Archive for August, 2008

Visit to Trento, Italy, and the Dolomites

August 11, 2008 6:11 pm

Lake GardaItaly … sigh. Last week, Kevin and I drove to Trento for a short stay. Trento is about 70 miles northwest of Venice, situated in a glacial valley surrounded by the extremely tall sheer foothills of the Alps known as the Dolomites. The town is beautiful, with well-preserved Renaissance buildings, piazzas, and loads of cafes, restaurants, and bars with al fresco seating. And, I am happy to report, it was not mobbed with tourists, even at the height of the European holiday season – August.

It is only a short drive from Trento to the surrounding Dolomites, but the architecture completely changes from Italian to Alpine. All the signs are in Italian and German. We learned that after WW1, the border in this region shifted from Austria to Italy. I have the impression that boundaries all around here have shifted enormously over time. But whichever country claims the region, it is very alpine in nature, with rough jagged peaks reached by a network of ski gondolas, and there are hiking trails galore. Thanks to our lack of reading prior to the trip, however, we were not well-prepared for what the mountains had to offer. Without our hiking boots, backpacks, and water bottles, we could not just wander off onto the trails. What a pity. We had to content ourselves with strolling along the shores of some of the numerous beautiful turquoise lakes. At one lake in the alpine village of Molveno, we watched a demonstration of rescue dogs saving “drowners”. The dogs were having the time of their lives.

Speaking of lakes, we drove home by way of Lake Garda. When we came around a bend overlooking the lake, the view was so beautiful it felt surreal. I realized from scrutinizing the map that legendary Lake Como is between us here in Provence and Trento. I have promised myself to return next month for a visit to Lake Como, as well as for lots of hiking in the Dolomites. I had no idea of the treasures lying in wait in northern Italy – so accessible from where we live in the south of France!

Oh, and one more thing. While eating breakfast at our hotel, I saw a man whom I thought looked remarkably like Michael Palin. When I realized it was him, I must’ve made quite a face. He looked right at me, reflecting my wide-eyed shock of recognition. It cracked me up! I went over to tell him how great I think he is and he was really wonderful. He told me that each of the many travel shows he does is followed by a book of photographs, and that all the printing has been done in Trento. He and his photographer were there this time to work on their next project – a “best of” book of photos from all the shows. He started doing travelogues in 1980. 28 years ago? Impossible …

I’ve put up just a few shots myself in Photos.