Monday, 25 September 2017

The Dolomites, Italy - day 1

Saturday 10 June

Saturday was a full day of travel from Stresa on Lake Maggiore to the Dolomites. Two trains took us to Venice Mestre, arriving 4.20pm in 32C heat. Fortunately the bus station was less than 100 m away and our Cortina Express coach, departed promptly at 5.30 pm. The heat had drained my energy, but it was quickly revitalised as the coach began the climb into the mountains. I really didn't think that this holiday could get any better, but the higher we climbed, twisting and turning on the often precipitous road, passing through tiny iconic villages with ruggard, saw toothed peaks soaring above, filled me with exhilaration. I gazed with awe and tried not to think about the driver who had one hand on the wheel and the other to his ear, carrying on a conversation for the duration of the journey.

My husband had once again booked amazing accommodation with stunning views. The owners were sincere in their welcome as we struggled in at 8pm and throughout the week, went out of their way to make our stay in the Dolomites unforgettable.

Balcony view left and right - 8pm.

Evening views as we explored trying to find somewhere to dine. The late hour was not a problem. The locals were just getting ready to dine themselves.

Day 1 - Sunday 11 June

We were unaware when we booked, that the summer season was dependent on how long the snow stayed on the ground. On our arrival, our hosts Vanessa and Nic, informed us that only some buses and lifts were working. We were disappointed that we would not be able to get to the famous Tre Cime trail.

On this first day of hiking they pointed us to the cable car at the top of the village to take us to Faloria, 2123m and the starting point of the Panorama trail. What a beautiful blue sky day we woke up to.
Pink arrow - direction of the Panorama Trail.

Views from the cable car going up.

Views once we had alighted.

Thankfully clear signage.

I just didn't know where to look. As it was a steep descent, I had to look down quite regularly, but when I did look up, the jagged peaks, wildflowers, clarity of the sky, sheer drops and distant views had my jaw dropping.

I cultivate azaleas in my garden. Just amazing to see them growing in the wild.

The pink line indicates our walk the following day.

Once we had dropped off the ridge, there was a short section of road walking, before we had to turn left to traverse back, below the ridge line, but still well above Cortina. We were happy to find this marker to assure us that we had turned at the right time. If only our Australian trails were as well marked!

The ridge line we had hiked with our new trail traversing below.

Initially the traverse took us through forest with its lush, green, grassy undergrowth.

At this point we have dropped down below the traverse and are entering a small village above Cortina.

Having worked up an appetite during the day, Frank was a tad disappointed with his Cortina style,
a la carte hamburger!

It was a beautiful, cool evening, with the temperature only reaching 24C during the day.

What a wonderful start to our week's hiking here.

I would love to read your comment.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Toowoomba - a city of colour, but so brown.

Wednesday 20 September 

This week is the annual Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. The Hungry Hikers made a visit on Wednesday. Whilst the gardens, given our drought conditions, were a spectacular blaze of colour, it was alarming to see the depth and extent of the brown, from this lack of rain. The farms across the Lockyer Valley were brown and desolate. In Toowoomba the images were repeated unless we were visiting a display garden or park.

Showers and thunderstorms were forecast for this afternoon. It appears only one or two areas were fortunate enough to have any rain fall. Tomorrow the temperatures are set to rise well into the 30's C.
It is worrying that this scenario covers most of Queensland and New South Wales. In March inches and inches fell, causing devastating flooding. There has been nothing since.

Congratulations to the owners of the carnival gardens. They were magnificent. Their water bills will be high.

I didn't think to take a pic of a brown suburban street, but these 2 images tell the brown story. These fields were beside winning gardens.

Our first port of call for the day was a return visit to Spring Bluff Railway Station, halfway up the range to Toowoomba. It was wonderful, but not quite as colourful as on our visit last year. Many trees and plants were still coming into bloom.

We were excited to see not only one, but two trains come through. The first a long coal train.

The second was a carnival train with 350 passengers descending to enjoy the beauty. These three  men were volunteer railway workers for the week. 

Top L - the passenger train arriving.
Bottom pics - the engine re-positioning.

This garden inscription seemed very appropriate to start my photographic journey in Toowoomba. It was seen in the garden of an 86 year old entrant.

Cottage garden 1.

Cottage garden 2.

These flowers were created from beer bottle caps.

And hi back to you!

Sorry, no time to join you in a cuppa.

Cottage garden 2's neighbour.

 The garden of the lovely 86 year old woman.

Laurel Bank Gardens - one of few parks with green grass.

This beautiful peacock had been an entry in the carnival parade on Saturday.

The botanical gardens section of a very dry, brown Queens Park.

A lovely nook for a coffee and cake before our drive home.

 A wondrous day. Please let the rain the rain fall long and heavily very soon.