Dolimites! Oh I would love to go there! That was my thought a few years ago when I first heard about the beautiful mountains. However, I did not think about this topic too much. In the spring of 2020, after my return to Poland from backpacking around Asia and staying at home in quarantine, a friend was gathering a team for a trip to Italy to do trekking around Mount Seceda. I put the term in the search engine google images and only looking at the first photo I decided: I’m going! In this moment I had bought a one-way ticket to Italy.
In the meantime, I was getting along with the Tour du Mont Blanc and starting to think about the Camino de Santiago. Fortunately, I combined all the trips, even extending this trip to 4 months, visiting France, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Greece!. And so, knowing that I was going to the Alps in a larger team, I was more busy planning TMB. All I knew about my earlier departure was that we are going to Seceda mountain.
Only after meeting with friends already in Italy I learned that the mountain is located in the Dolomites and we are planning other trekking. There’s nothing like embracing 😀 But the best surprises come from life 🙂
Arrival in Bergamo
I flew to Bergamo near Milan from the Warsaw Modlin airport in Poland. On the spot we rent a car, which we will travel for the next week. As part of the team arrives the next day from Great Britain, we went to Bergamo to taste Italian pizza and ice cream. By the way the city is also worth visiting! We have visited the picturesque city center located on a hill.
Dolomites: Seceda and Val Gardena
On the first official day of the expedition, we meet with the whole team at the airport only around noon. From there we move north-west. The plan includes reaching the Val Gardena valley in the Dolomites. From there we have to move with the tents up, so that in the morning we can watch the sunrise on Seceda (2519m).
The plan is the plan, but life is life. We we reach Val Gardena quite late, because of driving, searching for gas cylinders and looking for some supermarket. The planned trekking is not long, but we have not seen each other for a very long time and the first stop at the restaurant in the middle of the route turns into a small party. Fortunately, the owners allow us to pitch tents on their land. Thanks to this, we can afford a bit of luxury in the form of, for example, a bathroom and running water. It begins to get evener, and around us the soaring peaks. Nature is amazing here.
I wake up cold because it’s a little colder than I thought it would be. However, the view from the tent rewards everything. Around the green grass, grazing sheep and beautiful mountain ranges. I’m waiting for the sun to come out from behind the mountains to warm up a little.
When the desired sun comes out, it gets hot. We take a few pictures and move up. Trekking is short, but the scorching sun does its job and we reach the mountain tired. The reward in the form of views is fully deserved. The view from Seceda is amazing. There are also a lot of people in the mountains, because you can also get there by train.
Closer to the evening, the place is empty, and we decide to stay upstairs for the night. Apart from us, there are only a few people there. However, clouds begin to gather around the mountain. He begins to thunder. We have a dilemma where to set up tents, but the specter of an approaching storm chases us from the ridge to the shelter under the roof of the railway building. The storm comes very violently. For several dozen minutes, an incredibly strong wind blows, it rains, flashes and thunders. Fortunately, the queue supervisor lets us inside the building and allows us to spend the night on the floor.
After waiting to be in the center of the storm, we go out to admire this spectacle of nature in further regions. Being already at a safe distance, we observe incredibly strong lightning.
Sunrise on Seceda
In the morning we wake up before 5 o’clock to pack up and go out on the ridge. The sunrise is amazing. All the stress of the storm goes into oblivion. Now what counts is the beauty of the sunrise and its colors.
After the picturesque spectacle of nature, we go down to one of the shelters for coffee and breakfast. Then we go to our rental cars.
Dolomites: Lago Di Braies
After 2 nights on Seceda we plan to go to another picturesque place – the church in Santa Magdalena. The road takes a few hours, and by the way we visit the town of Bressanone. After a break for pizza and ice cream, we go to Santa Magdalena. On the spot there is a charmingly located small church. However, getting to the plot leading to it already costs several euros. Disappointed by the ubiquitous capitalism, we set off to the Lake Lago di Braies.
The lake is located at an altitude of 1496m above sea level. We get there, due to the rather late hour by car. In the middle of the day, due to its popularity, the road is closed and we get to the lake by bus.
In addition, the advantage of lakes in Italy is the possibility of bathing in them (although not in all!). Therefore, after 2 days of sleeping in the wild, we jump into the icy water. In front of us are beautiful mountain peaks, and the color of the water emerald-green. After swimming, we go for about an hour walk around the lake.
The evening is approaching, and we are starting to look for some kind of campsite. In the first two, unfortunately, there are no more places. Desperate, we go to the next one found on the map. However, due to the fact that it darkies quite quickly, we find a small parking lot and a clearing on which we decide to survive this night.
Dolomites: Tre Cime di Lavaredo
The next day we set off to conquer the trail around three peaks called Tre Cime. The road to the Park itself runs through picturesque valleys. We pass several beautifully situated lakes. This time we are lucky and find the last free space in the parking lot before entering the Tre Cime di Lavaredo park. It is also possible to enter the Rifugio Auronzo shelteritself, but it is a paid option. We leave the car and go up on foot.
The first section of the route leads through an asphalt road. Sometimes we can shorten the road by choosing a steep road through the forest. However, during one of these shortcuts, we deviate from the route and lose the chosen trail. Fortunately, we are still going in the right direction, only on the road not frequented by anyone but us. We have an unusual view of one of the walls of Tre Cime. Through meadows and pastures we enter the main trail around the peaks of Tre Cime.
The main route is about 10 kilometers long and starts at the Rifugio Auronzo hut. It is a fairly easy route circling three peaks. We deviate from the trail overcome the route in the opposite direction than most tourists. Which has its advantages because there are really a lot of them.
The route is beautiful and very diverse. In places it reminds me of trekking from Nepal. Rocks, stones, lack of vegetation. On the one hand, we are surrounded by large spaces, on the other by high steep walls. You can spend the whole day walking on various trails, admiring the peaks from each side.
After a successful trekking, we go for lunch at the hostel and hope to catch one of the buses going down to the parking lot below. Unfortunately, it gets later and the last bus escapes us. So we go down on foot. After about an hour we are at the car. Now all that remained was to find a campsite.
This time we find shelter at the nearest campsite. For the first time in a few days we have access to running water! In addition, the end of July is very stormy here and once again we experience a strong storm under tents. This is our last night in the Dolomites.
On the last day we set off towards Bergamo. These are the last hours when we can enjoy the views and driving among the magical Dolomites. After a few hours of the road, we stop for pizza and holiday relaxation at Lake Garda. It is situated among beautiful mountain peaks. The sun shines strongly so we are happy to bathe in the water.
After a few hours of relaxation we drive to Bergamo. The last night in our big team is ahead of us. The next day most of them go to the airport, and Agata and I set off towards the border with France to Courmayeur for trekking around Mont Blanc – Tour du Mont Blanc.
To sum up, I fell in love with the Dolomites at first sight. This is a place with incredibly beautiful nature, which is easily accessible to everyone. Mountains, lakes and forests also offer many opportunities to spend time. Immediately there was a desire to return, another time maybe on via ferratas, of which there are plenty here. If we love mountains and nature, we will certainly not be disappointed in the Dolomites. These spectacular views are not that far from Polish!
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