Posts Tagged ‘Alps’

Monte Santo di LussariOur room at Albergo Salon was quiet and comfortable; I slept soundly all night, but in the morning there was no hot water, and so I was forced to begin the day with a cold shower. Happily, the breakfast downstairs—a platter of prosciutto and warm croissants filled with apricot jam—redeemed my mood. As we pulled out of our parking spot and slowly headed down the road from Piano d’Arta, we were accosted by several workmen frantically waving their arms at us. My immediate thought was that we were driving the wrong way down a one-way street. But finally, after a good deal of gesturing and pointing, we realized that we had left the plastic tub of esse di Raveo cookies sitting on the roof of the car!

Our destination was the area in northeast Friuli called Tarvisiano, nestled in the Giulian Alps and bordering Austria. Just before we reached the town of Tarvisio, where we had reservations for the night, Mike and I made a stop at Camporosso. Back in February, I had walked to Camporosso all the way from Tarvisio, the fields then blanketed with snow, to take the telecabina to the summit of Monte Santo di Lussari. The sky had been crystal clear, affording the most magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. Ski season had been in full swing, and so I joined the crowds at the top watching skiers glide down the steep slopes.

Monte Santo di LussariNow it was May, with far fewer visitors, and although the air was slightly warmer, there was still a great deal of snow covering the ground. Unlike my previous visit, the sky was gray and foreboding, with dark clouds threatening still more rain. A cold, brisk wind whipped through my hair as Mike and I hiked up the small hill behind the sanctuary. Once again, I felt as if I were standing on top of the world.

After making the long descent down the mountain inside the enclosed ski lift, we drove on to Tarvisio and checked into the Hotel Valle Verde. Presently, we walked the short distance into town and enjoyed a tasty lunch at Ristorante Gasthaus Tschurwald. To begin, we shared two antipasti: a plate of prosciutto di Sauris and a sampler of four cheeses served with mostarda di frutta (much like a chutney, this one made with pear). Next, I ordered a steaming bowl of orzo e fagioli (bean and barley soup), while Mike had gnocchi di patate alla Carnica (potato gnocchi served with melted butter, pancetta, and ricotta affumicata).

Laghi di FusineIn the afternoon, we drove to the Parco Naturale dei Laghi di Fusine. Inside the park, there were two lakes. The first one, Lago Inferiore, was larger and surrounded by pine trees and forested mountains. The higher one, Lago Superiore, was smaller but offered an even more spectacular vista. We hiked halfway around the lake, along a secluded path through the woods; on the other side, our reward was a view of Monte Mangart’s snow-covered, rocky peaks towering over the emerald green water.

Worn out from our trek, we rested in our room until 8:00pm. The hotel’s restaurant was scheduled to open then, and I was looking forward to trying some of their Friulian specialties. To our dismay, when we showed up at the dining room, we found the restaurant closed due to a 300-person wedding party being catered at a nearby villa. We had no choice but to walk back into town, where we spent the next hour scoping out all possibilities. Most restaurants were either too busy (given the late hour) or closed (it was in between the peak seasons of winter and summer). Another we had to pass up because of the dog and cat prowling around the dining area—I have a severe cat allergy. All that were left were a handful of pizzerie. After wandering through the entire town and exhausting all other options, we settled on the final pizzeria we came across, Ristorante Duemila. I ordered a pizza with asparagus, and Mike chose one with prosciutto di San Daniele. The pizzas were perfectly fine, but as always, I felt somewhat let down whenever I was unable to cross off any of the Friulian dishes on my research list. Fortunately, we took it all in stride and consoled ourselves with a sufficient quantity of house red wine!

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