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Magical power of the Dolomite herbs

Spruce Syrup: The healing power of the Dolomite herbs

Dolomite herbs: Spruce (Picea abies) syrup is a traditional, natural remedy. It helps again colds, bronchitis, phlegm and sore throat. The spruce tips contain lots of essential oils, resins, tannins and vitamin C. This syrup, thanks to its expectorant property, helps to free the respiratory tract from the accumulation of mucus.

Spruce tips are harvested in spring, as soon as the ends are light-colored. Therefore it is recommended to pick the tips when the moon is waxing, as a result, the strength of the plant is concentrated in the branches and needles.

Dolomite herbs: light-colored ends of the spruce are ready to be picked up
Spruce tip: light-colored ends are ready to be picked


  • 200g spruce tips
  • 400g cane sugar
  • jar

Wash the spruce tips and let them drain. Arrange a first layer of tips inside the preserving jar and cover the layer with cane sugar. The tip layer should be thicker as the sugar layer. Proceed in this way until the tips are finished, ending with a generous layer of sugar.
Close the jar and leave it in a sunny place. As soon as the spruce tips turn brown and the syrup has settled, it is ready (generally takes 3-4 weeks).
Filter the syrup and pour it into a jar. Store the finished syrup in a cool, dark place. The valuable essential oils and vitamins are well preserved in the spruce syrup and can thus be administered in autumn / winter.

Preversing glas with layers of sugar and spruce tips
One layer of sugar, one layer of spruce tips

Recommended dosage: 1 tbsp 3 to 4 times a day

Honey can also be used instead of sugar.
You can also add primroses or thyme to the spruce syrup. The flowers are said to help the spruce heal the lungs from a cold.

During the trekking “The Dolomites foodway” you will discover the aromatic herbs and flavors of the Dolomites. So take a look if you are interested to learn more about it.

Nature in times of coronavirus: this is a special spring 🌸

The world stands still, our life is upside down and we are no more allowed to live it the way we were used to. But nature doesn’t know that, she is not afraid or insecure, she keeps going and surprises us day by day.

Goat willow coloring the blue sky

We are at home and don’t really know how to manage all this free time … Why? Our society doesn’t give us time to think about ourselves, to be inventive, try new things, notice small details and take care about the people we love. Therefore, during the coronavirus lockdown we should take this opportunity to come down a bit and trying to focus on the important things in life 💚

We are used, or try to, have everything under control, but I think this time something went wrong 😅. Now we realize that we are really just passengers on this spaceship and home that we call earth.

The first crocuses are blooming

We are living our lives from home now, but Mother Nature continues to live and shows us her beauty 🌺 day after day. Meanwhile that our surrounding mountains are still covered by a white coat, snow is melting down into the Dolomites valleys. The first flowers are blooming – in white, yellow and purple. Deers and fawns are playing under the first morning sunrises. The swallows are back and they are dancing in the sun searching for a cozy place to build their nest and give new life.
In other words, nature doesn’t care at all about coronavirus 😉 This spring is very special: flora and fauna are being reborn without humane influence.

In the last days we realized that nature doesn’t need much time to regenerate herself. So, even when this crisis is over… let’s try to still be aware of her 😉😊


Crazy until you don’t do it

How many times in your life have you given up that amazing idea of yours?
Your dream was doing that certain thing – in a way it felt bold and powerful, but also crazy and hard to achieve. Doubts started creeping in and that huge ‘flame’ became a tiny ‘spark’.
Then, you built up some courage and decided to talk about it with those close to you –
mom, dad, wife … friends, etc. How many times did those exact same people extinguish the last
little spark in your ‘amazing’ idea?

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut or – better yet – talk with people who have no idea of what you’re up to!

Just think how much progress would never have been achieved if the inventor would’ve listened to the voices around him or her.

I saw many flames die out and bubbles of ideas burst in thin air – but, that’s not how I react: I do just the opposite. The more people tell me something can’t be done or that my idea is too crazy, the more stubborn I get and the more I’ll stick to my idea until it’s done. Ok, let’s face it … many of those ideas will never have a sequel, but it’s from those failures that you learn to take better aim at your target when you get that next crazy idea.

It took me 3 years in order for the Mür dl Giat climb to be listed in the course of the Maratona dles Dolomites-Enel. Yes! That was MY idea  ;-). The first time I proposed it at a meeting, 14 votes out of 15 were “NO” votes…followed by laughs.
But, hey, to my satisfaction … even the pro peloton of the Giro d’Italia rode it on the finishing stage in Corvara in 2016. 

Then there was this other idea launched by pro photographer Jered Gruber and published on his Instagram feed and in the issue 62 of Peloton magazine:

While riding with @igortavella on the steep little farm roads that wind their way along the flanks of the Dolomites, I wondered if it would be possible to do 5000 meters (or more) of climbing on all the little roads in less than 100k. Igor laughed – of course! In that moment, an idea hit. We should do a ride later this year: invite anyone who wants to join us to get a big flavor of Igor’s backyard, his secrets – paved and dirt – but all doable on a road bike, so long as the rider is ok with gradients that are always north of 10% and isn’t scared of some dirt roads and a bit of amazing singletrack (meaning this won’t be everyone’s cup of hot chocolate). It will be on a Saturday or Sunday or both – everything will of course be based out of the Tavella hotel: the @UstariaPosta in Badia. We are thinking early to middle September. It will be the #YOLOMITES 5000 brought to you by @holimites and Igor. If the rider has had their fill at any point, they can cut it short whenever they want – we will never be more than 20k from the start at the Ustaria Posta. #yolomites5000 #conquereveryroad

Un post condiviso da Jered Gruber (@jeredgruber) in data:

This idea became the #YOLOmites5000

Imagine: all the locals here ride road bikes, but NO-ONE took part except me. Even so, people from Japan, Malaysia and USA flew to the Dolomites just to take part in this ‘crazy’ event.

Lastly – but it will not be my last idea for sure – I had this idea in mind: What would it be like to ride one of the most famous road bike loops in the Dolomites, the Sellaronda, … at Moonlight? I started to think about this even before the #YOLOmites5000. But, true to my nature, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, so I started to talk about it. Yet, instead of a flame turning into a tiny spark, the idea kept burning, growing bigger inside of me until one evening, at the end of July 2017, I typed in the Strava event planner:

1st Holimites Moonlight ride

At the time I thought that I would be alone on the ride and, honestly, I didn’t pay any more attention to it until enthusiastic questions from possible participants started coming in. Two, five, eight people were signing up to take part in the event considered by many a “crazy” ride. The result was a group ride with 14 great friends:

Looking back, it’s rather funny that I typed in “1st” when I wrote the title. Maybe it’s the optimist in me that expects that there will be more Moonlight Rides. If you don’t want to miss the next Ride – or my next crazy idea – make sure you join the Holimites cycling club on Strava.

The bottom line:
If you have an idea … go for it, don’t be influenced by others!

Owner and founder of this other crazy idea called Holimites 😀

And, then there was … Holimaiz!

There’s no doubt that brand name recognition is extremely important. Today, we can count on marketing companies that take your idea, what you want to do, the clientele you want to market and come up with the name that best suits your new business.

Way back in 2000, when we founded Holimites, our only thought was to find a fun and catchy-sounding name. During one of our brainstorming sessions, I said:

“Why don’t we join the word in English for “Holiday” and “Dolomites” and call it Holimites?”

Brilliant!!! That’s what we thought.

If we keep within the English language, the logic works and, besides, Holimites is also easy to pronounce. The problem arises with other languages: when you read “Holimites” in Italian, something that sounds catchy in English, sounds rather silly in Italian.

Once guests understand that Holimites is a combination of Holiday and Dolomites, our majestic mountains get the better of it and, then….Holimites becomes Holomites.

What to do?
Maybe we should’ve changed the brand name right from the start, but being the mountaineers that we are, we were (and still are) very stubborn.

Then, out of the blue, my son came up with a brilliant idea. This was his homework in German:

“Write 5 word with the letter H”:
HolimaizThe only worry is that he hears a lot at home about work … Hotel … Holimaiz (Holimaize).

He sure gave us a lesson: if you’re ever going to create a brand name, first ask a child to test it out! Either way, you can now also find us at  😉

Founder of HoliMAIZ





Christmas day in the Dolomites

Our moms were not so happy about our plans on Christmas day this year. The usual routine on this day would be:
  • breakfast
  • going to church
  • back home for Christmas lunch
  • again back to church
  • end
The only statement that worked (again) this time was Fridtjof Jansen quote:

It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport!

Oh well but we didn’t want to go skiing. We skied the last 3 weeks on perfect groomed and empty slopes of the Dolomiti Superski and Alta Badia area. Our plan was to do something very rare, something we are maybe not able to do anymore for at least the next 20 or more years.
We are talking about the classic Fanes-Sennes-Prags Nature Park loop with our Mountain Bikes. In fact the latest in the year we have been able to ride was on 18th December 1994 (21 years ago). Usually at this time of year you should just meet ski rando skiers in this area. But as we didn’t have any precipitations since October, Christmas was the perfect day to celebrate a mountain bike ride on this loop.

The only snow pack we needed to go through was the one of a ski slope on our way down the valley before turning right in the beautiful but damn cold Rudo valley towards the Pederü hut. In fact this isn’t really the perfect season to go on a road or mountainbike ride in the Dolomites. In the sun the temperatures are cold but OK, but as soon you are in some places that are not touched by the sun since months you get temperatures like this:

-9.1 °C equals to 15,62 °F and this at 1,444 meters above sea level (4,737 feet)
In the 20 km long freezing conditions we didn’t feel anymore our fingers and toes. But we knew the more we would climb the warmer it would get (!?!?!?!) Strange to hear this? Well it’s now more than a month that we have temperature inversion in the Dolomites valleys. That means that down the valleys it’s colder than up higher.

Finally into the sun!

At 1,400 meters we needed 2 pair of gloves and at 2,000 meters none anymore.
Once we reached the highest point of the ride, we had to think back what we said & promised to our moms. Of course we starred at the amazing mountains thinking at mother nature and whoever made all of this possible. On the table our minimal Christmas lunch, a tasty tiny panettone sponsored by Franz that is not only a good road cyclist and mountainbiker (the only one that is able to steal all my Strava Cycling KOM’s) but also the junior patissier at the family pastry shop I dolci di Ricky. Side note … if you don’t stop by there during your holiday in the Dolomites you don’t know what you are missing.

Christmas lunch with a view
Cold? Not anymore above 2,000 meters. After more than an hour riding at -9,0°C the +3,4°C felt warm and it was a pleasure to stop and eat without freezing.
As soon our gourmet style lunch was over it was time to cycle through the Gran Fanes plains with all the best views you can get on the Dolomites.

Wanted to hitchhike, but it looks like that dog had the same idea before me.

Haha, Franz … show me how you outrun … ehmm ride … that dog!!!
Fanes Natural Park loop ride details: