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Italy

Dolomites

Day 4.

Passing into mountains, through villages on steep slopes, perfectly Austrian. South Tyrol was given by war to Italy but clings to its traditions nonetheless. Wisps of cloud parted and gave us views of the magnificence. The day ended with celebration as we met our friends, drank and feasted.

Dolomites, oh Dolomites

We long to see your soaring heights

Your granite peaks peek out so high

For this we’ve traveled far and wide

Dolomites, oh Dolomites

The rain it pours

And we are wet

And yet

It’s not easy to forget

That you are gray and tall

And there for all

Day 5.

Hungover and guided by Uwe we took a gondola ride up and up. On either side of us we could see the jagged edges of the mountains that were once ancient coral reefs and sea beds, now pale peaks. The day was cold air, hot sun, scree and Alpine flowers. It was the astounding beauty of Corvara and it overloaded our senses.

Uwe is Ulla’s fate

Of this there’s no debate

They climb great mountains high

They walk green meadows far

They descend high rocky paths

They make the time pass fast

They both are kind and free

And from me I say to thee

Uwe is Ulla’s fate

Of this there is no debate

Day 6.

Again up, up and up we went on a gondola, then a ski chair lift to a giant rocky amphitheater of white dolomite rock. Tiny climbers were distant dots on the cliff face. We could just spot them by their bright colored clothing as they slowly ascended. Brave adventurers jumped off into the void strapped to paragliders, then circled like raptors into the blue.

Below us the green mountains were crisscrossed with ski-runs and dotted with Refugios. We hiked down through spruce forest and up to a wooden hut covered in petunias and geraniums. The people clapped and smiled, and the band played umpapa music. Swilling beer in the warm mountain sun it was strange to think we were in Italy. The waiters were in traditional Austrian dress, the band in lederhosen.

We made our way back to our hotel via meadows filled with flowers. We passed an elderly couple cutting hay in a paddock outside their crumbling farmhouse. It seemed a small vestige of an ancient way of life among all the ski lodges and manicured houses surrounding them.

Jimmi at Sassongher

We care for you no longer

Edelweiss and Lagazuoi

We walked and made our ploy

But Marmolada how can we

Forget a mammoth such as thee

You overlooked a war so cruel

It made us seem all fools

Oh, majestic mountain high

Marmolada, you’ll never die

Day 7.

Our last day in Corvara and our last day of being with friends and being guided by them to amazing mountain hikes. In 1914-18 the Austro-Hungarian army defended the border high up in the Dolomites. The remains of war are high up in the peaks and crests of Lagazuoi. We took another gondola up to the very top peak and explored the tunnels where men shot at each other and dropped as many explosives as they could lay their hands on. This is a strange place.

Again, we found ourselves among vast rock amphitheaters, pale rocks around us. At the end of the day we returned with sore feet and happy hearts. We soaked our tired muscles in the hotel spa. While we were soaking, discretely dress in bathers, the fire alarm sounded. A dozen naked people appeared from the steam. We realized that we were out of place and so took off our clothes and joined in the nude tradition. It was good to feel so naked and so comfortable.

You make the world much clearer

Your limestone mountains rise

So high into the skies

Your grassy fields abound

Your villages so fine

The Dolomites your star

Dear Corvara in Badia

We’re so happy to be here-a

Day 8.

We said goodbye to friends and set off alone again. We spent the day travelling to the Brenta Dolomites to the sweet Italian town of Molveno. This place felt really Italian somehow and no longer Austrian. Not quite so clean and neat, fewer window boxes of geraniums. A bit less polished overall.

The Molveno lake is surrounded by mountains and again we were thrilled to see the tooth-like jagged edges of the mighty Dolomites.

No-one here speaks much English and we like that. We ate with the other hotel guests and then settled to deep sleep.

Molveno by your lake

Surrounded by mountains of chalk

We come to you to walk

It’s not about the talk

It’s not about your food

Although we cannot brood

Your waters are so blue

Your village is so steep

Your beauty overwhelms

Molveno by your lake

Day 9.

Striking out alone for the first time in these mountains we took a gondola up above the town and walked Refugio to Refugio, far up above the valley below and where still the massive cliffs loomed above us.

A Rifugio takes the load you know

An oasis in the sky

We walk all day

And climb some too

Until we have no breath

And there before our eyes appears

A sight we can’t regret

Rifugio, oh Rifugio

Your cappuccino get

We tramped along revived by the beauty and the cappuccinos at the refugios. There were signs to warn us of bears, actually a welcome warning in a place were so little wildlife was apparent to us. We heard birdsong in the forest and walked among the green and moist unfamiliar plants.

Adamello-Brenta

Your park we won’t forget-a

Mount Pradel so high

Your craggy peaks surround

The beauty of Lake Molveno

Adamello-Brenta

On this you can-a bet-a

We never will forget-a

The grandeur of your park

Day 10.

Ice cream, wine, bruschetta, pasta, beer, croissants and more. We are in a holiday maker’s zone filled with stuff to consume all brought to us by others.

All the other people in our hotel are German or Italian speaking and we are alone in their midst. It feels good to be surrounded by our fellow tourists and to enjoy our dinner in their company. This was our last day in the dolomites and we each tried in our own way to capture the last drops of beauty. We enjoyed this craggy, green, ancient place.

We say farewell Molveno

Tomorrow we’ll not see you

Last night amongst your ridges

But we’ll not burn our bridges

One day we may return

Until then do please remain

Collect your solar power

And sleep your midday hours

Your lake

Keep it so blue

We will return to you


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