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Trip Report Hiking in the Dolomites

A quick recount of my ten days of hiking and climbing in the Dolomites, northern Italy.
I had intended to walk independently, on a trail called Alta Via 2. However this involved a lot of higher altitude and steep country, so to be safe I joined a guided walk with a small, local family company called Holomites. Everything about this trip was brilliant. I arrived a few days early to get over jet lag - Holomites booked me into the Hotel Gran Ander in the family's little town of Badia. The food here was as good as anywhere I've been in the world, and that includes Michelin star restaurants and big city five star hotels, and the owner's son helped me fix my internet problems!
I tackled one via ferrata (rock climb attached to a fixed cable, very popular there), with a guide. About 3 hours, it was challenging and satisfying, though the most popular of these can be terribly crowded in summer, nothing worse than hanging on a cliff face waiting for the queue to move on, so pick your time!
On our Alta Via walk we covered about 20km/day, into high altitudes, yet every lunch was at a mountain restaurant (yes I ate too much). Our guide was young and enthusiastic, when not guiding he works on track maintenance. We stayed in either alpine club huts (in shared bunk rooms with good, wholesome meals), or small village and mountain hotels (in one we enjoyed a degustation meal in their Michelin restaurant, can you believe). The scenery was gorgeous, we shared it with many local Italians, plus Germans, Austrians, Swiss, including lots of families - all out enjoying the mountains.
In summary - great scenery, trails all well marked, with easy or difficult options to suit, and cable cars to help some of the climbs, great food (Italian, Austrian and local Ladin), quality, friendly accommodation - and all very reasonably priced compared with other areas of Europe (and the USA, which I'm now beginning to research, erk!).

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