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Winter Wonderland: A Dolomites TakeoverArticle by: Veronica Baesso

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I kicked off the New Year in the fascinatingly timeless and charming Austria. It was an unusual choice for me considering I don’t love cold weather and I prefer to watch snow from my window rather than actively trek in it. But it’s 2015 and although I am not much for resolutions I do believe in doing things I wouldn’t ordinarily do and at the very least breaking out of the monotony.

I am glad to say that my trip to the Dolomites turned out to be an exciting adventure. I enjoyed unspoiled natural landscapes from some of the highest peaks in the region. But only after enduring some challenging treks, starting from steep frozen paths to hillside icy trails. Not always my preference but I was proud to make it and in the end it was a rewarding experience.

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My trip largely consisted of spending time in the villages that form the Italian and Austrian border. Among the many towns I visited, Kartitsch and Obertilliach both in Austria, were among my favourites. Kartitsch located in the East Tyrol valley offers a different spectacular panorama from each corner. In the north you can see the western foothills of the Lienz Dolomites, south your gaze is drawn to the Carnic Alps. You can also catch a glimpse of the border to Italy there as well. Obertilliach is a pretty tiny old village between the Lienz Dolomites and the Carnic Alps. The climate here is colder, but you are rewarded with vistas that are unbelievably lovely.

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Even with the hiking I found the time to relax and try the renowned Austrian spas and enjoy the local gastronomic specialties. Among my favourites: Schlipfkrapfen’ which are basically cheese ravioli, a spinach noodles dish called Spinatspatzeln and Tiroler Bauerngröstl made with beef, potatos and a sunny-side egg.

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Austria had a heady mix of all the ingredients you need to catapult you into your new year and recharge your batteries. It was a physical vacation but it left me wanting more while also excited to jumpstart into 2015.

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