We’re just back from an amazing few days spent high up in the Marmolada mountain range of the world famous Dolomites, and with all that oxygen in my lungs I’m having difficulty typing without nodding off.

First stop, before reaching our destination and hotel, Lake Alleghe. The town is a pretty holiday resort both for the ski fanatics in the winter and for guys whom, like us, want to find some solace from the heat of the summer down in the plain; the town in fact is 1000m above sea level. 

We were all in need of a rest from driving so before checking the town we crashed out on free sun beds right at the water’s edge. With the weather bright enough for sunglasses, but nippy enough to wear a cozy fleece all we had to do next was close our eyes and listen to the water break against the pebbles. Jenna was on her best behaviour despite the appearance of an oversized Labrador taking its owner for a walk.

Then it was beer o’clock. And very nice it was too.

Back on the road we passed small fir and pine forests, stacks of logs for fire wood and even sawn planks air drying on stickers with painted end grain to prevent rotting. I joked with Alessia about shoving one in the boot of the car for a future wood working project. I won’t try to describe the stunning views, but perhaps even Alessia’s beautiful pictures don’t do them justice either. 

They are extraordinary mountains; a collection of exceptional geological features unique in the world. Because of the type of stone and dramatic events that have shaped the peaks over millions of years the cliff faces turn a pink colour which is really visible just before dawn. 

The unique shape is majestically described by Dolomieu – the scientist after whom these mountains are named - who wrote this in 1791:

“[…] These mountains, whose peaks rise above the reign of the clouds […] are made up of different species of rocks. The basements, the thickness of which varies, incline differently, bringing them closer or further away from a vertical position, nevertheless directed towards a central point. Their prolongation leads to the formation of sharp points, broken crests and jagged angles that characterise and indicate from afar mountains known as primitive […]”.

At around five thirty in the evening we got to our quirky hotel which was located in a tiny, ancient settlement called Digonera, population just ninety two residents.

Jenna had never stayed in a hotel before and was a bit anxious. The first night she cried when we went down for dinner, but by the second she was happier. After dinner I took full advantage of the bath tub and must’ve stayed soaking for almost an hour. Apparently I was fast asleep in bed by nine thirty.

This is end of part one. If you are curious to see more about a walk through a mountain canyon, a pretty waterfall and some funghi specimens don't miss part two in a couple of days.

Until then.

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