Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas in Bolzano

We haven't had a winter Christmas since. . . .could it be? 2005? Holy guacamole! A few in Libya then last year in Australia. We thought about Canada this year but packing up the gaggle and living out of suitcases for three weeks just didn't do it for us so we decided on a shorter journey to the Italian Alps.
Flight to Munich then a train down to Bolzano, Italy. Oh how I love the European train system.
On Sunday we headed up to the Seiser Alm resort and (with Libby happily in day care at the hotel), Mel, Lucy, Oscar and I hit the slopes. What a gorgeous day. The kids did great remembering how to ski, and we had a blast. This photo was taken from where we ate lunch (and maybe drank a beer. . . .)

Huge amount of terrain up here. Nothing challenging, but so many lifts and different runs. Perfect for a family or perhaps an on-hill pub crawl.

Monday the weather was still great and we signed the kids up for a little ski school. Oscar (right) and Lucy (second from right) ended up in the same group and had a fun day, although Lucy complained later that the instructor wouldn't let her go fast. Hmmmm. . . who's daughter is that I wonder?

With the kids all sorted, Mel and I went off to explore alone. It was a trek, but with a bus, countless lifts and even an underground metro, we eventually made it to Val Gardena. Here's Mel trying to enjoy herself, despite the fact that we didn't make a run until after 11:00am.

So beautiful up here in the Alps. I took a panorama shot at the top of Val Gardena. Doesn't do it justice, but you get the idea.

The token self-portrait.

As I said, the area would be great for a pub crawl. There are dozens of huts scattered about that would have been great to visit if we didn't have parenting duties awaiting us elsewhere. Seriously on one long run we made there must have been at least 10 places on the way down serving food and drink. This is one we past on a lift note the lack of ski racks - just leave them on the ground!
Two observations before I leave the skiing - 1. not many snowboarders. 2. The infrastructure here is incredible, and the whole alpine culture is evident everywhere. Skiing is intertwined with everything else rather than an elitist activity like it is in North America (or around Calgary anyway). Neat to see and experience.
On Christmas day the kids wanted to go skating. So we found a pond not far away and had great fun.

Then we built a snow fort thanks to ideal snow conditions.

A nice walk down to town.


On Wednesday it snowed! It was funny to translate the expression "It's puking outside right now" to the locals, but they got the picture. Again with Libby in daycare, the four of us headed on a walk in the snow with the target being the top of a long toboggan hill. First a chair ride up to get us started.

Then the walk. At the end of the hike was a nice restaurant. Mmmmm. . . . . European hot chocolate. One is rarely enough!

Just after we arrived, somebody pulled up in a one-horse open sleigh. You should have seen Lucy's face when that one clicked!

Here's Mel getting ready to hit the toboggan run. Good fun.

Today was back to sunshine. We went for a hike up in the hills behind the hotel this morning and the views were stunning. I really think that these Dolomites are one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Highly recommended place to visit during any season!

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