This week a made a exciting trip into the Dolomites of north Italy, not knowing what to expect! There wasn't much information online, but I wanted to see the Lake of Braies for a long long time. The northern part of Italy is largely habited by Italy Austrian neighbours, giving it a strong German essence which is evident in the buildings, food, and culture. You will almost forget your in Italy.
Unfortunately, the Dolomites is subject to bad weather, and i had no idea the law would be frozen. We drove from Venice which took much longer then expected due to the bad weather, but was greeted by a beautiful white landscape upon arrival, contrary to my expectation. Anyhow i must make a point, it was equally as beautiful in the snow as what it looks like in the summer. Although you can carry on with hiking as usual, our clothing didn't;t call for it, and we were left with no much activity to do apart from skiing nearby which I've never really done. You really need warm clothing here such as thermals, and perhaps its good to double check with the pragser Wildsee hotel located on the lake, weather the lake will be visible or not.
Lago Di BraiesThe moon was visible quite early in the day, and a beautiful mist appeared in front of us making it picturesque. As temperatures soared it did become somewhat bearable. We decided to carry on watching the view from our very warm hotel room located directly on the lake. The hotel do a half board package for £90 a night which includes breakfast and a 3 course meal. It has a post was charm about it with traditional wooden log cabin feel to it. With hay flavoured soap, and rose shower gel they certainly made you feel like your beneath a mountain. However english was not their main language, and it was rather difficult to communicate, and i was with a friend of mine who wasn't rather fond of the architecture. It was quite dark and eerie and I think iy was a matter of taste
Merano/ South TyrolNext morning we packed and headed for south Tyrol , to a picturesque town called Merano located within the Dolomites. I recommend to do the journey by car, its absolutely stunning. Id heard about a beautiful Boutique hotel called Miramonti, a small family run business with a infinity pool boasting some beautiful views the surrounding area and Merano. Its a rather long drive up the mountain, but worth every minute. It kind of reminded me of the Villa Honnegg in Switzerland but only 1/3rd of the price. I was really impressed. The hotel portrays a feel at home value with very attentive staff, and its a great retreat to visit as a couple for two days. They arrange skiing and walking trips nearby amongst other activities. It somewhat felt like a tree house sanctuary, with a secret spa. The pool is heated to 30 degrees as winter periods are long, so you can enjoy you're pool in the snow without any worries. As the sun goes down, Merano lights up magnificently. Then you get a real feel of how far up you are. All guests get a welcome drink on arrival and a selection of sweets/cakes
View from our roomI really enjoyed the view from the tree house hot tub room. It was tranquil and it had a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains straight ahead. Our classic room had a beautiful view of the pool with a balcony terrace, wide screen tv, Loccataine products. We were definitely left relaxed before our move to our final destination Venice which is under 4 hours away.
Address: St. Kathreinstraße, 14, 39010 Hafling, Bozen, Italy Phone: +39 0473 279335
VeniceBeing located on the sea, it was absolutely freezing in February which mad me contemplate why i came. However as bustling as ever i soon became in the mood of things. This beautiful Island has some gorgeous architecture, and our trip was not complete without a ride on a very expensive gondler venetian style. Don't let this put you off. Near the Plaza Palace, you can get a small boat ride across the river for only 2 euros. Enough to get your picture in. Venice was very focused around shopping and eating. You will find everything from leather parades (very decent priced so a great place to buy a leather bag) or designer have such as Missomi, d&g. One thing which i found quite odd was the coffee culture. You re charged a service charge of 10% for sitting in a restaurant to have a coffee which cost about 5 euros, or you can go to the traditional italian stand up cafes with no charge. These are approx half the price, and the coffee not being so hot, and quick left much to be desired. I always thought Italy was proud of their coffee, but they had no sit down and relax feel to their coffee. I opted to go to hotels along the river, their coffee was reasonable, and they had some beautiful views to admire whilst having your coffee. It was a nicer feeling then the cafes. North Italy turned out o be a very lovely experience but I need to mention it was very challenging. i got tired of being lost- as we were near a mountain region it can be difficult to find your way even with sat nav. Secondly it really was me versus nature. due to the amount of snow i skid a few times with my car. I recommend to hire a 4x4 for the journey to be safe, and take plenty of water with you for your journey. There are not many shops and petrol can be expensive. The trip required a lot of planning and still things went wrong. I can see why so many tourists don't come from afar, and instead its more popular amongst neighbouring countries. The area somewhat requires you to know the region well, and how to drive. Don't put yourself at risk! Watchout from the seagulls, they like to victimise their tourists with their poop and I turned out to be one!