Grand Dolomites Coach Tour
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Having used various forms of public transport. we now decided to go on an organised tour by the travel company, because of the distances involved.
After being picked up near the hotel, early in the morning, we set off on our journey. After about an hour, we had our first short stop and a chance to grab some breakfast. Soon, we had a photo stop overlooking a pretty lake with the mountain range in the distance.
An hour later we approached our next stop for an optional cable car ride up the mountain from Val di Fassa. This involved a drive up the road with 27 hairpin bends. This was not an easy task with motorbikes and cars coming the other way. The expert driver at times had to rely on the tour guide peering round the coach window on her side, to see if anything was coming. I half expected the Top Gear team to be coming down the road as a challenge!
The journey to the top only took four minutes and arriving there, we realised we needed our warm clothes as the temperature had dropped considerably, but it was well worth while, as the views were spectacular.
After exploring, we descended down on the cable car and decided to have a meal. With limited choice we opted to have a ham burger and apple strudel. The burger was one of the worst we have ever eaten but the strudel was excellent, so we made a pact to eat more desserts in future, in order to play safe!
My drawing on the iPad from the days visit. A chance to play with textures.
Back on the coach, we only had to negotiate half the turns before heading to our next destination in the Gardena Valley. Here we stopped in the pretty town of Ortisei Sankt Ulrich, where we had time to explore the pretty streets.
This valley is famous for it's Winter sports as well as it's woodcarving. We were told that about 300 carvers were working in the valley in the 1880's and this number was about the same today. With this information, it was interesting to see that there was an art gallery exhibiting a range of carvings from more traditional themes to more modern ones.
Exploring the rest of the town, it was interesting to see the colourful buildings, some of which had painted scenes on them, as well as a stunning church.
We even went into one of the wood carving shops hoping to replace a cuckoo clock that we had bought many years ago and had stopped working, but like most of the items on sale proved very expensive so we gave it a miss.
After looking around, it was back to the coach for a long ride back to the hotel. A super day in which we had ideal conditions for the view from the top of the mountain. Next time though,
we would take an extra water for the return journey as the heat in the coach was intense.