Simply Lovely Days

As things head into a time of major change and uncertainty, (six weeks to go before we have no income and nowhere to live. But who’s worrying?) I’m trying to appreciate my non-working status a bit more.

Last week the warm winds blew in and so, after dropping Annie off at Kindergarten, I decided to go for a hike. I strolled by the river and then wound my way up one side of the mountain. It was just stunning. After only about 15 minutes hiking the view of the river, city and the breathtaking Alps were all before me. That is one of the insanely spectacular things about living in a valley; you hike up one side only to get an even better view of the range on the other side. Snow-peaked and ragged and awe-inspring. I was only gone about three hours, but it felt like a real break.

And then on Sunday I got a Skype message from my friend Nicole. The last time we had gone skiing together she had grabbed my skis by accident. (Not really that surprising, as “my” skis are Nicole’s old skis that she had for a number of years.) So now her and her husband were away on a week’s ski holiday without her skis. She was going to take the train back up to Innsbruck and switch, but hey…I’m not working, I have time, so I offered to drive them down.  Great, she exclaimed, I’ll by you a day’s ski pass and we can all go skiing together. I was so in.

Nicole and Tom were down in Italy at the Dolomites, about one and a half hours south of Innsbruck. After getting a wee bit lost, I met them in the parking lot and we layered up (it is cold again this week) and hit the gondola. The Dolomites are the perfect ski area for a sort-of beginner like me. Most of the runs are on wide bowls, not too steep with no danger of death-defining edges to fall off of.

But what was really great was how very, very beautiful it was. I must have said “What a view!” about a thousand times. Enough to make Tom want to hit me, I’m sure. The mountains are more rugged at the top than the Austrian Alps, with more rolling hills in between, so it was different kind of beauty for me to experience.

I didn’t have the camera (cameras and winter sports are not compatible, we discovered a couple of years ago) so searched for some shots of the area on Google. Here is what I found that was closest to what I experienced:

Dolomites, Italy

Dolosfrom-the-top

And just to add to the Rockwellian picture-perfectness of it all, every few minutes we would pass Haflingers pulling traditional sleds with tourists bundled in woollen blankets.

Dolohorse

Skiing with Tom and Nicole is also very civilized. After about an hour we stopped on one of the gazillions of mountain-side Hütten and had a drink. Hot tea with rum made the rest of the morning pass by with a warm glow. For lunch we skied to a restaurant Nicole had scouted out the day before. I ordered house-made pasta (we were in Italy, so of course) with sun-dried tomatoes, Speck and a pile of fresh Arugula on top. Yum, yum and yum.

We talked about how pretty the Dolomites must be in the summer. So I poked around and found these images of the area in warmer weather:

DoloSummer

DoloSummer2

Yeah, I think I’ll be coming back.

After a couple of more hours of skiing I headed home to sort-of make it in time for my evening German class. That is the kind of spur-of-the moment experience that makes all of the challenges of living in a foreign country so completely worth it. And it is these kind of days that remind me that life can be very generous and that it will all, eventually, work out.

One Response to “Simply Lovely Days”

  1. Lori says:

    Your mountain-loving friend is envious … that is an area of Italy I’ve always wanted to see. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!! Good to hear you’re having some lovely days.

    A lot of love from me to you … I’m on the countdown … only 6 more days with Matheson before Shawna takes over.

    Bye 4 now, Lori