The last stop in my Italian adventure was The Dolomites which are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. They form part of the Southern Limestone Alps. In 2009 they were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
These mountains are beautiful to say the least. The rock seems to take on the colour of the surrounding area and light. At times they seemed a yellowish colour and other times they look pink or white.
Sue and I were fortunate to meet up again with Paolo who was still with 80-year old Violet who we met in Cinque Terra. They invited us to join them in a few more photo shoots. We happily took them up on that offer (without the early morning shoots).
We agreed to meet Paolo up at Giau Pass. It was a 20km drive up from our hotel. When asked if it was a “scary” road up – Paolo said “a blind person could drive up”. Well I have to say – there were switchbacks like I have never experienced to date. Sue did a great job of checking the corners while I focused on keeping the car from stalling. We got up there and took a deep breath and took in the views.
The next day, Paolo told us about two little lakes that were surrounded by mountains. They were a “an easy 20 minute drive”. After the drive the previous night, I took his words with a grain of salt.
Sue and I were on our own during the day and spent almost all of it exploring this part of the Dolomites.
There was lots for us to take in. We noticed that high up the mountain you see below (just below the solid white) there were cars. We had to explore for ourselves and try to get up there.
The drive up the high mountain was something I wont forget. We had a little Ford car that nicknamed “Gutless”. We had to drive up this mountain in first gear or it would stall. It made the drive the night before seem like ” a blind person could do it”.
Our last evening shoot was high up a tiny road created for the First World War. Paolo invited us along and admitted the road up is not for the faint of heart. He said our car would never make it up so he would drive. He was right about that. It was so narrow and windy that it would only fit one car (with four-wheel drive). I felt a bit carsick on the way down due to the switchbacks.
The views were spectacular and are not fully captured by a camera.
This ends my photo adventure in Italy. I had the most amazing 6 weeks. Italy is filled with beautiful places, and people.
If asked where I liked the best – I can’t answer. Each area was so distinctly different and had its own character, culture, food, and beauty.
I can say that I have a lot more Italy in me. I will definitely go back to revisit some places and explore some new ones.
I want to thank the friends who joined me on different parts of my journey – Anne McDonald, Anne Manson and Sue Henderson. You three made my trip. Sharing experiences are what life is all about. I have never laughed as much as with you three.
I met many people along the way from around the world. We all had something in common – a desire to experience the beautiful country of Italy. Language, religious beliefs and politics never got in the way.
I want to also say thank you to Sophie, Claudia, Filomena, Pepi and Antonio from Culture Discoveries. You treated me and the other guests like family and exposed your culture and customs. You gave us an inside look at living in Amalfi. – and taught us how to cook some amazing Italian food!
Paolo, you are more than a talented photographer. You are an amazing person who really cares about people. You displayed that time after time. I feel that I have a true friend in Italy.
I am writing this final post from my favourite place in the world. Home! I love travel, I love Italy, but at the end of the day – it is home and family that rock my world. I missed my kids Mike and Nikki, grandchildren Keagan and Kyla and my mom so much. The best experience of my trip was coming home to the warmest welcome I have ever had. Thanks Mike and Nikki.