The one problem with holidays near mountains is you can NEVER predict the weather! It’s kind of cool because each day you spend in the mist makes you really, really appreciate the stunning views when the mountains finally decide to show their faces. Anyway we had the BEST POSSIBLE day walking along Schlern/Sciliar’s ridge the previous day. So I can’t complain about one seriously soggy day in Ortisei.
It was sort of a relief to wake up to terrible weather. It gave us an excuse to wake up slowly. Having said that, Marc and I have been hiking enough in the UK and Ireland to not be deterred by a little rain. So, we got out our waterproof coats, looked at our maps and found a relaxing walk across the Alpe di Siusi, heading towards Mount Seuc from a new direction.
There were far fewer walkers out and about in the rain. Especially compared to our other day walking around the Alpe di Siusi. We took a slow, circular route to the top of Mount Seuc, and only saw one other walking group the whole way. To be fair, it was so misty that we didn’t see much of the view…or much of anything really. Once we made it to the top, we decided that we were too wet to contemplate walking much further, so we stopped and had lunch at the cable car station. The food on offer at the Mont Seuc Cable Car station is really good! It is like the perfect stodgy German food, but finished off with Italian flourishes, so dumplings have parmesan cheese and quite a lot of the menu involves speck! We chose a speck-covered salad and some schnitzel to share. It was all lovely.
We then took a gondola down the mountain to St Ulrich / Ortisei / Urtijëi. The hiking trails had been empty, but the cable car was almost completely deserted. I suppose most people won’t pay €17 for the ride unless they are sure the view at the top is cloud free.
Towns and mountains really do have a lot of names around here!! The local name (in the Ladin dialect) is Urtijëi. The Italian name (as this is in Italy) is Ortisei. And the German name (because more than 60% of the population speaks German) is St Ulrich. I love that so many people here are at least bilingual or trilingual, but it can be confusing for tourists when you try to name mountains or towns! If you’d like to learn a little more about the history of the South Tyrol area, have a peek here. I digress…
Anyway, Ortisei (or Urtijëi or St Ulrich!) is a pretty town, even in the rain. We walked about for a while exploring the shops, but most things seemed to be closed. My favourite part was wandering around the more residential areas of the town. I love the way most houses have window boxes and gardens brim full of alpine flowers! They must get sick of the snow so adorn their lives with as much summery prettiness as they can!
After some hot chocolate, we took the cable car back up into the clouds. We needed to make our way over to the opposite side of the Alpe di Siusi to our next hotel in Saltria. We were still a little chilly. But that didn’t stop us from walking down the mountain, across the Alpe di Siusi and down into a valley next to another gorgeous Dolomite; Plattkofel/Sasplat.
So, that was our lazy day in the rain. We spent the rest of the day trying to warm up! We tried out the hotel pool and sauna, which was blissful. And then spent a while planning our route to climb Plattkofel, if only the weather would improve.