Falling in Love with an Italian Refugio

While this blog is intended to cover dog-friendly hikes, camps and adventures in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes amazing non-dog and non-PNW things happen that need to be shared.

Spot the Dolomites hiking refugio

I spent some time in Europe this summer, and there I fell in love with a concept that was totally unfamiliar but so obviously right I'm shocked I never encountered it before. The concept? Refugios.

Tires di Alpes Italian Refugio

These high-alpine huts are dotted all over the alps, but where I fell in love was in the Italian Dolomites and in Slovenia. Somewhere between a mountain hut and a B&B, they offer simple accomodation (think Ikea bunkrooms if those bunkrooms came straight from the pages of Scandinavian Dwell), shared showers that you pay extra to use, and food.

Local dairy in the Italian Dolomites

Oh, the food. Maybe we were just lucky with the places we visited, but every stop was incredible. Over two nights at Alpe di Tires I had four-course meals every night, and home-made breakfast every morning. The produce was from local farms, the dairy from the cows down the hill, the eggs from chickens in the valley, bread baked every day, and with every bite I realized that incredible food was what had been missing from all my epic hikes in previous years.

Taking in the views from an Italian refugio after hiking in the Dolomites

The hiking itself, both in Italy and Slovenia, was as rugged as the biggest hikes in BC (though with regrettably more people) but with stops every few hours for rests centred on local beer, cappuccinos and home-made treats.

Hiking the Slovenian Alps and stopping at a refugio

Now, if we could only find some refugios in Canada. Or maybe it's time to build our own?