We spent two nights in Cortina at the charming Hotel Ambra. This hotel has a small footprint, but it is much larger than it looks. The breakfast there was fantastic, and the rooms were quite large (by Italian standards), beautiful, and very pleasant.

As the Cortina Express bus approached the city, I got a few photos through the bus window. Here is the Olympic ski jump from the 1956 games. And a group of young girls in costume for what we would experience in about an hour.

Another photo from the bus included Rifugio Nuvolau and Cinque Torri, places we would visit in six days. Of course, when I took the photo, I had no idea what I was photographing. The mountain between the two is Averau.

As the bus neared the city we could see a church in the center of the village.

We arrived at Hotel Ambra a bit before 5 PM. The first thing we did was pose by the sculpture near the front entrance. It was done by an amazing artist, Rabarama, Paola Epifani.

Also outside the hotel was a sculpture by the same woman.

Our rooms were on an upper floor and adjacent to each other. Here is a view from my room looking east.

The photo below shows the view from my room looking south. I had a corner room so it had windows looking in two directions. We would travel through the mountains in the background of this photo in a week. The peaks above and just to the right of Hotel Ancora are Croda da Lago.  

But we didn’t come to Cortina to sit in a hotel room, so we soon ventured downhill a bit to the village center. We were delighted to find that a festival was in progress. It turned out that we had arrived in time for the last three or four hours of it. As you can see, the central square was filled with people.

For comparison, here is a photo of the same area early afternoon the next day. Everything vanished overnight, including almost all of the people.

We were excited to see the activity and the people celebrating and clearly enjoying life.

There were many folks in traditional attire, and there was a lot of beer being consumed.

Using my iPhone, I created a 360° panorama. Viewing it on the phone, you can just flip the image and it will keep going round and round and round. But when it gets written as a JPEG to work outside the phone environment, it will not rotate like a carousel, and it gets cut in an arbitrary place. It cut Stephen in half. Half of him was on one edge and his other half was on the other edge of the image. So I did a little work and put him back together on both edges. You can see the result below.

You can also see how full the plaza was with tables, tents, a bandstand, and people. All magically had disappeared by the morning.

I was fascinated by the reflections in a tuba. In one of them you can see me taking the photo.


I love photographing people, so that is what I did. Here are some of the photos I took in the space of an hour.

If you want to see any photo large, just click on it, then use your browser back button (or arrow) to return to this page.


Although it is my strong preference to spend my time taking photos rather than waiting to be served at a fancy restaurant, I joined Jim and Stephen for dinner. It was excellent, and I very much enjoyed the company. But I yearned to be back out on the streets.


I decided to skip dessert, left what I hoped would be my fair share of the charge for the dinner, and returned to photograph the evening in Cortina. There were bands playing, traditionally dressed folks marching, and lots of people celebrating the atmosphere.


I met three young men enjoying themselves drinking beer and acting silly. I took some photos of them and gave them my email address, saying I would send them a copy, but I never heard back. That was typical of a number of encounters I had on the trip.


There were many people photographing themselves and the goings on with their phones.


Overall, people were enjoying themselves on this warm evening in Cortina. In the images below, note the very strange bicycle. Must be a type of scooter.

I’m certainly glad I skipped dessert to get these photos.


Before heading back to my room for the night, I took a photo of la Cooperativa. You will see more photos of this amazing upscale store on the next page when I discuss our second day in Cortina.