the hills, as my knees were screaming!

I thought doing a couple hours downhill hikes was enough for one day, and by the time I got back to Compatsch and the gondola, it was after 4:00, anyway. So I went back to Castelrotto and took a nap. I was proud of myself for my accomplishments, until I compared notes with Susan, and of course, she being part mountain goat, had far surpassed my accomplishments.

Today, I did almost the same thing, different route for the second hike. This time, I took my young friend, Ally, along with me. We went to Panorama by chair lift, but the clouds were hanging over the mountain, so Ally didn’t get to see the panorama like I saw yesterday. Also, the wind was picking up, so after our downhill trek, we got back onto the gondola, rode down to the bus station and came back to Castelrotto. From here, we took the chair lift up to Marinzen, had lunch and hiked back to Castelrotto. What a lovely hike that was, through the forests, and the meadows. That took about an hour and 15 minutes, but that was also enough for both of us for the day.

The most amazing thing happened yesterday. About 6:00 p.m, I decided I needed to do some laundry. I took my things down to the laundry room. I just happened to look out the window, and saw 4 people trudging up to the back door of the hotel, with their luggage. I did a double take…here were my friends, Lew and Amber Lasseter, and their 2 daughters, from Elk Grove, California. I had helped them make their travel plans for an unforgettable Italy trip, but I did not remember the dates for all of their Italy travels, so we were all unaware that our paths would cross here in Castelrotto. What a lovely surprise. We all went out to dinner together last night, and made plans for today. Ally did not want to go on a strenuous hike, so we agreed we would be buddies for today, while the others would start out with Susan.

I still don’t know how the others did, but Ally and I had a very good time. She is adorable. And I would take her anywhere. Thank you, Ally, for an enjoyable day..

Once back in Castelrotto, I went to the pharmacy, got some Epsom salts, and later, I will put some in the tub and take a long, warm soak. It was surprising to me, that once I convinced the pharmacist that I wasn’t going to take this Magnesium Sulfate internally, she allowed me to buy 4 little packs (3 ounces each). I told her that I was going to put the salts in my bath water. She was amazed. She had never heard of such a thing. I don’t know what they do for achy muscles here, but I know my knees and hips are nagging me to get this bath started.

Therefore, I will go and soak my achy muscles, and write to you soon. We are going to Bolzano for one night. Then back to Florence. See you there.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels – In the Dolomites

Author: , June 22nd, 2015

Dolomites - DollyYesterday I left Verona, traveled north by train to Bolzano, then I caught a bus that brought me to Castelrotto, in the Dolomites. While I am still in Italy, it doesn’t feel like Italy any longer. I feel like I am in Austria. I can almost hear “Sound of Music” coming from the hills.

On the bus ride, I could just feel myself relax, muscles unwind, brain letting go of stress.

When I got to the hotel, I met three of my friends who had arrived here a few days before, while I stayed in Verona. I checked into the hotel, opened the door to the small terrace, and was greeted by a gorgeous view.

It was chilly last night, so we didn’t venture further than the nearest good restaurant for dinner, some good red wine from the region, and called it a night.

Today, two of the friends left. Susan and I took the chairlift up to the small area of Marizen. Later, I took the chair lift back to Castelrotto, while Susan hiked back.

I did get a few raindrops on my head on the ride down, but that stopped almost immediately, and the rest of the afternoon was very pleasant. This evening, we took a little walk around town before going out to dinner.

From the Main Street of town, I looked down on another little village below Castelrotto. I think that needs to be checked out tomorrow.

Finally, we went to dinner, and had a fantastic meal. The dinner was Austrian food: roast veal with bread dumplings in a rich sauce, followed by an Italian dessert, panna cotta. Of course we had another local wine with dinner, then waddled our way back to the hotel.

On that note, I will close. We are hoping for good weather in the morning, so that we can do some hiking. Or, maybe a stroll in the meadow. I am just so happy to be here, and I am enjoying the lovely scenery, the fresh mountain air, that I really don’t have an agenda. I will just savor the moment.

Until next time,

Ciao,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Our Last Day in the Dolomites

Author: , September 18th, 2014

Dolomites - DollyGood evening, all,

Yes, I am almost packed and ready to leave in the morning….physically, that is. Emotionally, not nearly ready to leave this gorgeous area. I find the Dolomites to be so majestic, yet so relaxing to be here. I think I said this last year, also, that I know my blood pressure is so much lower when I am up here. My thoughts are clearer, I feel healthier, and every trail I see I want to be on it.

Today was a bit cloudy, the mountains wanted to retain their mantle of clouds, so we stayed down in the valley. We took a bus up to the village of St. Ulrich, or Ortesei (either name is correct) and I am not quite sure whether Val Gardena is also the same village, but if not, it is very close. There will be World Cup skiing competition in Val Gardena in December of this year, so I will watch for that.

Ortesei is indeed a lovely town, bigger than Castelrotto and more touristy, but the buildings are beautifully kept up. Some building date back to the 1500’s, another was from 1745. Amazing.

So, now that I have to leave, I will give you a photo to remember the peaceful, lovely countryside near Castelrotto and I will hope to return here very soon.

Now, tomorrow we are going to Bologna and will do the fantastic Italian Food Experience on Friday. We will visit a Parmigiano -Reggiano factory, the balsamico factory and the prosciutto factory, all in Modena, near Bologna. Look for posts from there.

I will close on that note, and wish everyone a Buona Notte. (Anyway it is my bedtime, if not yours.)

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

First Hike in the Dolomites

Author: , September 15th, 2014

Dolly in the DolomitesGood afternoon, everyone,

Yes! Although the clouds covered the mountains this morning, we decided to give hiking a try anyway. We got on a bus which took us to the gondola station, then took the gondola up to the meadow, and the little town of Compatsch. By the time we got there, the clouds were already starting to break up, the sun came through and we enjoyed a very nice little hike, up to the area called Panorama.

The scenery was so beautiful I didn’t know which way to look first, or second. The weather was great, not too cold, not too warm. From our vantage point, we could see trails going all over the meadow. Again, choices, choices! Which one to do next? We even got to see a couple of llamas on our hike. Lots of cows, a few horses.

On our return trip, a few clouds began to hover, but they were not threatening. Finally, we decided it was getting late, so we just trekked back to Compatsch and had a lovely lunch.

Pictures just cannot relate the grandeur, the enormity of this area. There were quite a few hikers and mountain bikers out, but the entire day was relaxing, inspiring and I truly felt, this is a great gift from God that I am able to enjoy some of His wonderful creations. I could spend weeks up here and see something different every day. I know I am truly blessed. I know that the ladies traveling with me felt the same way today.

The only thing that would make this trip even more enjoyable for me would be for each of you to join me on a hike, so that I could show you what I love and tell you how much this area means to me.

Until that occurs, I will say….

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Trentino Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Bolzano and The Dolomites

Author: , September 13th, 2014

Yes, we are now in Bolzano, the beginning of the Dolomites. I am sitting on the terrace in front of my hotel room writing to you and here is what I am seeing in front of me:

Dolomites - Dolly Goolsby

Tomorrow we will be traveling up to Castelrotto, which is in a valley below those mountains.

Bolzano is a beautiful town, also. We are hearing more German language here, although I am hearing Italian, also. It is interesting to hear a shop keeper change from German to Italian to English without missing a beat. I have been using my Italian language skills more the past few days. I am pleased with myself over that.

When we arrived in Bolzano, we were so hungry! As soon as we got checked into the hotel, we headed for the nearest restaurant. Well, I knew about this brewery/restaurant, so we went there.

Today we went to the Archeology Museum to see Oetzi, the man who was discovered in the mountains above here in 1991. He is over 5,000 years old, so the museum dedicated to him is really amazing. We even got to see him through a glass window. He is very well preserved, and it is just so interesting to learn about the many processes used to learn so much about him. And the scientists keep learning even more.

After that, we had lunch, then took a gondola ride up to Oberbozen, a little village above Bolzano. The weather was great, so we had a lovely day. We didn’t do any hiking, but just strolled around the village, taking pictures, and enjoying the view, the clean air, the peacefulness

Tomorrow, as I said, we will go to Castelrotto. I hope our good weather holds up, so we will be able to do some hiking.

Thanks to all of you who are following the blog, and commenting on the posts. I really appreciate that, and hope you are still enjoying following my travels.

Ciao for now,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | ‎Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources

Italy to Switzerland: Riding the Bernina Express

Author: , June 7th, 2013

Bernina Express - Italy to Switzerland - DollyOur dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Wow! What a lovely train ride we had today. We left Varenna this morning under beautiful sunny skies, which was amazing, as we had experienced thunder, lightning and rain most of the night last night.

I had gone to the travel agent in town to get some help with train tickets from Varenna into Switzerland. So I had all our timetables and tickets to get to Pontresina in the Alps.

We boarded the regional train and took it to Tirano, which is barely over the border. From there we had to change trains, from the Italian Trenitalia, to the Swiss rail system. We got on a lovely, comfortable train car, sat back and relaxed, and lo and behold, we were on the Bernina Express. This train goes over several mountain passes, through many tunnels, and we had absolutely gorgeous scenery.

We hadn’t been traveling very long before we saw a waterfall, then another, and another.

As we got further and further into the mountains, the terrain started changing. Before long, we saw the first glacier and a glacial lake.

We crossed more bridges, went through more tunnels, stopped at stations out in the middle of all these mountains and glaciers. We stopped at one station, Ospizia Bernina, that at 2253 meters above sea level, is the highest train station anywhere. (I had to go to my computer and calculate that into feet. It is 7392 feet above sea level.

As we got lower, we stopped at stations that had big parks around them, we saw several hiking trails, and at one stretch where we paralleled the highway, I saw a group of 5 motorcycles. Fun!

We got to Pontresina about 2:00 in the afternoon. We had to make our lunch from what we could find in the mini market by the train station, so everyone is hungry now. Guess I had better close this off and join my group for dinner.

Tomorrow we take another scenic train ride. This is the one I had planned on doing, the Glacier Express. We will go from here to Zermatt, and although it is called an expres, it is really slow and a beautiful ride.

The next post will be from Zermatt. Still praying for good weather to continue.

Till next time.

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