We are so fortunate to live in a world that is full of so many jaw dropping and surreal places. My never ending bucket list of all the monuments and once in a lifetime experiences is just growing. One of the experiences that was on my list was being up in the snow capped mountains, breathing in the bitter cold fresh air and being at one with mother nature.
I had the opportunity to visit the Dolomites, where before I had only heard about it through it being a Mac Operating System name or seen it as a background on my MacBook. Never did I think I would be able to see the mountains in the flesh, covered in fresh white snow. Someone pinch me, I must be dreaming!
Flying into Marco Polo airport meant we had to fly over the Dolomites first, before we got our transfer to Cristallo, A Luxury Collection Hotel. Those snow capped mountains got us so excited, i’m surprised the plane didn’t shake with us jumping around.
As a part of our stay in the Cortina was the chance to ski on the Dolomites. Not did I get to see them in the flesh, I also got the chance to ski on them too. Skiing isn’t something I haven’t ever done before and feared ever doing, so it was a bit of a daunting knowing that I was going to come face to face with one of my biggest sporting fears. However, if I was going to do it for the first time, there was simply no better place to do it.
When we arrived at the bottom of the slopes, the pre-24 hours of worry had disappeared and the adrenaline started to kick in. The sun shone and the snow glistened under the warming rays. I’ve think it’s spectacular that how it can be so cold and sunny all at the same time. Mother nature is truly one of a kind.
When we started skiing, there were moments where I felt like I lost a bit of control and it worried me a bit. This automatically made me put my guard up and want to take things a little slower. However, as we progressed and learned new things I could slowly feel my guard lowering and I was starting to loosen up, enjoy it more and actually learn faster. We had an amazing instructor Kevin who taught Zoe and I the basic ropes of skiing and we had a blast.
The ski lifts definitely took some time getting used to, especially as we were just getting acquainted with having such large ski’s and ski boots on our feet. Makes a change to my usual light weight loafers that I wear. Kevin ensured that we were safely transported onto the ski lift but also learning how to get on and off it safely. The views going up were just incredible. The fresh air clears your mind and gives you a real peace of mind for around 6 minutes whilst the ski lift transports you up.
We spent around three hours on the slopes skiing down, learning lots of new techniques and being in fits of laughter for a lot of the time, before we got a chance to have a well deserved late lunch with our amazing ski instructor, Kevin.
We popped up to a small cabin style restaurant further up the mountains and had a wine filled lunch at Baita Piè Tofana next to a open roaring fire. Just what we needed after our faces nearly froze out on the slopes.
We ordered a bottle of Castelfeder Lagrein Rieder red wine to accompany our meal, which had a lovely perfumed flavour and scent with wild berries and violets.
For starters, I ordered a walnut, orange and fennel salad, Zoe ordered the scallops gratin and Kevin ordered the Casunziei Ampezzani which is a traditional dish in Cortina, which is red beet ravioli with poppy seed and cooked in browned butter after boiling.
Kevin ordered the beef fillet with potatoes, another typical dish of Cortina and Zoe and I tried the Casunziei Ampezzani for our main course. It was so delicious with a mix of sweet and savoury contrast from the beets and the pasta/soppy seed combination.
We had built up quite the appetite from skiing, so we went for the full deal and sorted dessert too.
Between us we ordered chocolate mousse, gelato and apple tartin before we rolled ourselves back out into the cold after spending the past few hours by a roaring open fire.
Kevin suggested we jump onto the ski lifts and check out the view from the black runs since the sun was setting over the mountains. Those that know me will know that i’m not really a huge fan of heights, so it was a huge deal for me to jump on a ski lift that take you up to a mountain peak and being able to see a massive drop right below you.
It was so proud of myself because I managed to get to the top without having an total meltdown. There were moments where I had to close my eyes and just breathe through it but I was ecstatic that I managed it.
When we got to the top, Zoe and I couldn’t believe our eyes. It was minus seven degrees, our eyes were streaming with water out faces were going a deep red colour but it was worth every second. It was a total bucket list moment!
As the sun disappeared and the skies over the Dolomites started to turn to night, we descended back down. It was even more of a challenge for me going down, because I could actually see us descending from a very high point and where we were heading way down below. However, I channeled my inner angst and admired the views of Cortina below.
I honestly couldn’t think of a better place to have ticked off more fearless travel moments than the Dolomites. I got to see the gorgeous UNESCO site in person, I challenged myself to skiing for the first time, loving it as a result and facing my fear of heights to see the most breathtaking views over Cortina and of the Dolomites.
I’ve definitely left a peace of my heart at the peak of the Dolomites and I have no doubt i’ll be back again to reunite myself with it again.
Until next time…