July 15th, 2017. This date marks one of the most intensive day in our traveling life together. On this day, we admired countless breathtaking landscapes in three wonderful locations in the Dolomites Mountains: the Earth Pyramids of Perca, Braies Lake and the Three Peaks of Lavaredo.
The day of a traveler starts with a proper breakfast. Not cappuccino e brioche. It should be a BIG breakfast. Sometimes it feels like we’re Buddhist monks who will have only one meal during the day. Besides, breakfast is included and should not go to waste. So here we are, filling our stomachs with cheese, salame, prosciutto, cake, bread and jam to save time and money on lunch. And let’s make a couple of sandwiches too, just in case.
Immediately after eating, right before going out, the first problem arises: “Damn, I forgot my warm pants, I only have shorts”. “Bravo Edo, what can I say?”. “At least we have proper trekking shoes”. “Water, sandwiches, camera…”. “Windbreaker jackets are in the car already, shall we go?”
The first destination of our adventurous day was the Earth Pyramids of Perca. From the parking lot nearby it’s a nice and easy road in the woods, which took around half hour and rewarded us with a completely unique landscape! High and slender pyramids made of sand and dirt holding stones of various sizes and shapes, constantly changing, eroded by wind and rain. Scattered around the pyramids there are some (creepy, according to Nastya) wooden sculptures reminding people how time is the most important thing we have, and should not be wasted. All of this creates a very unusual and fascinating scene.
After spending a bit of time admiring this natural wonder (and taking the usual hundreds of photos) we were ready to walk back to our car and proceed to the next stop on our list: Braies Lake!
Not too far from the pyramids, this amazingly blue and green lake is surrounded by Alpine forest and mountains, and it’s hands down one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever seen. And good news for lazy asses: you can arrive to the lake by car and rent a boat for around 20€ to relax surrounded by water, far from other tourists (you’ll have to do some rowing though).
We decided to pass on the boat and walk around the lake instead, since we’re trying to travel on a budget. Three kilometers took almost three hours (including a quick break to eat those sandwiches). No, we are not turtles, but hunters for amazing photos and believe us, you’ll need an extra battery for your camera here. We could (try to) write a whole poem about this beautiful place, but words just can’t describe the emotions you get while seeing how the mountains reflect in the turquoise surface of the lake.
All of this may seem enough already for a single day, but it’s not over yet! Our third and last stop is just one hour away, waiting for us: the majestic Three Peaks of Lavaredo.
EDO: After arriving to the closest town, the road to the peaks gets a bit tricky. You have two alternatives: either climb up on foot (not an option, since it’s already 6 pm and it will get darker before we even manage to get on top), or go up by car and then walk the two-hours track around the Three Peaks. Too bad you have to pay 20€ to go up by car. There used to be a cheaper rate for those going after 3 pm, until last year of course. Still, we would never regret spending that money, the view we got from up there was worth any sum.
But we’re not there yet: the road up is made by several very steep turns climbing up the mountain. Purtroppo, on the last turn, a bus coming from the opposite direction is invading my lane juuuust a little bit, and we had to stop, right on the turn, right on the maximum slope point. The small city car I am driving has no intention whatsoever to restart moving. Of course, another bus arrived from behind us right in that moment. We’re stuck. All of us. Nastya, not the greatest fan of mountain roads with steep cliffs and tight turns, is already freaking out, but I have everything under control somehow manage to get out of this situation. I move to the side a bit and make enough room for the buses to pass, then go backwards, take a run-up, pass the final turn and finally reach the top.
NASTYA: Yes, it’s hard for me to stand serpentine roads and of course I was freaked out. “Povera Nastya”, as Edo’s mother would say. But It was so worth it! Mountains… I’m just speechless here. When we arrived on the top, the sun was shining and the wind tried to blow us off the road. How cold it was! But the landscape… just BOOM! Mind-blowing! I had never been impressed so much in my life of what I saw in just a single day. I still don’t know why I cried when I was staying near these three giant peaks and refusing to go further; maybe because of tiredness or because of the overdose of emotions. The sea and the ocean are not even closely as impressive as the mountains. Especially the Dolomites. You just have to go and see for yourself.
As the sun started to go down, we decided to leave this magical place and came back down (without complaints from the car this time) to our hotel, where we got a well-deserved night sleep to recharge our batteries for the second part of our dolomitic trip.
New day, new lake!
Sorapis Lake, to be precise. Unlike at Braies, you can’t get there by car, so we had to dedicate the whole day to our next destination. The track to get there is pretty tough: almost two hours walking uphill on a road that near the end becomes just a narrow path on the side of the rock wall, with just a metal wire to hold on to. Plus one hour and a half to come back. But again, we would repeat it one hundred times and more, it’s so worth it!
First of all, the road itself gives you some really impressive views. You find yourself near the edge, holding on to this metal wire, looking at the valley expanding below in all its glory. And after two hours of exhausting trekking, the best reward you could possibly imagine is there waiting for you. The lake. The landscape in front of you is just unreal. How can water be so blue and white at the same time?
NASTYA: I was surprised to see how many old people took this not easy path. In Russia, you would never see people of my grandparent’s age be so active and to some extent athletic. On the way back I could barely move my legs!
Needless to say, this water, looking like some sort of milk-mint-ice-smurf smoothie, makes for some wonderful photos, and indeed, like the day before, we spent most of the time just walking around the lake admiring this wonder and filling up the memory card of our camera. Luckily, we had already copied all the photos from the previous days on the laptop.
Again, we could spend ages talking about this wonderful fairy-tale landscape, but it’s just impossible to describe such a beauty. Besides, a picture is worth a thousand words.
After spending several hours at the lake, we came back to the car and started heading towards our next stop. But first, we stopped in a nice restaurant on the road to get a proper reward after all that hiking.
So that’s it for our two days in the Dolomites. Below you’ll find our detailed itinerary and even more photos from these amazing places. Want to find out where we went next? Check out the next post!