Once we arrived at our hotel in some little town within striking distance of the Dolomite Mountains, we collapsed in utter exhaustion. That is not entirely true, I suppose, but we did loaf for the rest of the evening, making use of the lovely pool and wifi after inhaling some food we purchased at a grocery store down the road.
The parents made arrangements for the next day’s activities. Mother, in her ceaseless quest to be in the mountains as much as possible, had attempted, while still at home, to arrange some sort of miserable biking up and down and around and through the Dolomites, climaxing in an overnight stay in some forsaken hut somewhere and ending in our return, battered, dirty, and bickering to our hotel the next day. At least, that is how I imagine it would have gone. I do not like biking, especially uphill. Thankfully, biking did not work out. Praise God! Instead, we went canyoneering. That’s wading and swimming through chilly water in a winding canyon/stream bed whilst wearing a wetsuit, by the way. Much more enjoyable than it sounds.
The parents rudely rousted us out of bed in time to eat a lovely breakfast of fruit and pastries and such in the hotel and to be ready – swimsuits, hiking shoes, and all – in the lobby by 9am. Our guide awaited. Despite a brief postponement due to rain, during which time we walked around a very historical village, we had driven up into the mountains, received our wetsuits, and hiked down a little hill to the stream bed by noon. A good 15 minutes of struggling and our wetsuits were donned and we began wading downstream. [Unfortunately, I have no pictures whatsoever of the canyoneering, as I wisely elected to leave my camera behind. Our guide took dozens of pictures with his waterproof camera, though. When he sends them to us, I may post some.] For about three hours we moved through the snaking stream between 20- to 30-foot high walls of rocky strata of various grey and red shades. We jumped into some deep pools and found some yellow-bellied frogs, a salamander, and a forest rat that had fallen from the canopy. It was quite fun and a hundred thousand times better than biking would have been. That and supper completed our Friday.
On Saturday we arose and pointed our little car in the direction of the Dolomites and the mountain town of Cortina, which the owner of our hotel suggested we visit for some good hiking. The mountain roads were impossibly curvy with tunnels every other kilometer, but somehow Dad managed to bring us safely to Cortina without flying off the side of a mountain or killing the bikers and motorcyclists that crowded the roads. After lunch, a gondola ride, and a bit of hiking (for the parents) in Cortina, we made for our hotel outside of Venice. And we got lost; so, so lost. We had been navigating successfully with a gps plug-in Dad acquired for his ipad. Somehow we were without a map for the outside of Venice, so we were forced to rely on the sadly misinformed directions given to us in only somewhat intelligible English by the guy at the reception at our hotel, which we called. Thanks to the help of some policemen, passersby, and our paper maps, we arrived at our hotel at 10:30pm, having spent a mere two hours driving up and down the nearly exit-less Italian highways around Venice. It was quite an adventure.
Okay, now I have a question for you. What is the most painless way for you to view pictures when I have dozens of them to post in one post? In a gallery like in my last post? In a slideshow as in this post? Or just one by one?