The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Leaving Slovenia behind we headed for Pozza de Fassa in the Dolomites, the rain continued for the first fifty miles before clearing to a lovely clear blue sky. Once again a fantastic but tiring drive through beautiful valleys and alongside rivers on very narrow roads; it was a long 215 miles, but very enjoyable drive. We did not arrive at the campsite till 8pm after about ten hours of actual driving feeling extremely tired, so once booked in and set up it was time to go to the medicine cabinet for a tonic “plus gin”. We sat looking at the beautiful mountain scenery that was all around us while we let the medicine do its work, reviving us from the long drive.

The Fassa valley is lovely with majestic mountains on either side so green and clean, with a fast flowing crystal clear river running through it. It was along this river that we took our walk the next day having decided to have an easy day and recoup from the long drive. Besides the beauty and tranquility of it all what I really noticed was, that at regular intervals along this river there were many electricity generating stations, which I am sure supplied all the valley’s needs for electrical power and they were built so not to be obtrusive and fitted in with the local scenery. I do not understand why we do not do the same at all the entrances to the inlets along the coast such as Langstone and Chichester harbour, where the water is rushing in and out at high speed all day long every day without fail! Not like wind farms which are ugly and obtrusive relying on the wind, which is not guaranteed? Another of my pet hates! Right it’s time to get off my soap box and on with the story in hand.

Pozza is a nice little village situated either side of the road which runs up through the valley and has spectacular views of the Alps no matter which way you look, in fact it is such a beautiful area I will be heading back there again in just six days time. As I only had five days there last year and there are so many valleys like Fassa which I would like to see and walk their surrounding ridges. The valleys main tourist trade is skiing in the winter time, but in summer it’s great for walking.

Autumn Edition 2010

The Happy Wanderer in the Dolomites

On day two we purchased a panoramic three day pass for thirty euros; with this we were able to use all the buses, cable cars, ski and chair lifts in the valley over that period. This allowed us to catch a bus to an area we wanted to walk, get a cable car and ski lift up to the top of the mountains then walk along the ridges. Getting a ski lift and cable car back down to another village, then a bus back to our camp site. I can assure you we made good use of this pass over the next three days.

The weather was excellent which made walking the ridges really enjoyable with clear fantastic views in all directions, the slopes were covered in Alpine flowers, the beauty of it all took my breath away. The cows lower down on the slopes with their cow bells chiming added music to the scene. That is why I am on my way back! Although this time I will be on my own. Each of the walks we did were different, some had chalets along the way where you could get coffee and food, “Oh! I do like apple strudel”. On one of the walks we came across a farm high up near the top where they were doing trials with different types of cattle, including Yaks and Highland cattle. They also had a huge plastic model of a cow with large horns; of course you can guess which silly person had to have their photo taken with it, and No! I am not including it in this article.

Moving on, we intended to visit the “Otzi the Ice man” museum in Bolzano but were unable to drive our motor homes into the city due to height and size restrictions. If you remember, Otzi’s mummified body was found with his clothes and artifacts high up in one of the mountain passes; they named him after the Otztal Mountains where his body was found. He lived in the copper age 3,500 years ago. We did not have time to stay overnight on a camp site near there due to time restrictions, but I will be back there a few weeks from now and will be staying on a local camp site, so I can spend a couple of days there.

Heading North through the Bremmer Pass and on to Ehrwald in the Tirol staying on another campsite also with fantastic views of the mountains, especially the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at 2,962 metres and the reason for our visit. The next morning being lovely blue skies we set off for a walk through the woods which were full of wild flowers including aquilegias, to get to the cable car which would take us up to the viewing area near the top. The viewing area was large with several levels giving fantastic views of the Alps. There were restaurants and several places where you could get Bratwurst and chips plus a beer, sit at one of the many tables in the open and enjoy the views. The mountain Chuffs were in abundance hoping for the odd chip or two, the children up there were really enjoying feeding them.

It was possible to go higher by walking across a snow bridge then climb up a rock face, some metal hand grips had been drilled into the rock to help then along a small rock ridge to reach the peak with the cross on top. Watching a few younger people making the climb, I thought to myself, I could do that! I think? So off  I went, the snow ridge was the most nervous part for me as there was no safety net or anything to hold on to, it was a long way to fall if you slipped no health and safety pampering in Germany.

On reaching the cross at the top I noticed two lads about 18 or 20 doing the high fives shouting “we did it”! So I decided to spoil their day by tapping one of them on the shoulder and saying “Well if a 70 year old could do it, you definitely ought to be able to” Oh how could I be so mean, easy!!  After a long enjoyable day a nice bottle of Spatlese was consumed to finish it off nicely.

Christine L Culley

Zugspitze highest point

What a spot for a lunch stop

View along one of the ridges