In Italian dialect the word “Zinne” means boobs. So when you meet an elegant and professional man who talks about “zinne”, I bet you can’t hold your laugh. A professional and elegant man like Franz Ladinser, who kept repeating “zinne” over and over. But he is not crazy; this is the name of this region.
“I know, the name 3 Zinnen may sound a little bit weird”, says Franz while my travel companions and I were feasting on cold cuts and cheese from his hotel Orso Grigio in San Candido (which is really comfortable and has a great price/location ratio – about 80 euro per person per night).
San Candido, South Dolomite, is the oldest village in the Tyrol area. Besides being incredibly pretty, it is also a great place that offers so many things to do and to see. Bike lovers like me – I must come back here on summer time – can enjoy a number of cycle paths, just like Drava that leads all the way to Lienz. Those who don’t feel like biking all the way back, can catch a train. Trekking lovers will go crazy in this area. On my very first day we went all the way up to Prato Piazza (by car), and then we kept walking and walking to get to the top of the mountain overlooking the 3 Peaks.
I personally suggest you not to overestimate your abilities when it comes to hiking on the mountain. I am well trained (I swim and run a lot), but I have been struggling walking up and down on a mountain full of snow. However, once I was on the mountaintop I felt overwhelmed by joy for three different reasons: the view was just breathtaking, our guide’s sister had prepared some deliciously yummy cookies with rom, and I found a small notebook on a tree. It had been left there so visitors could leave a note about their experience. I wish I wrote “I can’t believe I made it all the way up here”.
After hiking, I finally went to relax at Prato Piazza, overlooking the mountain Croda Rossa in the midst of the nature park Fanes-Sennes-Braies. Travel Tip number one: if you are vegetarian don’t forget to ask if the dish of your choice includes meat – they put it everywhere, even in the barley soup. Travel Tip number two: order a Calimero, it will melt your heart.
I must say that the only thing that convinced me to stop eating and to start moving again were the two magic words Lake Braies. I have heard so many stories about this place and I have seen so many beautiful pics that had been taken here, just like the ones shot by my friend Elena.
It took half an hour to get to this stunning place. The lake was frozen so we have been playing away.
Not too far from the lake there is the lovely restaurant-hotel Pragser Wildsee, where you will find Emma Hellenstainer, also known as Frau Emma, who is an amazing cook as well as the cofounder of the Alpine Club of the Alto Adige region. Last but not least, jam lovers will love the Alpe Pragas shop, a real paradise of mustards and jams.
After lunch I even found the energy to go to Acquafun to swim for a little bit. The water there was just so warm. It is a great place to relax after skiing and trekking.
On our first night my travel mates and I went to dine at Winkelkeller, a very suggestive and romantic restaurant. I highly suggest you to try all the deserts they have on their menu. The main dishes are a great combination of traditional ingredients with a contemporary twist.
I personally prefer simple flavors when it comes to food, so I have ordered some cheese – and it was super yummy.
Our second day on the Dolomites has also been pretty intense. We have been trekking around the Tre Cime-Dolomiti di Sesto Nature Park. Temperature was about -14 degrees, my hair was literally freezing but hey, the view was stunning.
The cable car took us all the way to Rifugio Rudi, where we made a quick stop before trying to ride a little sled (I just loved it). Some useful info: the day pass for using the little sled is 29 euro, while if you also want to ski it is 51 euro.
We ended our adventure at Jora, a restaurant managed by chef Markus Holzer who uses only local ingredients. Food here is amazing and you will find so many vegetarian options.
Mountain Style tips: mine 🙂
Hoodie and slacks: Columbia