I vividly recall looking at a book when I came home and seeing houses and accommodation along one side of the lake.
I didn't recognize the place until I read the caption. It was Lago di Misurina in summer and was like another world to the images captured in the brochure.
Fondest memory: While I was there only two buildings could be noticed, the hotel and the institute. Both yellow, both a few stories in height, at opposite ends of the lake.
This shows the left hand side of the hotel, overlooked by a sheer cliff, made even more colourful by the sleigh ride.
No sooner had I come upon this wonderland than it suddenly got better. The shouts from the driver, the clanking harness, the clip clop of the hooves on the pavement signalled the arrival of someone's sleigh ride.
Coming from a land of sand and sunshine this was a real turn on for me.
Lago di Misurina, in my humble opinion, has some of the finest mountain scenery in the world. For someone who hasn't really travelled that much compared to many other VTers, that's a big call but, I'm prepared to stick by it until proven incorrect.
Fondest memory: Within a ten kilometre radius of the lake is just wonderful view upon wonderful view. Then again, when you're in the Dolomites, would you expect anything less?
Hard to believe there'd be a religious institute in such a magnificent place. Then again, why not?
Situated at the southern end of the lake it's one of the two standout buildings of Misurina.
Fondest memory: It used to be a hotel but now has an entirely different usage.
The Istituto Pio XII, a residential home for asthmatic children located 1,756 m above sea level in the Italian Dolomites, is in an environment free of the most common allergens which makes it ideal for study of allergens and such.
If you are an asthmatic, and you have my deepest sympathies if you are, I can't think of a nicer place to have to spend some time.
Fondest memory: We laughed and kept walking gleefully until we came across another steep path up as in this afternoon heat, it would prove no fun. But as with all things in life, ups and downs seem to be intrinsically linked and there appears no way to avoid the bad if one has had so much good. We were at its apex soon enough and found it had led us precisely where we had hoped it would, back to the final hut on our route. This one was very much open and full of day-trippers so we stayed just above it and watched as the procession of tiny ants meandered around the well-worn routes that emanated from it. We were happy we had not joined them in their endeavors and enjoyed the last segment of our sandwich here too. We finally marched back via the most tourist-laden path in the park and as all good soldiers do, we smiled knowingly and hopefully not too smugly. Back at the car, we took off our boots, and happily drove away. It seems that one day can be enough to explore the Tre Cime. At least when you get up early enough to beat the rest of the birds.
Fondest memory: All good things come to an end and with some clouds encroaching we opted to move on, as there was still a fair amount of hiking to do to get back to the car park. After a steep descent that followed in our streaker’s footsteps, we found ourselves in a very hot, dry, dusty valley. Perhaps our friend had been right in stripping off to his underwear after all! We finally spotted a marmot and the furry mountain rodent scampered effortlessly about the rocks. Later another one startled us with his shrill shriek as we kissed in nature’s splendor.
Fondest memory: We made our way to the next hut and came across the only other person we saw that day, a man clad only in his underwear and small backpack, obviously enjoying the good weather and solitude. He didn’t seem startled or ashamed and merely kept hiking past us. We laughed at the sight of him as we went to investigate the oasis he had just come from. It was a rustic hut in a fabulous setting and we decided to have another segment of our sandwich and as our predecessor had done, we enjoyed the warm sun and wind protected hot spot.
Fondest memory: Soon we found ourselves looking up a huge snow bank where the path obviously would normally lead and having come too far to turn around made our way slowly up the steep incline. The combination of the glare off the glistening snow and the energy expenditure had us sweating in no time. We were happy to get to the top and look both back from whence we came and forward to yet another peak filled valley.
Fondest memory: It would have been easy to spend the whole day at the hut but it was just a matter of time before those who wake at a civilized hour crowded the place. It would also have been easy to return via the normal short route around the massif but I had read about a traverse of a truly lunar landscape so we walked in that direction and surely away from the crowds in so doing. It was indeed a desolate trail that passed one beautiful lake, walking through one snowy patch after another, always on the lookout for marmots that would normally inhabit such rocky terrain.
Fondest memory: It was time to make our way up to the refugio, perfect reflection or not, and it was a bit of a climb to get up there, especially after expending so much energy trying to get into position by the tarns. Once there, we were starved though it was only around eight in the morning. The meager yogurt breakfast had worn off and we dug greedily into the first segment of our sandwich. Prosciutto never tasted so good! The hut was not yet open for the season so we had the area to ourselves. We basked in the warm sun and marvelous view of the Tre Cime and though spectacular I was content to have spent the morning looking for that reflection photo as the views from down there were just as magical, and having the dawn there alone together was akin to paradise.
Fondest memory: On so doing, I noticed some glass-like tarns that would provide incredible reflection shots of the Tre Cime if I could only get myself in the perfect position. As with most people into photography, we soon found ourselves oblivious to each other and at one point totally out of each other’s view in our quest for the perfect reflection. I was not only looking to outdo Doreen but also a friend and mutual fan of reflections, Sandy Smith. But no matter how hard I tried; I couldn’t gain the elevation and stay close enough to get a full reflection. Up close to the water, the peaks proved too large and from far away, the bodies of water were too small. I got some nice photos in the process but never quite what I was looking for. Dawn’s perfect light was over before I knew it and we were nowhere near the refugio from which the classic photos of the Tre Cime are normally shot.
Fondest memory: The barren landscape looked surreal as we traversed a well-formed trail across what might otherwise be mere scree. We rounded our way into the valley where we would see the first glimpse of the mighty peaks that were our aim, but a dense fog rolled in and I feared that my lucky timing had been somehow sandwiched out. “If only if” was the new phrase of the morning but I tried not to voice my disappointment and remained hopeful that it would be a passing obstacle to our visibility. It was nonetheless an enthralling walk and we even spotted a chamois far down the scree as it ran for what little cover it could find in this bleak environment. No sooner had we got on this section of trail than the fog lifted and we found ourselves at the very base of our much sought after view. I realized that while worrying about the weather I had led us on the inside path around the great massif when I knew from reading that we wanted to be on the outer edge for better views. It was too late to backtrack so we made our way down a snowy patch that afforded better footing than the scree.
Fondest memory: I rushed back in and gently awoke my companion with some yogurt, wrapped the mammoth sandwich and placed it at the top of the backpack I had prepared the evening before. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly she was up and ready to go, and she thanked me with shinning eyes when she saw the sun’s red rays creep over the horizon. We were soon on the trail and enjoyed the many peaks as they greeted the sun with healthy red faces.
I carefully laid thin slices of salami across the wide ciabatta bread, right next to but not on top of the provolone I had spread out moments earlier. I was already two steps ahead of myself in my mind as I eyed up the jar of roasted peppers in olive oil sitting on the windowsill. But first a layer of prosciutto that would be the final segment of what would surely be the most colossal sandwich to ever hit the Dolomites. More odd perhaps was the hour; it was only just after four in the morning. My cohort lie sleeping like an angel but I had been awake for over an hour, waiting for any sign that the day would be clear. Just twelve hours earlier, we had been engulfed in a dense cloud cover that did little to hint at the magnificence that lay behind it. The room we had reserved was cold with little character. To top it off, the building was under construction so too noisy to even relax within its inhospitable walls. The jackhammer racket forced our hand so we told the receptionist that we would only be staying one night rather than the two we had allotted to see what many consider the most magical grouping of Italian peaks, the Tre Cime. So we fell asleep with prayers that nature’s winds would whisk the clouds away.
Up way before the sun, I could see very little in the dark through the heavy condensation on the window that was the room’s only link to the outside world. I ventured outside into the cold and had to jimmy the door ajar so I wouldn’t get locked out, as the reception wouldn’t be open any time soon. The range in front of the hotel was already starting to glow red from the sun that was rising though not yet in view.
Favorite thing: Just beyond the lake are the main skifields. There's plenty of room for carparking and lots of beginner and intermediate runs.