Travel > Hike the Alta Via 2, Northeast Italy Stage 1

We here at Lokely love two things: 

1. exploring the world around us 

2. our friends. 

That's why we're so excited to invite our friends John and Deb to share their journey hiking along the Alta Via 2 trail (Dolmites) and exploring Italy. 

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Ever wondered if the Alps were as cool as the major mountain ranges in the United States? Well, they are…and then some. This blog primarily covers the majority of the Alta Via 2 hiking trail in the Dolomite mountains in northeast Italy. My fiancée Deb and I decided to switch it up a bit in the latter portion of our trip to celebrate a special occasion (…you’ll see). I hope you find it informative and entertaining - john & deb

Saturday – Sunday, 1-2 July, 2017  

Andiamo! (San Diego, CA, USA to Hotel Gruner Baum) Andiamo! Say it with me…Andiamo! This was a prevalent theme during our trip to Italy as we were perpetually on the go. After dinner at probably our favorite restaurant Cowboy Star in San Diego, CA, we got a good night’s sleep before an early wake-up call to begin our journey. It was unlike me to not be sleep deprived and at least a little bit hungover, but I knew this was a special trip that I wanted to go as smooth as possible. Self-pat on the back.

We drove two hours from San Diego, CA to LAX, took a 15-minute Uber from our secret parking spot in Marina Del Ray (sshhhhhhhh…), flew British Airways through Chicago and London to Milan, took two trains (Trenitalia) from Milan to Bressanone/Brixen , and then took a 15-minute stroll to our hotel, Hotel Gruner Baum . I made the push to try out Tesloop (tesloop.com), which provides private or shared rides in Tesla’s for reasonable fares, to get from San Diego to LAX but the timing would have cut it too close. Next time Elon Musk.

A couple pro tips from travelling along the way

  • Chicago’s O’Hare Airport International Terminal is not that cool in comparison to other major city international terminals, which is unfortunate.
  • British Airways is the deal.  Ask for 2 wines and hide 1, so when they cut you off you still have more. Cred to @Darren Queen
  • Don't take the first transportation / shuttle in the Milan airport as they try to rip you off with pricing.  Walk just outside of the airport doors and take a taxi.  They take credit card, so no need to get cash from the airport as fees are typically high at the Forex and ATMs.  
  • Italian taxis drive like race car drivers, which is good when you're in a hurry.
  • The Milano Centrale Train station is a 15-20 min cab from Milano, Linate airport.
  • Buy tickets from the billetto kiosks, there's local and national (Trenitalia). There are usually attendants there to help you out with the kiosks.
  • We ended up with business class seats, which wasn't much more expensive. These tickets come with a snack (rosemary crackers were bomb), drink and refreshing towlette. I didn’t realize this until after I hit up the refreshment car for some red wine and prosciutto crudo.
  • Watch out for the toilet seats on the train, they don't stay down unless you sit on them. Close one.
  • Almost to Verona from Milan, we passed Desenzano, which looked like a beautiful town on a lake. If we'd had time to spend, I would’ve tried to stop here.

Our first taste of excitement - Our Train vs Their Lamborghini

Place your bets, place your bets...black Lambo versus high speed euro train. The pre-fight square off between the rich Lamborghini owner and the always on time, train conductor was classic…lots of smack talk, subtitle in English. I’m not sure what the actual odds are, but the fact that this exists is amazing!

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Bressanone/Brixen is a beautiful mountain town. From the moment Deb and I stepped off the train, we were in awe of how nice this place was.

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Hotel Gruner Baum was nice to check into after a long stint of travel. It had a lodge type feel, but pretty high end. Our room was huge with a view of their garden area. After we got settled in, we asked for some restaurant recommendations and were off to grab dinner. 

We ended up at Restaurant Traubenwirt, which could not have been a better start to our Italian food tour. We started with the Summer Classic appetizer and did the Goulash and Pasta that resembled a mix ravioli/pierogi filled with delicious for entrees. We had some red wine from Montecito, which was cool as we’ve been there before on our last trip to Italy. I also have to give a shout-out to our server as he was on point. 

Join John & Deb in their next post where they get started on their hiking journey!

You can also follow them on the Lokely App

John , Deb, & their puppy Disco