Until our dying day we will remember this extraordinary Tour planned expertly by Giordana Losi of Top Venice.
We were collected in the morning from our Venice Hotel by Marco, our knowledgable, experienced and very affable photographer-guide and driven directly to the Giau Pass via the beautiful town of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Before taking the Alverau chairlift, we stopped at many view points to take photographs.
As we rose up in our open chairlifts, we saw the littered remains of the Dolomites. As Marco explained, the Dolomites have not always been mountains but have in fact emerged from an ancient sea. This became clear to us once the chairlift deposited us off and we walked down towards the breath taking formations of the Cinque Torri.
Tectonic activity has broken up the Dolomite region into many sectors, raising or lowering them and creating unusual shapes like peaks, towers, needles, pinnacles- seeing the Cinque Torri rise up like the teeth of some ancient beast, clearly evidenced this fact.
Whilst we walked amongst the majestic Dolomites with Marco by our side, capturing us on his camera and turning our every step into memories, we were aware that we were in fact treading on a living landscape which breathes, moves and changes all the time.
Whilst in the Cinque Torri area we were fortunate to dine at two uber restaurants- Rifugio Averau Hutte (as you exit the Alverau chair lift) and Rifugio Scoiattoli (with a glorious view of the Cinque Torri). At the former restaurant we had exclusive locally sourced appetizers with wine, very kindly orgainsed by Giordana as a surprise for our famiily, at the latter we had a delicious lunch made with local produce.
The Dolomites area is home to the Ladin people, who speak a unique language and have a blend of Italian and Austrian culture. Many of them work at the chair lifts and restaurants and it's fascinating to interact with them.
It is little wonder then that we were very reluctant to board the final chairlift and descend into the Falzarego Pass where our driver was waiting to whisk us back to our Venice Hotel.
Top Venice offers many different and exciting itineraries for the Dolomites depending on individual interests. Our brief to Giordana was that we wanted an entirely immersive experience. We wanted to spend the day amongst them, surrounded by them, completely away from civilization. Giordana ensured we got exactly what we asked for.
Save the local Ladin people and serious hikers and climbers, we were the only tourists in the area who had just come to enjoy and soak in the scenery of this World Heritage Site. Being photographed by the very talented Marco amidst and with these ancient wonders as a backdrop, having him capture us with the living Dolomites for all eternity, well, that was the icing on the cake!
~Felicia Variava Albert, Managing Director, Blaze Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, India