Our last day of the Trek! The sun was out to greet us on this final hike back down to civilization. From the Rifugio we started down a grassy meadow into the trees carefully going down the very slick and muddy trail. At a junction we went steeply uphill through the woods to our final col Forcella La Vareta with beautiful views back down to the Rifugio we stayed at last night. From here it was a pleasant downhill walk over a very narrow trail with beautiful views along the way. After while the trail zigzagged sharply down into the trees towards the last Rifugio we visited on the Trek: Rifugio Blanchet. With plenty of time to get to the road for the bus ride to Belluno, we relaxed here for a while with coffee and of course more apple pie! After the second cup of coffee, we walked the last 4 miles of the Trek via a dirt road and trail to the main road. The end of the AV1 trail was somewhat of a letdown: No welcoming committee, not even a restaurant or store to buy a beer to celebrate. Just a lonely bus stop!

After about an hour, the bus showed up and quickly took us to the center of Belluno, where we asked around for directions to the Hotel. A nice gentlemen walked us all the way to it! After checking in, we took some nice showers and sorted out our gear. When all was done,we took a walk around the center of the town, which was much smaller than I thought it would be. We stopped at a terrace for ice cream and some people watching.Later we went to a restaurant next to our hotel for a great steak dinner and dessert. Afterwards we walked to the train station to check the departure times for the train ride to Padua the next day.

The following morning, after breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we walked to the train station. At the station we found out that there was a general train and bus strike in the local area! Outside of the station we saw a Dutch couple talking to a taxi driver, negotiating a ride to Padua. When we told them that we needed to go to Padua as well, a deal was made with the taxi driver to take all of us there for Euro 200. The drive took about an hour, and we arrived in plenty of time to get some lunch before the train ride to Milan.

Getting to Milan and on to the airport was uneventful. Once there, we took a taxi to our hotel. Unfortunately the hotel did not have a decent restaurant, but since we were hungry we ordered some untasteful hamburgers. After that we went back to the room and crashed to our beds.

Early the next morning Sander said his goodbyes and was off to catch the plane to Spain where he would meet his family to enjoy a week on the Beach. I left the hotel an hour later after a quick breakfast for the plane ride home via New York back to L.A.