Dolomites Journals

Dolomites

A May 2009 trip to Dolomites by lwrbva

Sunset on the Sella Group Photo, Dolomites, Italy More Photos
Quote: Richard and I toured the Dolomites of Italy with his parents, Heather and Gordon. We flew from Dulles airport to Munich and drove to Canazei, Italy, to Reutte, Austria and back to Munich, with stops in Germany en route.

Day 1 - Getting there

Potbelly Sandwich Works

Restaurant | "Better than a Burger"

Quote:
Heather and Gordon shared a smoked ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat that was excellent and more than adequate with the veggie salad. The salad included artichokes, romaine lettuce, little cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chickpeas -- all very tasty ($5.50). The small sandwich was $4.50 with an upgrade possible for $5.50.
Richard had The Wreck.
Laura had a large PB&J on multigrain bread, an IBC root beer and a chocolate malt, clearly off to a healthy start on this trip!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 12, 2009

Potbelly Sandwich Works
22035 Dulles Retail Plz # 100
Sterling
(571) 434-7710

Quote:
Written while sitting on the floor at Gate C3 at Dulles International.We boarded the 5:25 United flight to Munich at 4:50. We were in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm and had to run through a sheet of water pouring between the jetway and the plane. Once at our seats, we pulled out the blankets and got settled in. About 5 minutes later, the flight attendant announced that they were going to stop boarding due to the waterfall at the door to the plane. (Yes, they really said "waterfall".) About 20 minutes later -- well after the thunderstorm had passed -- the captain announced that we were going to have to get off the plane. There was a part needed to protect the ozone layer that ha...Read More

Vino Volo

Restaurant | "Who Said Flight Delays Were a Bad Thing?"

Quote:
Located right next to gate C3 in Dulles airport is Vino Volo. Vino Volo is a small restaurant that provides a limited number of menu items to accompany a variety of wines that are sold by the glass, in tasting "flights" and by the bottle.Gordon and Laura shared a wonderful Tuscan Chicken Sandwich with a red pepper aioli. Not huge but tasty. It came with three cornichons. A very nice snack while waiting on our delayed flight.Gordon had the Carneros rose', Heather had the rose' flight, Richard had the Zinfandel flight and Laura had the Down Under flight. The wine was very reasonably priced (especially considering that we were in an airport ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2009

Vino Volo
1 Saarinen Cir
Sterling
(703) 661-1999

Munich to Canazei

Story/Tip

Quote:
We had planned to meet a friend at Munich airport for breakfast. Due to our delayed flight, we did not arrive until almost noon -- and we missed meeting our friend. However, there was no line at passport control and we sailed through the airport, picking up our bags and our rental car with no problems. We had reserved the car with Alamo but were instructed to go to the Europecar counter. We ended up getting the car for less than the reserved price. That doesn't usually happen!We drove on the Autobahn around Munich, then took to little country roads to wind our way south. We stopped at two restaurants only to find that they were closed for private parties. The places were packed with...Read More

Schloss Cafe

Restaurant | "Table by the See"

Schloss Cafe Photo, Tegernsee, Germany
Quote:
We ate outside at the Terassecafe. It was a gorgeous sunny day with puffy white clouds and a slight breeze coming in off the water. The bier was good. We had Schweine schnitzel (breaded pork cutlet) that came with a lemon on top, weiner Wurstchen (little sausages, like a hot dog weiner), hausgemachten Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) and a small green salad. The food was wonderful. The schnitzel was tender and juicy, lightly breaded and not greasy. German potato salad is vinegar based (instead of mayonnaise), and this was no exception. For dessert, we had Erdbeerenkuche (strawberry cake) and Sachertorte and Schokolade. The strawberry cake had a thin pastry crust on the bottom with a layer of a li...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 12, 2009

Schloss Cafe
Seestrase 8
Tegernsee, Germany
+49 8022 4868

Day 2 - Getting situated

Imbiss

Restaurant | "Quick, Cheap Eats"

Quote:
We stopped at a little Imbiss located right on the Passo di Costalunga. It is a very small building, and the Imbiss sign is easier to see when coming from the direction of Bolzano. (We were looking for a place to eat, did not see it until we had passed the Imbiss and turned around to go back.)An older couple ran the Imbiss, which is a cross between a snack bar and a diner. We each ordered a sausage, which was served with ketchup and mustard, for a mid-day snack.The menu included more substantial items such as weinerschnitzel with potato salad and was predominantly German fare, although they did have a type of ravioli.The prices were good, service was fast, and th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 14, 2009

LD Market

Attraction | "Open Sunday!"

Quote:
We were pleasantly surprised to find a grocery store open on Sunday. Nearly everything else was closed, and we needed basics (such as toilet paper) for our timeshare. LD Market is a chain discount grocery store that has a very limited selection of items but at very good prices. They have a complete selection of meats and cheeses but do not carry fruit or vegetables.

If you are staying in a timeshare and are looking for some inexpensive basics such as toilet paper, paper towels, rice, bread, cereal, milk, or lunchmeats, this store is a great option.

They take only cash and bank cards -- no credit cards.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Naeem Spezie

Attraction | "Small Shop Open Sunday"

Quote:
We were able to buy some fruits and vegetables at Naeem Spezie -- a "corner store" near the bus and rail station in downtown Bolzano. It was much like the small grocery shops you see in downtown San Francisco, specializing in Asian or Indian foods. Items such as olive oil were much more expensive than at the LD Market, but it was a relief to find this shop open for business with a selection of fruits (pears, oranges, cherries, apricots) and vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, and lots of peppers).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Hotel Restaurant Unterinnerhof

Restaurant | "Best Meal of Our Trip"

View from Renon at dusk Photo, Renon, Italy
Quote:
Without a doubt, Unterinnerhof served the best meal of our trip. The waitress who saw us come in began leading us to an indoor table, but we asked to sit on the patio -- even though it was getting cool outside. In the process, we discovered that the waitress spoke only Italian, and she discovered that we could speak a little German. So, the wait staff switched, and a German-speaking waiter served us the rest of the meal.I had the opportunity to practice a great deal of German as we inquired about various regional wines and wineries. Our waiter was tremendously helpful and gave suggestions regarding wineries to visit nearby. The wi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Day 3 - Exploring the Dolomites

Sella Group Photo, Dolomites, Italy
Quote:
What a hike. Not yet adjusted to the time change, we had slept in and did not really get on the mountain until 1:30 in the afternoon. Then, the directions we had were not clear and we were not sure which trail to take. We ended up just navigating by eye and picking the trail that looked like it went where we wanted to go!Since spring comes later at those elevations, we had to cross snow on the trail fairly frequently -- and always on steep slopes.The views were unparalleled. The Sassolungo Group towered over us, rugged, jagged peaks, jutting into the bright blue sky. And then, the sky was not so blue anymore. Storm clouds began building, and the sky became dark, black, an...Read More

El Ciasel Ristorante

Restaurant | "Open Late"

Quote:
We had gotten off to a late start and had come down from the mountain hungry. Nearly everything was already closed. El Ciasel was shutting down, but they agreed to fix us pizza for a quick supper. Despite how late it was and how hungry we were, the pizza was only passable. Richard had a "Pizza del Pop" that had peppers, sausage, mushrooms, sauce and mozzarella. I had a Pizza Formaggio (4 cheese). It is always hard to put a finger on what makes a pizza ok, good, or great. El Ciasel's pizza crust and sauce were nothing spectacular but tasted fine. For me, the issue was the cheese on my pizza. It was very runny, very greasy and not very flavorful. Richard's complaint with his pizza was similar:...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

El Ciasel Ristorante
Strada de Col de Pin 15
Canazei, Italy
+39 0462 602190

Day 4 - Relaxing in the Park

Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi

Attraction | "Popular Park"

Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi Photo, Italy, Europe
Quote:
We visited the park on an Italian national holiday. Traffic was not bad, which was surprising given that the road through the park was very narrow and winding. All of the areas designed for stopping and enjoying the park were very crowded, though. The park is quite large. Roads cross the park mainly East/West and do not connect within the park. As a result, you have to drive in and out of the park multiple times to see different areas of the park - not a bad thing since it reduces the number of roads within the park - but a factor to consider when planning a trip.We only visited the northernmost area of the park. Mis Lake was beautiful and peaceful. It was a cool turquoi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 14, 2009

Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi
Piazza Zancanaro, 1
Italy
0439 3328

Day 5 - Day trip to Lienz

Petrocelli's Cafe-Bar

Restaurant | "Ice Cream Delights"

Petrocelli's Cafe-Bar Photo, Lienz, Austria
Quote:
By the time we got to Lienz, we were very hungry. We sat down in the first cafe we came to, which happened to be located right in the town square. Petrocelli's offered a small lunch menu and a much larger ice cream menu.Heather had a cafe latte, and Gordon tried a Pinot Grigio. Both were quite nice. Heather was particularly thrilled with the foam on the latte.Heather and Richard each had a mixed salad for lunch. Gordon had "Schinken, Kase und Toast" -- better known as a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Laura had Goulaschsuppe mit Brot - or a meaty soup with bread.But it was the dessert that really shined. Laura and Richard shared a Schokobecher, which consist...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Petrocelli's Cafe-Bar
Hauptplatz 9
Lienz, Austria
04852 6436444

City Cafe Glanzl

Restaurant | "Considerate Service"

Quote:
Unwittingly, we sat down in the City Cafe at closing time. The waitress came over, looking a bit confused, and asked if we needed anything (in German). I responded with our drink order. She asked if we were getting anything to eat, and I said that we were not. Since we were not wanting to eat, she went ahead and got us our hot chocolates and cafe latte. She never said a word about their being closed until we later tried to order a milkshake. Eventually, as we sat there sipping our drinks, she began picking up the seat cushions and table settings (sugar, menus, etc.) on other tables. She did not rush us or at all make us feel pressured to leave so that she could clear our table.Nonet...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 14, 2009

City Cafe Glanzl
Hauptplatz 13
Lienz 9900
+43 4852 62073

Pizzeria Ristorante Il Ponte

Restaurant | "Best Pizza of Our Trip"

Quote:
It was much too late to be looking for a restaurant. Everything was closed. We stumbled upon Pizzeria Il Ponte and to our shock and amazement, they were still open! They had a traditional wood-fired oven, and the pizza crust was perfect. Laura had a prosciutto crudo pizza, that could not have been better.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Day 6 - Winetasting on the Sudtiroler Weinstrasse

Winetasting in Sudtirol

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Wineroad Photo,
Quote:
After the late night last night, we slept in and had breakfast at Casa Canazei around 10:30am. Gordon and Heather opted to stay around town, and we (Laura and Richard) headed off to go wine tasting. We had made the drive between Canazei and Bolzano several times now, but the views today were magnificent. Previously, the car thermometer had registered 8-10 degrees Celcius -- and 4 degrees at the pass. Today, the thermometer was registering 21-25 degrees -- and the hillsides showed the difference. Out of nowhere, spring had sprung. The hills were alive ... with wildflowers. Purple lupine stood tall and waved gently in the breeze. Whole hillsides were covered with tiny yellow and white flowers. ...Read More

Zum Falken

Restaurant | "Off-Hour Luncheon"

Zum Falken Photo, Cornaiano, Italy
Quote:
It is difficult to gauge the food at Zum Falken because they were serving "cold food" until 6pm, when they would start serving their full menu. What we had was good, and the presentation of the hot chocolate was delightful. The restaurant appeared to be the only place serving food at 3 in the afternoon -- a definite factor in its favor. The waiter was very nice and did not speak a word of English.Laura had a hot chocolate and Emmenthaler cheese with butter and brotchen. Richard had wurstsalat garniert, which was slices of bologna (not at all like Oscar Mayer makes) with a pile of pickles and onions. Richard also had some fresh rye bread and a bro...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Zum Falken
Via S. Sebastiano
Cornaiano

Niedermayr

Attraction | "Americans Are Missing a Great Wine Find"

Niedermayr Photo, Cornaiano, Italy
Quote:
At Niedermayr, the shop was completely quiet. No one was there tasting, and a few employees were quietly working in an office. We explained we would like to do a tasting and that we only spoke a very limited amount of German. Our English-speaking host explained each of the wines and answered our questions about the local varietals and terrior. We learned that they only get 4-5 Americans in for wine tasting each year and not many English in either. We tasted their Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Terlaner, Lagrein aus Gries Riserva, and Euforius. They were all very good. The Terlaner is a blend of 1/2 Pinot Bianco and 1/2 Chardonnay. The Euforius is...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Niedermayr
Jesuheimstrasse
Cornaiano
+39 0471 662451

Produttori Colterenzio

Attraction | "Very Busy and Highly Rated Wine Shop"

Produttori Colterenzio Photo, Cornaiano, Italy
Quote:
When we walked in, the Colterenzio wine shop was very busy. The proprietor was ringing up a purchase for one group, and another large group of people were browsing the selections. He immediately began helping the other group which was from Germany. They left with four cases of wine. Once it was our turn, I explained that we would like to do a tasting - and learned the German word "probieren". We did not learn that in my high school German class! The proprietor was very friendly and patient with my poor German. We tasted Vernatsch (a light red that was reminiscent of Beaujolais Nouveau but had much more character), Goldmuskatelle...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Produttori Colterenzio
Strada del Vino 8
Cornaiano
+39 0471 664 246

Day 7 - Merano and surrounds

Naturalia

Attraction | "Oh, to Shop Like This at Home!"

Quote:
While wandering around the city, we just happened upon a fun grocery store, Naturalia. It is an organic grocery store and has many of the same things you would see in an organic store in the U.S. I like to bake, though. And OH! The selection for baking products -- every type of flour and whole grain, different types of yeasts that I have to mail-order, candied fruit peels... It was heaven, except that I'd never get most of the products through a U.S. Agriculture inspection. So, we settled for a bottle of limoncello.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Naturalia
Via Meinardo 49
Merano
+49 0473 22 10 12

Raging torrent in Stelvio Photo, Dolomites, Italy
Quote:
We wound our way up a tiny road through Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio, climbing steeply with each hairpin turn. The mountains were much less rugged than the Dolomites and reminded us of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. We parked, walked a short way, and sat by a small pond to eat our packed lunches. Then we headed up a very wet trail that was serving as a path for the snow melt pouring down the mountain. Creeks everywhere were churning with runoff, and waterfalls were everywhere.

We glimpsed a fox standing on a bridge and saw many large birds.

Drowning in Wine

Story/Tip

Not your average wine tasting Photo,
Quote:
While in Merano, we discovered that the local wine region was doing a broad tasting from many different wineries. We decided to go to the wine tasting after hiking.

When we arrived at Castle Kastelbell, the location for the wine tasting, we discovered that they had over 60 wines there to taste.

Day 8 - To Austria and beyond

Hotel Alpina Regina

Restaurant | "Delicious Meal"

Quote:
We stopped to get lunch in a small town called Biberwier, off the main road between Innsbruck and Reutte. We stopped at a traditional-looking German-style hotel/restaurant, called Hotel Alpina Regina.

The coffee was wonderful and helped get rid of the chill from the rain, as did the tomato-cream soup with a dollop of fresh cream! Richard and Gordon had Wienerschnitzel that was quite large and was delicious. Heather had a mixed salad, and Laura had Cheese Spatzle.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2009

Hotel Alpina Regina
Fernpassstrasse 54
Biberwier
+43 5673 2469

Gasthof Pension Waldrast

Hotel | "Wonderful Place to Stay"

Gasthof Pension Waldrast Photo, Reutte, Austria
Quote:
We had only scheduled the Gasthof Pension Waldrast as a place to stay en route from Italy back to Munich. We all loved our very short stay and wished we had more days left in our trip.Our hosts were very friendly, including their dog Picasso. The breakfast was standard Continental fare: meat, cheese, cereal, yogurt and bread. Unlike some places, though, the bread was fresh, and there were a selection of tasty meats.The rooms were very reasonable in price. One of the rooms included a sitting room, where we sat together in the evening and reminisced about our trip that was almost over. The beds were comfortable. Each room has a pr...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 14, 2009

Gasthof Pension Waldrast
Ehrenbergstrasse
Reutte
+43 5672 6 2443

Day 9 - Germany