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Cortina in the Dolomites

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

IMG_8222 - Cortina - 270◄ Cortina – one of those very swish-looking Italian alpine towns, a place that simply looks expensive!

It was the last stop on my recent France and Italy circuit. Way back in 1971 on the first Europe trip Maureen and I ever made we camped just north of Cortina in Dobbiaco. This time we were in Cortina itself, staying at a friend’s place. Essentially Cortina is a skiing area, but it’s beautiful anytime of year and in summer walking is the main activity.

 

IMG_8184 - Dolomite walking - 540▲Walking from Rifugio Lagazuoi to Rifugio Scotoni

IMG_8189 - Rifugio Lagazuoi to Rifugio Scotoni - 270We started at the Funivia Lagazuoi cable car which carried us up to WW I emplacements, which in 1916 must have been miserably cold hideaways for the conflict between Austria (or the Austro-Hungarian Empire as it would have been then) and Italy.

From there we walked, mainly downhill, to the delightful Rifugio Scotoni Hütte mountain restaurant where we encountered (along with a lot of good food) skiwasser – a popular non-alcoholic drink up here, lemon juice, raspberry flavouring and soda?

The next day it was a chairlift at Monte Cristallo followed by a walk following a river down a valley to Ristorante Ospitale for more good food.

IMG_8210 - Son Forca-Forcella Staunies chairlift - 540▲ From the top of the chairlift you could look up the even steeper Son Forca-Forcella Staunies lift with its cute little capsules

IMG_8210 - Son Forca-Forcella Staunies chairlift - 540

Cortina in the Dolomites

24 August 2016 | Places

◄ Cortina – one of those very swish-looking Italian alpine towns, a place that simply looks expensive! It was the last stop on my recent France and Italy circuit. Way back in 1971 on the first Europe trip Maureen and I ever made we camped just north of Cortina in D...

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IMG_7958 - nightfall, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salut - 540

Venice

21 August 2016 | Places

My recent France and Italy drive continued from Grosseto to Venice. Of course Venice was as beautiful as ever … ▲ Whether you were looking across the lagoon to the Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of San Maggiore at sunset ▲ Or, a little later, direc...

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IMG_7894 - Gelateria Paradise - 540

Grosseto & Around – beach, hot springs, churches & gelati

13 August 2016 | Places

After our visit to Aix-en-Provence in France my little European foray continued to flashy Portofino and on down to Grosseto, in the southern corner of Tuscany, heading towards Rome. The city has a fine cathedral, remnants of the city walls and an interesting museum. ...

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Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room - 270

So Long Marianne – and typewriters

8 August 2016 | Culture

Marianne Ihlen – the Marianne to whom Leonard Cohen said ‘So Long’ to all those years ago – died on 29 July. I’ve just read today’s story in The Guardian on a final letter Cohen wrote to her, knowing she would soon be gone. It was Marianne who inspired ‘Hey, That's No...

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IMG_7774 - Portofino Harbour from Castello Brown - 540

Portofino

6 August 2016 | Places

From our Little French Trip we continued on into Italy for a short stop at Portofino, just south of Genoa. This is the Italian Riviera at its most luxurious, way back in 2001 I spent a couple of days on this coast walking the Cinque Terre coastal track. It was wonderf...

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IMG_7744 - Tadao Ando – Four Cubes, Château La Coste - 540

Wine, Art & a Château

5 August 2016 | Culture

While I was in Aix on my recent France trip we made a little excursion to Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, close to the town. The winery, restaurant and art complex is owned by Belfast-born Paddy McKinnen who had a colourful tussle for control of London’s C...

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IMG_7378 - Duga-3 early detection array (Russian Woodpecker) - 540

Cold War Relics – in both directions

4 August 2016 | Places

En route to the Chernobyl reactor and the ghost town of Pripyat we made a short detour to an amazing Cold War site. Here’s my diary entry: ‘a fascinating diversion to the Duga-3 early detection array (aka Russian Woodpecker), where the Russians watched out for missile...

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Absurdistan

Absurdistan

3 August 2016 | Media

I really liked Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story and I’m weirdly fascinated by any country that ends in ‘-stan’ – I’ve been to a few of them – so his earlier novel Absurdistan looked like a certainty. Sure enough the vulgar misadventures of the grossly overw...

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IMG_7678 - Gevrey-Chambertin - 270

A Little French Trip

2 August 2016 | Places

Having returned from Kiev and Chernobyl with my radiation levels under control I set off for a driving trip through France and Italy with a group of friends. ▲ First it was Eurotunnel under the Channel then along the autoroute to Gevrey Chambertin. ◄ Yes we’...

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IMG_7589 - wall mural in Podil district - 540

Kiev – the Capital of Ukraine

29 July 2016 | Places

My recent travels to Ukraine featured a couple of days in Kiev, as well as pointing a gieger counter at Reactor 4 at Chernobyl. Kiev’s a surprisingly attractive city and there’s plenty to occupy a few days. ▲ Plenty of glittering Orthodox churches and cathedral...

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