This summer, our family – my husband and I, and our two 20-something children, went on a trip of a lifetime – a week in the Italian, Austrian and German alps. The highlight of our trip was the four days we spent in the Dolomites – a mountain range in northeastern Italy. We spent three amazing days in the Val Gardena area of the Dolomites, hiking the mountains around Ortisei, and then moved to our final destination – Cinque Torri. Hiking in Europe is a little different than hiking in the U.S. There are lifts or gondolas that take you up the mountain, cutting off hours and miles of hiking. There was even one lift called the “Flying coffins.” We decided not to try that one!
Also, nestled in this breathtaking scenery, are “rifugios” or “huts” everywhere. These huts are amazing. They have food, they have beer and wine, and some of them even have rooms for rent – like a hostel. And best of all – they have gelato sundaes!
We decided that on our last night in the Dolomites, we’d be adventurous and stay in one of these huts, and reserved a room for four – 2 bunk beds with a bathroom down the hall. After a little research, we decided on Rifugio Scoiattoli.
Somehow, we missed the sign for the lift to Rifugio Scoiattoli, so we decided to drive the very windy road. Unfortunately, the road was too rough to make it to the top, and we had to hike the last 3/4 mile with our luggage and my camera gear. It was tough, and I’m pretty sure there was a bit of grumbling as we made our way up the hill! As we approached Cinque Torri, we heard voices, and looked up – way up on the main tower of Cinque Torri were tiny little people – rock climbers. We had a great time watching these climbers that night and the next morning. It was pretty amazing to watch them. Not something I’ll ever be attempting!
When we finally got to the hut, they had us take off our shoes. I guess it’s a local thing? And what did they give us to wear? Crocs! We had our choice of colors, and it was pretty funny to see my 6’5” son in hot pink crocs – the only ones that fit him. We went to check out our room, and WOW – our view WAS Cinque Torri. We, by far, had the best view in the hut! We quickly put down our things and went downstairs, dropped off our crocs, put our boots back on, and headed outside.
I can’t even begin to describe the beauty of the Cinque Torri area. Not only were there the five towers, but we were surrounded by 360 degrees of beautiful mountains. And the flowers – the ground was covered with purple and yellow flowers. I quickly found a spot and started shooting photos. I was in my element! And my family? They were in their element too, enjoying the hut’s beer, wine and gelato sundaes as they sat on the deck, taking in the incredible views.
Cinque Torri was absolutely stunning, and as the sun began to set, the limestone rock did indeed begin to glow.
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Photography by Theresa Rasmussen Photography.
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