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Last day in the beautiful Italian Dolomites

We could not do the Monte Piano climb we had planned for today because the road was closed due to an avalanche. We went for a 12 mile walk around the valley, and had some delicious ice cream.

I started out bummed about the fact that we could not do the climb, it was to be the grand finale. But going for a walk anywhere here is breathtakingly beautiful, and I was grateful we weren’t covered by the avalanche over the road! On the drive back from the hike the day before, it had just happened, we came upon the blocked road and had to turn around and take a long way back through Cortina.

I highly recommend visiting the Italian Dolomites if you ever get the chance. Exodus Travel’s package with everything included was a 10 in my opinion! Great hotel, comfortable transfers, good food, and great guide.

To learn more about the trip and to book direct, go to https://www.exodustravels.com/italy-holidays/walking-trekking/classic-dolomites-premium/twu?flights=excluded

For a discount on the trip,..

We could not do the Monte Piano climb we had planned for today because the road was closed due to an avalanche. We went for a 12 mile walk around the valley, and had some delicious ice cream.

I started out bummed about the fact that we could not do the climb, it was to be the grand finale. But going for a walk anywhere here is breathtakingly beautiful, and I was grateful we weren’t covered by the avalanche over the road! On the drive back from the hike the day before, it had just happened, we came upon the blocked road and had to turn around and take a long way back through Cortina.

I highly recommend visiting the Italian Dolomites if you ever get the chance. Exodus Travel’s package with everything included was a 10 in my opinion! Great hotel, comfortable transfers, good food, and great guide.

To learn more about the trip and to book direct, go to https://www.exodustravels.com/italy-holidays/walking-trekking/classic-dolomites-premium/twu?flights=excluded

For a discount on the trip, book at https://www.tourradar.com/invite/TFjjGs

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The beautiful Lake Dobbiaco

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Chocolate and Fruit of the forest gelato

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Tiramisu sundae

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Am I in Italy or Austria, can someone please tell me?

The town we stayed in has 2 names: Niederdorf and Villabassa, population 1600. The region is known as South Tyrol. 92% of the population speaks German and 7% speaks Italian. Less than 1 percent of the population speaks Ladin. I am fascinated by linguistics and I had never heard of this one before. Here are some pictures from around the cute little town of Niederdorf/ Villabassa. It looks very Austrian right?

The cemetery was so well kept

Could not find a single piece of trash on the streets here

Where to?

The homes have the most beautiful gardens and the bees are thriving here

My home for the week- the Hotel Gasthaus Adler. I will miss their beautiful pool, and their handsome waiters.

The perfect place for a drink after a day of hiking in the beautiful mountains

The town we stayed in has 2 names: Niederdorf and Villabassa, population 1600. The region is known as South Tyrol. 92% of the population speaks German and 7% speaks Italian. Less than 1 percent of the population speaks Ladin. I am fascinated by linguistics and I had never heard of this one before. Here are some pictures from around the cute little town of Niederdorf/ Villabassa. It looks very Austrian right?

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The cemetery was so well kept

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Could not find a single piece of trash on the streets here

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Where to?

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The homes have the most beautiful gardens and the bees are thriving here

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My home for the week- the Hotel Gasthaus Adler. I will miss their beautiful pool, and their handsome waiters.

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The perfect place for a drink after a day of hiking in the beautiful mountains

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Tre Cime di Lavaredo

This day was the best hike of my life so far! We enjoyed a memorable walk under the famous “Three Chimneys”, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo (or Drei Zinnen) in German. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our walk around these impressive peaks was the highlight of the week. The moment after we took a group photo at the highest peak, a storm started complete with hail, thunder, and lightning! It was so exciting and dramatic!

Shared the trail with cows

Tre Cime up close and personal!

Hike of my dreams!

Trail running through the side of the mountain scree

Our lovely Exodus Travel hiking group!

This day was the best hike of my life so far! We enjoyed a memorable walk under the famous “Three Chimneys”, or Tre Cime di Lavaredo (or Drei Zinnen) in German. Set amid one of the classic mountain groups of this area, our walk around these impressive peaks was the highlight of the week. The moment after we took a group photo at the highest peak, a storm started complete with hail, thunder, and lightning! It was so exciting and dramatic!

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Shared the trail with cows

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Tre Cime up close and personal!

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Hike of my dreams!

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Trail running through the side of the mountain scree

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Our lovely Exodus Travel hiking group!

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20 mile bike ride

I started the day with an hour massage at the Hotel Gasthaus Adler’s spa. Then a group of us rented bikes. There is a nice greenway , rails to trails type path in between towns. I found the ride very difficult. I am used to biking on flat paved paths, and usually go around 12 miles. This was a loose gravel path, with lots of peddling uphill. I had rented a regular mountain bike. Some of my friends rented EBIKES. Thankfully a friend let me borrow the EBIKE for a little while!

I was quite sore at the end of this day but the views were amazing!

Lake Dobbiaco

We had dinner at a restaurant in the town called Mexico City. We took a walk afterwards up the hill to watch the sunset, watch the stars come out, and hear some ghost stories.

Evening light in Niederdorf- Villabassa

I started the day with an hour massage at the Hotel Gasthaus Adler’s spa. Then a group of us rented bikes. There is a nice greenway , rails to trails type path in between towns. I found the ride very difficult. I am used to biking on flat paved paths, and usually go around 12 miles. This was a loose gravel path, with lots of peddling uphill. I had rented a regular mountain bike. Some of my friends rented EBIKES. Thankfully a friend let me borrow the EBIKE for a little while!

I was quite sore at the end of this day but the views were amazing!

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Lake Dobbiaco

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We had dinner at a restaurant in the town called Mexico City. We took a walk afterwards up the hill to watch the sunset, watch the stars come out, and hear some ghost stories.

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Evening light in Niederdorf- Villabassa

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Climb up towards Strudelkopf

We started the walk at 2000 meters altitude walking amongst beautiful wildflowers and ascended to the summit of Strudelkopf. We stopped at the Durrenstein hut in the early afternoon to check out the local Kaiserschmarren specialty. The day was clear so from the summit we enjoyed views of the Tre Time, Monte Piano, and Monte Cristallino.

Photo by John Dawson (JohnLikes2Travel)

Photo by John Dawson (JohnLikes2Travel)

We started the walk at 2000 meters altitude walking amongst beautiful wildflowers and ascended to the summit of Strudelkopf. We stopped at the Durrenstein hut in the early afternoon to check out the local Kaiserschmarren specialty. The day was clear so from the summit we enjoyed views of the Tre Time, Monte Piano, and Monte Cristallino.

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Photo by John Dawson (JohnLikes2Travel)

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Photo by John Dawson (JohnLikes2Travel)

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Kreutzberg Pass to Nemes Alm

Today we explored high pastures and ridges along the Austrian border. We walked steadily exploring the meadows under the ridge of Knieberg. We had great views towards the Rotwand and Monte Popera. Later in the afternoon we visited Alpe Nemes hut where we enjoyed a drink and home made apple strudel.

Wildflowers were at peak in late July

This is the border of Italy and Austria

Today we explored high pastures and ridges along the Austrian border. We walked steadily exploring the meadows under the ridge of Knieberg. We had great views towards the Rotwand and Monte Popera. Later in the afternoon we visited Alpe Nemes hut where we enjoyed a drink and home made apple strudel.

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Wildflowers were at peak in late July

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This is the border of Italy and Austria

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Lago di Braies

The ideal start to visiting this vast area of the Italian Dolomites was a walk straight from the Hotel Gasthaus Adler through the very pretty, flower-filled Braies Valley. We walked through small villages and farmland until we reached the magnificent Lago di Braies, one of the 297 glacial lakes in the area. It is certainly one of the most beautiful thanks for being surrounded by jagged peaks that are reflected in the extraordinary mirror-like surface of the lake. We follow the route of ‘SS hostages’, the leaders of 19 countries who were freed after the First World War by the inhabitants of Villabassa.

Sources:

– Lonely Planet Guidebook

– Exodus Travel trip notes

Andy

The ideal start to visiting this vast area of the Italian Dolomites was a walk straight from the Hotel Gasthaus Adler through the very pretty, flower-filled Braies Valley. We walked through small villages and farmland until we reached the magnificent Lago di Braies, one of the 297 glacial lakes in the area. It is certainly one of the most beautiful thanks for being surrounded by jagged peaks that are reflected in the extraordinary mirror-like surface of the lake. We follow the route of ‘SS hostages’, the leaders of 19 countries who were freed after the First World War by the inhabitants of Villabassa.

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Sources:

– Lonely Planet Guidebook

– Exodus Travel trip notes

Andy

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Mezcal and winding mountain roads

On my last day in Oaxaca, I went on a full day tour that included many interesting stops.
Leaving the city and heading into the countryside…

The first stop was a gigantic 2000 year old tree in the town of Tule. The people were setting up to celebrate Mass around the tree. As the Mass began with the opening blessing, fireworks were launched. Now I know why I had been hearing explosions all the time.

Then we made a stop at Teotitlan del Valle to see how rugs are made. The family spoke an indigenous language to each other, but the lady who gave us the demonstration could do her presentation in Spanish, English, and French. I bought a beautiful handbag here.

Then we drove a very winding and bumpy road up through the Sierra Madre mountains to the municipality of San Lorenzo Albarradas to see Hierve el Agua. Hierve el Agua (Spanish for “the water boils”) is a set of natural rock formations that resemble cascades of water. The site consists of two rock shelves or cliffs which rise between ..

On my last day in Oaxaca, I went on a full day tour that included many interesting stops.
Leaving the city and heading into the countryside…


The first stop was a gigantic 2000 year old tree in the town of Tule. The people were setting up to celebrate Mass around the tree. As the Mass began with the opening blessing, fireworks were launched. Now I know why I had been hearing explosions all the time.



Then we made a stop at Teotitlan del Valle to see how rugs are made. The family spoke an indigenous language to each other, but the lady who gave us the demonstration could do her presentation in Spanish, English, and French. I bought a beautiful handbag here.


Then we drove a very winding and bumpy road up through the Sierra Madre mountains to the municipality of San Lorenzo Albarradas to see Hierve el Agua. Hierve el Agua (Spanish for “the water boils”) is a set of natural rock formations that resemble cascades of water. The site consists of two rock shelves or cliffs which rise between fifty and ninety meters from the valley below, from which extend nearly white rock formations which look like waterfalls. These formations are created by fresh water springs, whose water is over-saturated with calcium carbonate and other minerals. As the water scurries over the cliffs, the excess minerals are deposited, much in the same manner that stalactites are formed in caves. One of the cliffs, called the “cascada chica” (small waterfall) or the Amphitheatre, contains two large artificial pools for swimming as well as a number of small natural pools. One of the artificial pools is very near the edge of the cliff. I would have liked to spend more time here, as there were a few hiking trails around.



The next stop was the town of Mitla, where we visited a complex of Zapotec ruins that boast beautiful stone carvings. We could actually walk down into the tombs. It’s amazing to me that this area of Mexico has an average of 300 earthquakes per year, and these structures that are thousands of years old still stay intact.




Then we stopped for a buffet lunch near the town of Mitla. Today was the day I finally tried a fried grasshopper. Just one 🙂

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The next stop was the Mezcal factory. I tried 3 different kinds.


Pit stop on the way back to Oaxaca City



Andy

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Shark Valley- Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park in Florida protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. In the United States, it is the largest tropical wilderness, the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River, and is visited on average by 1 million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.

Shark Valley is a geological depression at the head of the Shark River Slough in far western Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is currently part of Everglades National Park. Shark Valley empties into Shark River in the Ten Thousand Islands of Monroe County. Shark Valley characteristically includes sawgrass prairie that floods during the rainy season, hence the name “river of grass”—Pa-Hay-Okee, from the Mikasuki language—for s..

Everglades National Park in Florida protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. In the United States, it is the largest tropical wilderness, the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River, and is visited on average by 1 million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.

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Shark Valley is a geological depression at the head of the Shark River Slough in far western Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is currently part of Everglades National Park. Shark Valley empties into Shark River in the Ten Thousand Islands of Monroe County. Shark Valley characteristically includes sawgrass prairie that floods during the rainy season, hence the name “river of grass”—Pa-Hay-Okee, from the Mikasuki language—for such marshes in the Everglades. Shark Valley features a Visitor Center with educational displays, a park video, an underwater camera and informational brochures. The entrance to Shark Valley is located along Tamiami Trail (US 41) near the Miami-Dade–Collier County line.

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In February 2017 I visited Shark valley in Everglades National Park and biked the 15 mile loop trail. This flat, paved road is used for tram rides, bicycling, and walking. Along the road you may see alligators, herons, egrets, deer, turtles, and snail kites.



An observation tower at the halfway point provides panoramic views.

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View from the top of the observation tower

Below the Observation Tower is a short trail through a tropical hardwood hammock. Bicycles can be rented from the Shark Valley Tram Tour Company. This trail begins directly behind the Shark Valley Visitor Center.

When biking or walking this trail, be sure to bring sunscreen, insect repellant, and lots of water.

  • Andy
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