Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mountains Majesty

December 7, 2008

On Saturday I took a break from crazy paper writing to go to the mountain resort town of Cortina d'Ampezzo! This beautiful town is located in the Dolomites, part of the eastern half of the Italian Alps. I first learned about Cortina when I found out I was coming to Padova and ever since I'd been dying to go. Gabi came along brought her friend Matt who was visiting for the weekend, and we took a super early bus from Venice. The first half of the bus ride was spent napping, of course, but when I woke up and looked out the window, I was surrounded by the grand, majestic Dolomite mountains everywhere I looked! As we drove through the mountains for the next hour and half, I was a little overwhelmed; the scenery kept getting more amazing! Little towns at the foot of the mountains were so unbelievably picturesque that thinking back to them makes me wonder if they were real, and if not for my photos I don't know if I'd be convinced!
When we got there, we were speechless. We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather in a more beautiful place. The skies were bright blue with only a few fluffy white clouds scattered here and there, and the bright sun was shining, making it almost warm enough to go without a coat : ) Cortina d'Ampezzo is your typical mountain resort town, with cute cabin-like motels everywhere and people lugging around their ski equipment. It sits right in a valley between the Dolomites, so literally everywhere you turn you are faced with the rocky, snow-capped peaks of the mountains. The views were absolutely magnificent, and I'd say a good portion of our 3 1/2 hours there was spent taking pictures!
The town itself is quite small, actually, so after finding the town centro and walking down the main street for a bit, we stopped in a cute Austrian-inspired restaurant for lunch. Being a resort town it was obviously a little pricey but well worth it - my taglietelle with zucchini, pine nuts, and goat cheese was delicious! The restaurant had such a cozy atmosphere, it was the perfect place to grab a bite before setting back out into the town.
The rest of the time we really just walked around, enjoying the scenery, the people, the snow, and especially the Christmas stuff everywhere. There were lights and other decorations throughout the town and the stores seemed to be selling nothing but Christmas things. They had even converted the side of a building into an advent calendar! There were also cute little stands along the street with locals selling artwork, crafts, and other goods. Dominating the town centro is a gorgeous clock tower that stands next to the lone town church, both which made pretty sites to see. It was also funny to see all the dogs dressed up in winter clothes : ) We even saw a pooch wearing boots!
Speaking of boots, Gabi and I fell in love with Moon Boots. I don't mean snow shoes, I mean legit, marshmallow-esque Moon Boots! Everyone was wearing them, and when we saw them in a store window it was a good thing it was closed because I think we both would have bought a pair! Check out the picture if you don't know what I'm talking about.
Since the bus ride back takes almost 4 hours, our time quickly came to an end. Just as we were leaving the clouds started moving in, so it was perfect timing! As we were getting on the bus, imagine my luck when in front of us is an older woman with a baby weenie dog!! He was just the cutest thing I've ever seen. When he tried to jump onto the platform where the seat was, his back legs were too short and didn't make it so his owner had to nudge him on his bottom to help him up : ) I purposely sat near the woman so I could stare at him, and I came seriously close to asking her if I could hold him. Obviously, I'm obsessed with weenie dogs : )
The rest of the bus ride was uneventful and long, this time with no thrilling views as it was soon dark out. We still couldn't believe how lucky we'd been with the weather, and I was so happy I got to see Cortina. It's without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen! Although photos cannot do it justice, check out my albums to see the rest of my pics from the Dolomites and Cortina d'Ampezzo : )

p.s. After many long hours of working on my paper, I've finally finished! The total is 11 1/2 pages (in italian!) and was no easy feet. Tomorrow I leave for London for 4 days and when I get back I'll fix it up and then I turn it in Monday. Wish me luck, the professor can be harsh!

Abbracci e Baci

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