About twice a year, our WordPress agency, Highrise Digital have a retreat away which is a chance to meet with other team members and spend some time together. This time we went to the Italian Dolomites.
Being a remote WordPress company means we don’t often meet in the physical world with our colleagues and therefore these retreats are really important. A time to spend getting to know each other better and of course for working on things together.
Why on earth the Italian Dolomites?
Good question. Actually, it just fell into place. One of our team spends 3 months away each year over in Italy in the Dolomites to enjoy Skiing and when we chatted about the retreat and where to go, it was mentioned that would be away.
The conversion soon moved to “why not come over here?”. After a quick look for flights etc. it turned out that it was going to be a very viable option and it escalated from there. Before we knew it, we have accommodation, flights and transport booked and we were off on an Italian adventure.
It was a long journey which consisted of the following legs.
- Train from Preston to London Euston
- The tube from London Euston to London Victoria
- The Gatwick Express train from London Victoria to Gatwick airport, south terminal
- The Gatwick terminal shuttle from the south terminal to the north terminal
- An overnight stay in the Premier Inn – the largest in the UK apparently!
- Flight to Innsbruck in Austria
- Car rental journey from Innsbruck to Longiaru in Italy
The journey there was pretty good. We had a nice stopover at Gatwick airport on Monday evening to start with, which enabled us to have some dinner together and a drink.
It was then up super early for a the flight which took off at 07:!5.
Once we had landed and collected our hire car, we then had the most beautiful journey to Longiaru, our base for the week. It would the opposite journey on Friday, but more on that later.
The scenery through Austria and northern Italy was stunning and I managed to get some nice shots.
One of the most beautiful views ever
When we arrived and we had checked into our apartment, we opened the doors to the balcony and we were completely stunned, in awe or what we could see. What a view!
It was so nice it was like looking at a painting. You had the beautiful blue skies with whispy white fluffy clouds and then the village in the valley beneath where the cars looked like match-box cars. It felt like you could just pick them up. Here are some other images I took at the time.
A walk in the deep, deep snow
I don’t think I have ever seen snow so deep, it was lovely being able to hear that snow crunch when you walk. We went for a walk out around the back of the apartment, with Lily the dog loving every minute. We even managed a mini snowball fight.
Again the scenes were stunning with some gorgeous views. The blue skies and sunshine made then extra special.
Had to be Pizza for tea
We had a table booked at one of the best local restaurants and it did not disappoint. I had a ham and mushroom Pizza and it was divine.
A snowy scene
The next day was white over on the ground and in the sky, a very different scene to the blue skies of the day before and it was a work day.
It was still pretty cold though, with the thermometer showing -7 degrees celsius.
To the top of the mountain
Thursday brought a trip to the top of the mountain with all the skiers and snow boarders. We had a nice drive out to Bruneck where we rode the Ski lifts up the mountain.
If you are really afraid of heights then I would not recommend the journey but if you are OK you are in for a treat. On the way up the clouds were thick and we couldn’t really get a great view.
However the journey down meant we dropped below the cloud and the view of the valley was amazing.
We set off in the rental car on the Friday morning for a journey back to Innsbruck and the snow was pretty bad. In fact it took us over 3 hours to complete the journey of about 120km.
I have not driven in anything like that and I required lots of concentration. When we started dropping down into Innsbruck it was a great relief.
If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend that you visit the Italian Dolomites. They are a gorgeous place in the world and an experience that I feel very privileged to have had.
I must thank all of us on the trip. Keith, Jonathan, Hannah and Nick who were all great company and made the week so special. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
A short video of the trip
Same time next year ??