We moved just over an hour south and east of our last apartment in Brunico and are in a totally different climate. There is much less snow here and the mountains are not as high. The valleys are still wide, covered with green meadows, and dotted with tiny villages. It is breathtaking here also!!
When I googled Gudon this is what I found, and I had to laugh at the status of “very small place” Yep, that is exactly what we have been looking for lately and this is it 😊
Facts and figures on Gudon at a glance
We have been struggling during the past 2 months in Italy with the noise level in many of the apartments we rented so this place and the last one, on a farm outside Brunico, have been peaceful and a joy to stay in. Prior to this of course we were ecstatic with our little stone house in Tuscany, but quiet places are few and far between in Italy. Our host in Trieste made the comment that Italians can only dream of the peace and quiet we enjoy in Canada.
But, on to the reason we are here…..hiking in the Dolomites. The abundance of hiking, and biking, trails in this area was the draw to coming here and we were fortunate to have good weather for the three days we spent here. I think this region of Italy has become one of our new favorites and we would love to return.
One of the most famous images from this area is the Santa Maddalena church (St Magdalena in German) nestled in the Val di Funes below the jagged spires of the Odle-Geisler massif. The exact date the church was built is not known, but it was first mentioned in historical documents in 1394. The church sits on a grassy knoll just above the tiny village of the same name at the southern end of the valley. This was our destination for our first day of hiking in this area. Despite extensive research the day before it turned out the hike was much more difficult than we had anticipated. Everything started out perfectly as we ascended the valley on an easy route past historic Tirolian farmsteads, with jaw-dropping views. We entered trees and that was the end of all the views, then the trail turned into a steep, narrow, barely discernible path through the forest. A few times we were unsure we were on the right route and discussed turning back but after checking our location on Google Maps we seemed to be heading in the right general direction. Finally, after over an hour of climbing we hit the intersection with the trail we were expecting, but now it was straight down. I don’t recall the hike profile being this drastic!!!! We made it back to the town of Santa Maddalena after 3.5 hours, hot, sweaty and exhausted. In my opinion, it was not worth the hike the best views are all from within the valley and are much easier to access than what we did.
I was way too tired to hike anymore so we drove up to the Chiesetta di San Giovanni in Ranui, just a few minutes up the road. This white stone church commissioned in 1744 is topped with an onion-domed steeple and star in a nod to the martyrdom of St. John. It cost 4 Euros (USD $4.25) each to pass through a gate into a sweeping green meadow where the church is located. Of course, the church is quaint but it is the backdrop that makes it famous. Looking up and down the valley you are greeted with stunning views, is it any wonder how popular this place is. It’s worth a day trip to this beautiful valley to admire the mountain scenery.
The next day we headed across the valley from Gudon to Kuhof-Urlaub auf dem Bauernhof where there is a parking lot at the start of a hike up to the Klausner Hutte, yup everything around here is in German and everybody speaks German!!! It took us 70 minutes to hike the 3.9 km up to the hutte, I was still tired from yesterday! The Klausner Hutte is at 1,920 meters and is a very popular restaurant for a day hike and accommodation for multi-day hikes in the area. From here the trail became steeper and much more difficult. I chose to remain at the restaurant while Blair hiked another 2.8 km higher up to the Chiesetta Santa Croce di Lazfons at 2,296 meters. I chatted with some hikers at the restaurant who told me it took them 2.5 hours to do a round trip to the church but Blair did it in 75 minutes 💪💪 He did mention there was some downhill running in there!! He spent 20 minutes at the top enjoying the views and taking the obligatory photos I requested. These South Tyrolian mountain views are fantastic!!!
Our first visit to the Dolomites has been spectacular and we enjoyed all our hiking/walking adventures. For those who enjoy the outdoors, this is the perfect place to visit, we would love to come back here again 🤞