Reaching new heights in the Dolomites
Arrival at Alpe de Siusi began before we got there. On the slow and winding morning ride up to our mountain hut from the charming basecamp at Siusi allo Sciliar, the fog lifted. The mountains peered out, each climb in elevation revealing new shades of green. Even earlier, on a cozy night train (my first since moving to Berlin!) to Munich, I felt the incoming beauty of the next few days. The sun rose more elegant than usual. I put on my thickest socks and sipped my tea, preparing for the peaceful grandeur of the Dolomites.
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy. Extending from the River Adige in the west to the Piave Valley in the east, this majestic part of the Southern Limestone Alps is a haven for skiers in the winter as well adventurous wayfarers in the warmer months. Horses and cattle graze on the endless stretches of green with their half-open eyes and velvety, cavernous backs. Gates are made in the traditional way, wrapped together by twigs. The few visitors you’ll pass while enjoying the privacy of this space will smile in appreciation, keeping the silence like a code. It’s the ideal place to film a yoga video.
At an altitude that draws the Kenyan cross-country running team annually to its wake, the Dolomites are a challenge for anyone looking for an adventure. Bring your sneakers and prepare to exhaust yourself for the sake of a meal! Long hikes and steep angles lead you to the next pastoral cottage, where you’ll likely find someone playing the fiddle outside and a host of Germans (and Italians) drinking beer and eating hearty South Tyrolean fare. If you’re less than physically-inclined, the area is striped with ski lifts which can conveniently bring you back to your hut with little more pain than a mind-altering mountain view.
For looking to check off a few items on their bucket lists, there’s plenty to do! In my few days in the Dolomites, I paraglided, running off the mountain (yes, you need to literally run off a mountain) to the reward of gliding dreamily over alpine villages. Afterwards, I warmed up with a Schnapps tasting at the Zu Plun farm and distillery set among shiny boilers of copper and brawny barrels of oak. On one fresh afternoon around lunchtime, instead of grabbing a sandwich to go, I prepared a mountain meal complete with a culinary bouquet of 17 local wildflowers (one I tried, which “used to be used for toothaches,” left my mouth buzzing for the next half hour.)
Not all of the activities available for your enjoyment are challenging. Down in the valley, I coffee-tasted with Italy’s first coffee sommelier. At the end of each day, we returned to our lovely “Dibaita” hut where we sipped Hugos to the sunset until our hearty dinners of stews and potatoes were ready. I even took a hay bath, strange but well-worth trying for a burst of energy!
Round up: You will carry the crisp air of the Dolomites with you far after you leave. You might not need more than the air, but if you do, these are the two things that are MUST-dos:
- go paragliding (great options are tandemfly-dolomiti, tandem-pilot or www.fly2.info)
- enjoy a hay bath at Verleierhof
- take a dumpling cooking course at Gostner Hut
I’ve spent an extraordinary few days on Alpe di Siusi and can only recommend this destination to anyone who loves vacationing surrounded by stunning nature, lovely people, amazing food and an endless list of activities on offer. For more info on where to stay and what to do here, check out the Alpe de Siusi Website.
*guest post written by Marguerite Imbert