Today was spent going for a hike in the Dolomite mountains. We headed out at 9:15 and walked a few minutes from the hotel to the hamlet of Compatch. Compatch has a few stores, and is a good spot to start hiking from. There are literally hundreds of possible hikes available to be done from here. It’s in a beautiful mountain meadow with peaks all around it.

We spent the morning with a local guide who talked all about the area, the history and the legends of the area. These meadows are used all year round. Farmers keep cattle here in the summer to graze and bring them down into the valley to winter. Apparently there is a huge festival in early October where the cows are paraded down to their winter homes. There are bands and a real festival atmosphere apparently . That would be cool to see, we’ll be long gone by then.

The weather was really very pleasant. The clouds moved in and out all morning giving a real ephemeral feel to the place. I can see where in early days enchanted creatures and witches played a big part of the local mythology. We got to our lunch spot at around 1:00. Deanna and I shared a board full of cheeses, onions, pickles, sausage and the local ham called Speck. It was really quite tasty. Before we headed back out the folks at the hut sent us away with a shot of the local drink which was sort of like grappa, ouzo,sambuca etc. More like jet fuel actually.

Deanna and Millie (one of the other ladies on the tour) found a place in Compatch to go horseback riding. They headed out from lunch a bit early to make it down in time for a ride.

Dinner tonight was another multi-course extravaganza including salad, soup, spinach crepes, chicken cor-don-bleu and cake. Those calories burned with the hike today? Yeah, they were admirably replaced by these ones.

Off to Venice (!) tomorrow.