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Off with the Fluffy Winter Coat

June 29, 2011
Kiwi and Langkofel

Kiwi's 1st White Week, 2010

We have returned to St. Christina, the lovely little town in the Dolomites where we spent White Week 2010.  She’s changed her clothes!  Other than a few scraps in chilly crags, her puffy down coat is quite gone, having become small cataracts gushing down the mountainside.  It is so tranquil here that I nearly mistook the roar of the nearest falls for traffic ~similar to the ear, but distinct to the soul.  The sound of moving water bathes the spirit, soothes it, washes away the grit of civilization.

Langkofel from a slightly different angle

The expansive fields of white have become variegated meadows of green and gold, rolling up and down along the river, between the jagged peaks above.  Cyclists and trekkers have replaced skiers and boarders, but in fewer numbers at this point in the season.  This weekend will be a grand ride around the Sella massif, two in fact.  On Saturday the man will circle the enormous rock by trail on his mountain bike.  Sunday is the closed-to-cars road ride, up and down the four passes.  While no more able to do the Sella Ronda myself than to run a marathon, it seemed in the spirit of the thing to at least bring my bike and do a little riding.  I had forgotten how vertical everywhere is.  The road up to our Garni Gardena will, without question, see me walking the bike.  I’m hoping to find the old railroad bed which has been made into a bike trail.  Trains don’t handle steep inclines any better than I!

But I may never quit this balcony.  The man has taken off into the wild green yonder and I find myself quite pleasantly at peace with my lunch and view.

The valley, called Val Gardena / Gröden / Gherdëina, is trilingual:  it became part of Italy 150 years ago and therefore must speak Italian, but historically (and somewhat preferentially) is German-speaking from Austro-Hungarian times, and much longer ago than that a Romance language called Ladin, and very different from Italian, was theirs and remains so today.  The place is a wonderful blend of cultures, Germanic efficiency and civility but menus listing salads without any meat at all.

So, we have our holiday apartment, Val Gardena Active cards, many maps, 3 bikes, a cat pram, hiking boots, running shoes, and a hot tub.  Ja, es ist serh gut.

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