July 30, 2015

Holidays in The Dolomites and Venice

We have four smashing kids. The eldest two have slipped through the teen years into earliest adulthood, so 'kids' is a bit misleading really. Luckily for us they still want to come on holiday as a family, and the time together feels so very precious. Our holidays are now pretty carefully planned to have appeal for the whole family and the range of ages and interests our family of six now represents.

Our summer holiday this year has been a week of amazingly beautiful sights and extreme differences of environment. Our youngest would have probably enjoyed less sightseeing and more time playing in a pool, but overall it was a brilliant week together, and a joy to spend time together as a whole family. We had five days high in the Italian Dolomite mountains and three days in Venice. We had adventures in those mountains, long walks at over 7000ft scrambling over boulders and steep mountain tracks, wild swimming in freezing mountain lakes, walking in wonder through beautiful forests and meadows full of wild flowers. I wanted some adventure this year, and the Dolomites certainly gave it to me!

This was a good spot for a morning snack at about 8000ft, mid mountain hike!

Even in these inhospitable heights, there were beautiful flowers and ferns growing in gaps in the limestone.

Following the high paths down into the tree line, the waterfalls, forests and meadows were such a contrast to the rocky outcrops above.

Imagine the contrast arriving a few days later in sweltering, tourist crammed Venice!

It was all a bit of a shock, so we snuck off into the backstreets of some quieter areas to soak up some much less frenetic atmosphere. It paid off, the quiet canals and crumbling facades were the perfect place to soak up the spirit of the place and enjoy a gelato or prosecco or two four.

The beauty of Venice is disarmingly surreal, every corner and narrow street seems to open out on a suprising view more distractingly gorgeous than the last. The tightest of footpath can suddenly lead out to a view of the open sea, a series of ancient bridges or a faded palazzo.

The colours! 

Like Rome, the past and present seem to live and breathe together in the fabric of the buildings and streets in a way more potent than one is used to. It seemed easier to get a sense of place in the backwaters of the local residential areas than the central tourist spots around St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. It was fun seeing it through the eyes of our kids too. There is never a dull moment with this one!

We had a simple but really delicous dinner by this quiet canal, at a family run trattoria, dusk falling around us and turning to night as we ate. Memories made.

Our second son is leaving home in September, bound for med school hundreds of miles from home. These times together feel like gold. I hope you are having a fun summer, and make some lovely memories wherever you are. x


  1. Ve nice is high on my bucket list .... may need to add the dolomite now. Glad you had a good trip.

    1. oh, do get to the mountains one day Webb, early summer or late spring would be amazing for the wild flowers, but be prepared for capricious mountain weather! x

  2. I loved seeing your travels on Insta, your hols look such a good mix of contrasts. Our eldest is also off to uni, hopefully. Our family holiday will be all the more special because of that, I too will be treasuring every moment.

  3. Looks fantastic. We will be in the Dolomites area in a month's time but haven't picked a place. Where were you?

    1. Hi! We went to Madonna di Campiglio - couldn't recommend it more as a base for exploring that area of the mountains, has several cable cars that take you up really high, so the majority of your walking is already at height with amazing views, and then downhill. High terrain, woods, meadows, lakes, waterfalls, has it all! Good paths marked out. I have read about a disused railway line that provides an amazing and flat cycle route for miles near Cortina if that is more your thing. Just majestic scenery.

  4. That house perched on the mountain edge is amazing!
    Some of those buildings are so close together you could shake your neighbors hand!! Glad the family likes togetherness!

  5. wonderful summer of memories x