Dries Buytaert

Italy 2022

Van in camping mode
Our van in camping mode; ready for the night. In the background, the towers of Ottobeuren Abbey in Germany.
Innsbruck downtown
The old town of Innsbruck in Austria.
Camping near Innsbruck, Austria
The view from our campsite near Innsbruck, Austria.
Camping near innsbruck austria
Horses next to our campsite near Innsbruck, Austria.
Camping near innsbruck austria
Horses next to our campsite near Innsbruck, Austria.
Hotel alpen tesitin
Enjoying the views at Hotel Alpen Tesitin in the Dolomites.
Hiking around Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Rifugio Auronzo, an Italian Alpine hut in the Tre Cime Natural Park. We parked our camper van on their parking lot and started hiking from this hut.
A trail marker painted on a large rock. The marker shows that we are on trail 101 and/or 104.
We started with trail 101 from Rifugio Auronzo. From trail 101 we merged onto trail 105, looping the Tre Cime.
Hiking around Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Rifugio Lavaredo, an Italian Alpine hut in the Three Peaks region at an altitude of 2,344 meters. The scenery is breathtaking.
Vanessa standing in front of three giant mountain peaks.
The views in the Tre Cime area are mesmerizing. The famous Tre Cime peaks are partially shown in the background.
A sole flower surrounded by rocks and mountains
Wild flowers are randomly seen throughout the Tre Cime terrain. I like how this flower claimed its place in the world.
Vanessa standing on a rock, using her trekking poles to maintain her balance.
The path around Tre Cime is very rocky and not always easy to follow. There were still patches of snow to navigate around (not shown in photo). All in all, a very doable 10 kilometer hike.
Hotel alpen tesitin
Vanessa in one of the outdoor infinity pools at Hotel Alpen Tesitin.
Hotel alpen tesitin
The indoor-outdoor pool at Hotel Alpen Tesitin has a tranquil vibe.
Saint john church in funes
The Church of St. John with the Dolomites in the background. Consecrated in 1180.
Santa maddalena church in funes
The path to the Santa Magdalena Church. It's about a 30-minute hike.
Santa maddalena church in funes
For the best views of the Santa Magdalena Church, hike up the Panoramaweg.
Santa maddalena church in funes
The Santa Magdalena Church with the Dolomites in the background. The church belongs to a tiny village of the same name tucked in the southern end of Val di Funes. The exact date the church was built is not known, but it was first mentioned in historical documents in 1394.
Flags waving fiercely due to a storm
We experienced a sudden and violent daytime storm at Lake Garda.
Signs that read "Wine tasting" and "Wine shop", with arrows pointing left.
Wine tasting at Villa Calicantus, a small organic winery in the heart of Bardolino Classico. We enjoyed meeting both owners, Chiara and Daniele Delaini, and learning more about their vineyard. We ended up shipping 12 bottles of their wine to our home.
Old bottles of wine and a chalkboard with the text "Today slow service".
"Today slow service" is exactly what we wanted at Villa Calicantus. We loved the 2-hour wine tasting and lunch.
Reading next to the pool
Reading next to the pool at Ca Murreta Relais.
Under grape vines
Summer nights under Italian grape vines.
Air drying our clothes
When in Italy, it's almost a must to air-dry your clothes on a line. Fortunately, we found this handy drying system that attaches to Miles, our Volkswagen California.
Dievole gardens
One of the gardens at Dievole. Perfect spot for an 'aperitivo'.
Water bottle filling at historic water fountain
A boy filling up his water bottle at a historic water fountain in San Gimignano.
Vanessa enjoying the aperitivo at dievole
Vanessa enjoying the aperitivo at Dievole.
Aperitivo! One of my favorite Italian traditions.
Vin santo and cantucci
At the end of about any meal in Tuscany, you're offered Vin Santo and Cantucci. Cantucci are crunchy almond biscuits. You dip them into Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine.
Summer nights by candle light
Summer nights by candle light.
Tuscan pool
The pool at our friends' house in Tuscany. Incredible views!
The yellows of pienza
A shop in Pienza.
The yellows of pienza
An old bike in Pienza.
People watching
People watching in Levanto.
Sva levanto monterosso path
We hiked part of the SVA, a scenic coastal path connecting the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre. I'd like to come back to hike it in its entirety.
Honeymoon appropriate underwear
Honeymoon appropriate underwear.
Breakfast in the van
Breakfast in the van. To eat: fruit, yogurt and granola parfait. To drink: coconut water and coffee made in the percolator.
Levanto beach
Levanto, a seaside town with great beaches.
Five small, wooden fishing boats next to each other.
Fishing boats in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre. And a woman swimming with her hat on.
Cinque terre riomaggiore cliff jumping
Cliff jumping in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre.
Cinque terre riomaggiore fishing boats
Fishing boats in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre.
Cinque terre manarola
Manarola, one of the villages in Cinque Terre. We went for a swim. Highly recommended for those who love adventurous swimming.
Foodie selfie
Foodie selfie!
Parmigiano reggiano
Walls of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Parmigiano reggiano
Wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Barrels of balsamic vinegar
A barrel with 100-year old balsamic vinegar at Acetaia Leonardi. Its thick syrupy texture and deep sweetness was incredible.
Barrels of balsamic vinegar
Wooden barrels of balsamic vinegar at Acetaia Leonardi. Barrels are oranganized in "batteries". Some of their batteries have been in use for over 400 years. Love the traditions and long-term planning.
Vanessa at casa maria luigia
Vanessa at Casa Maria Luigia in Modena.
Massimo bottura francescana five ages of parmigiano reggiano
Massimo Bottura's "Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano" being plated during our dinner at Francescana at Maria Luigia, a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Modena. "Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano" helped Osteria Francescana become the number one restaurant in the world in 2016 and is one of the most influential culinary dishes of the last decade.
Massimo bottura francescana crunchy part of the lasagna
Massimo Bottura's "The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna" debuted at Osteria Francescana in 1995. This iconic dish is no longer available at Osteria Francesca, but lives on at Francescana at Casa Maria Luigia.
Massimo bottura francescana dropped lemon tart
"Oops! I dropped the lemon tart." by Massimo Bottura. It recognizes that mistakes are not only human, but also beautiful.