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Saturday, November 20, 2010
We started off our Italian vacation in the Dolomites. As you know Brian loves to hike. We were a little bit concerned about the weather at this time of year - higher altitude equals greater chance of snow. After flying into Verona we drove north to Bolzano for our first night. Bolzano surprised us - we didn't have high hopes for this town, or any hopes at all really, but we found it to be a charming town full of restaurants and shops and markets. When we were ready to leave the next day we happened to stop by the tourist information office to try and get a more detailed road map of the area. The man at the office suggested that we change our destination in the Dolomites slightly and pointed us in the direction of Castelrotto. Best decision ever.
We arrived in Castelrotto and immediately set out trying to find a place to stay for the next few days. It seems that everywhere we looked there was another charming hotel or bed and breakfast. Awesome, this was going to be easy.
Which of course means that it was the opposite of easy. October is a funny time in the Dolomite region. Since it is in between the peak seasons of summer and winter, many hotels and restaurants close down for a month or so. That left us with a lot of empty options. We finally found a hotel that was not only open, but breakfast and lunch were included. Score.
That afternoon after we settled into Hotel Mayr we headed out for a short hike to get acquainted with the mountains and the trail system. We had our usual luck of amazing blue skys and huge construction cranes - so we knew this was going to be a good trip.
We found Castelrotto to be entirely charming and quaint - and the country side with its rolling hills, cattle farms, looming mountains and forests to be some of the most beautiful landscape we have ever seen.
That night at dinner we were totally caught off guard. We didn't really ask what was on the menu for dinner that night and were treated to a five course meal - salad buffet followed by the most amazing gnocchi pasta course. A super creamy and rich soup was next followed by roast meat and finally a banana cream torte. I die. Thank god we were going to be hiking our butts off the next couple of days!