Today we met our guide and went for an 8-hour driving tour around all of the highlights of the Dolomites that really require a car and some insider information. We started out driving through the towns of the Val Gardena and ascending to the Sasso Lungo (long rock) in the western Dolomites. Again, the Dolomites are different from the Alps in that they are coral reefs that were once underwater, and their odd jutting shape is due to the coral reaching for sunlight. They are very soft, which makes climbing them extra challenging. We then descended and re-ascended in the Pordoi Pass, where we rode the near-vertical cable car to the top. Lots of scary hairpin turns later, we came to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is one of Italy’s premier ski resorts. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1956 and will host them again in 2026 with Milan. We had lunch there and walked around, but it started to rain a bit. Weather is definitely changeable in the mountains–from sunny to rainy in the span of 15 minutes. The second half of the day was visiting Italy’s most beautiful mountain lakes. By far the favorite was Lago di Braies. It was rainy and windy when we got there, but by the time we walked 1/4 around the lake, the sun was out and the wind was gone. Needless to say, we are exhausted. I culled the pictures down to some favorites. Alessandro is amazing–full of knowledge of the area (historical, geographic, cultural)–and once again, his guided tour was a highlight.