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Dolomiti (4) August 6, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in My trekking holiday.
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🙂 This post concludes the series

Nearly a month has passed and I hadn’t had the time to focus on the last day of my trekking holiday.  But here we are now…my memories as fresh as ever!

11 July

0815 Sunday’s symbolic lie in

Last night we decided to skip the planned walk as it is 5 hours long and do only a part of it.  So I left Villa Chele for the last time … but before leaving I had to take photos from my bedroom windows and a lovely breakfast of tea, fresh bread and my host’s home made jams, in the garden.  Thank you Signora Louisa for your hospitality!

a room with a view...

My friend and I drove to Rifugio Passo Giau at the base of the Nuvolau.  We will do only about a fifth of the circular walk one could take around this mountain.  From this Rifugio we tried to identify some of the peaks that outline the blue sky.  I’m feeling on a first name basis with the mountains now.  They no longer look identical to me.  And the sense of awe of these massive rocky peaks is now turning into interest.  I’m also very aware that this is my last day here and in my head I’m planning on when I could plan to be back.  This summer if possible!

1030 Rifugio Passo Giau

The cappuccino before we start off is now our routine. And off we go in the direction of Rifugio Averau.  This is my rockiest path to date.  I hardy used the walking sticks today. I was holding on to the rocks on both of my sides to go around the Nuvolau.  In my head the names of the peaks I’ve been lucky to observe are playing a merry-go-round – Cristallo, Il Pelmo, Nuvolau, Croda da Lago, Civetta… with such names even without seeing them one starts to wonder and tries to wander.  The views from this path are again amazing and different from the others we saw the other days.

(As I’m going through the photos I see that I have only videos and I also can’t find a way of uploading them…sorry:-(  But I took a still and here it is.)

Just a taster of the view from under the Nuvolau

A few people are free climbing up the steep rocks to the top.  I know I’d like to do something similar one day… who knows, next time I might try might hand on a Via Ferrata – with a qualified instructor, of course!  Suddenly, I know, I’d like to go higher… and maybe get to the top of  one of the mountains one day.

1230 The beginning of the end

Lunch of toasted panini at the Rifugio and one last look around.  Today the place is full.  It’s Sunday so it’s kind of normal but it also seamed that all the bikers of the area decided to meet up in the car park.  They ruined the atmosphere with their black jackets but I guess they too need their hobby (I was feeling benevolent…usually I’m know to declare that if I ever make it to become prime minister – not that I’m planning to – but just in case I happen to become one, I will ban the noise making two-wheelers!) We were nearly done when the heavens opened multiple taps.  The rain alternated with hail and suddenly it got pretty chilly.  We complimented our selves on our decision to not take the whole talk.  At this time we would have been still quite a way from our end point.

During our drive back to civilization I fell silent.  This is me all over.  I’m usually very silent at the end of something. It is also still raining very hard.  I sort of try to absorb all that I had missed before.  This time it was the Christmas tree looking trees that took my attention.  We were driving on fairly steep and winding rounds descending from a height of …..  The hills here are very steep.  They are also full of the Christmas tree looking trees that grow vertically independently of the angle the terrain they grow from makes with the horizontal.

Hitting the auto strada (highway) on the way to the airport, the sun is shining again and the heat is now unbearable, sort of preparing me to get back home and our summer heat.

1900 Some afterthoughts

I thank you Iaia for initiating me to the Dolomiti and this beautiful hobby.  Can I really take up your offer and come again soon?  The only thing that was missing was my man’s presence to enjoy it all with me.  I hope one day, I’ll take him where I was and that we will explore new paths together.

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Dolomiti (2) July 25, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in My trekking holiday.
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Friday 9 July

0645: On the road

My friend and I leave early for our second walk.  My friend is of the philosophy of leaving early and covering most ground before it’s gets too hot.  I’m not so sure this ungodly hour is so necessary but I’m not arguing. She is the expert.  I’m trusting her implicitly.

0715: Palafavera

From here, at 1514m we leave for Rifugio Venezia.

We start an uphill walk in the forest.  We walk for what seem over 100 floors of uneven steps, treading over tree roots of all dimensions.  I dare look no where except where I’m walking.  I can’t risk tripping.  The shoes are indeed good.  Their grip is simply so very there.  I feel safe in them.  Another equally practical and feel-safe element are these symbols that one comes across on trees or rocks.  It is the red and white signs made by C. A. I.  In the very winding paths, one can see from one mark to the next one so it is impossible to get lost.  All mountain paths are marked in this way.

My rucksack, my walking sticks, my shoes and our path 474

We walk non stop for what seems a life time.  I’m out of breath often – a drink, a photo, or just to gaze up at The Pelmo that we’re trekking around – but always standing, just so I can keep going.

The reason to stop comes easy if to my left I have this kind of view, or not?

Then, when I know I can’t take another step, I look up and find this sign.  I’ve made it!

even my hand is shaking as I take this photo, but I had to document this moment - I want to remember the sense of achievement for ever

With cows grazing in the background (read here: cows’ dung dotting the mountain side) and the now familiar sound of the cow-bells, my friend and I take a well deserved break.  First stretching.  This is what will prevent my overworked and shocked muscles from getting twisted into cramps!

Thank you Iaia for bringing me here! Our wet t-shirts are drying on the trees!

I am so overwhelmed that I’m not even hungry.  Strange but true.  We change our soaking wet t-shirts.  Take off our shoes and socks and lie down to rest.

1300: Rifugio Venezia

Here we get our water refilled.  I cannot resist a piece of freshly baked piece of the most heavenly pear and dark chocolate cake.  After all I deserve it!  It was heavenly! I know I’m going to try to find a recipe for it.

Now 'fully' rested, I'm ready to face the walk back

The walk back takes less time.  I’m constantly correcting my posture to tackle the steep paths.

During this walk I came face to face with my limits of my energy and went beyond that point too.  I had never felt so tired in my whole life.

Not even after giving birth.

Dolomiti (1) July 17, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in My trekking holiday.
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Thursday 8

1030hrs – Reality hits in

After a late b’fast we’re getting ready to leave for Pralongo, Val di Zoldo, or better, my friend who is hosting me in Italy and who invited me to join her for this walking long week-end, is putting together the last few things. My bags are ready so I was told to stay out of the way lest she forgets something.  Unusual role for me! So I make myself another tea and enjoy my summer edition of Intelligent Life while playing with Coco’s ears. She’s a lovely dog who I’ll be getting to know in the next few days.  She and Daisy, the other dog my friend keeps will be joining us.  Coco has her forelegs on my thigh.  Usually it’s The Star’s hands I have in the same place every time she catches me sitting down. Outside I can hear sounds of children.  A mummy is trying to get her two kids into the car.  One is crying.  The other is screaming she wants her red shoes.  Less than 20 hours after leaving my children I start missing my princesses!

1100hrs – My first surprise

On loading the car, I can see my friend is putting two sets of Nordic walking sticks into the car.  Till this moment, I hadn’t thought we’d be doing that kind of walking!

12oohrs – Kayland

I have now just bought my first pair of mountain shoes.  They are the biggest pair of shoes I have ever possessed.  After lengthy explanations by the shop assistant on how to know if they fit me well or not and after trying on a few different brands and trying to walk with them uphill and down hill on different types of terrain in an area specifically set up in the shop, we settle for a pair of Kaylands.

On the box it says they are both water proof and also let the sweat out.  I now know our walks in the mountains will nothing like the walks, long or short we usually take in Gozo or Malta.

1330hrs – Pit stop

I’m holding Coco and Daisy on their respective leashes.  I still can’t believe it myself but I’m so comfortable around these two dogs no one would believe that till now the closest I had ever been to dogs till now was several meters.  We have stopped at this sideway hotel for a quick lunch.  I’m dying for my first taste of real cappuccino.  What they offered didn’t disappoint.

The capucchino might not look tempting but it tasted just right! I loved the 'plate' my panino came served on, too!

1530hrs – iphone

on arriving at Villa Chele

Settling down in my room at Villa Chele while handwriting some notes (what I’m actually using to write these few lines now).  I’m now missing having an iphone to blog about this experience as it’s unfolding. I have to admit, I had never felt the need before.  Maybe my next phone will be just that.

1630hrs – testing, testing, 123

We’re off on our first walk.  A short drive from the Villa and we’re immersed in nature.  Trees, trees and more trees.  Mosquitoes and flies. Uneven paths.  Rocks and stones.  Sand and soil.  And an uphill walk till we come to a series of narrow rivers of icy cold water.  I’m struggling to find the breath to continue.  I find different excuses to stop to catch my breath. To take photos, to adjust my shoe laces, to adjust my rucksack, to have a drink, to adjust the Nordic sticks!

But I know I can’t stop now.  The atmosphere is too exhilarating!  I still can’t believe it I’m here!  Then around a bend we come to this beauty.

little me in the midst of all this beauty

It has definitely been worth it!

The walk down hill was faster though not obviously.  Parts of the walk were steep enough and rocky enough down which one can’t simply, safely hurry.

2300hrs – lights out

I’m now settled in and ready to call it a day.

Can mums take a holiday? June 30, 2010

Posted by sunflower71 in about me, my opinions.
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Motherhood (we have often said) is a journey of discovery and for which there is no map, no guide-book, no real help.  We all of us get to experience it like no one else before us was a mother.  And moreover it would take very many volumes to describe the depth and width of the subject.

However, I often find myself comparing, how I am living my motherhood, to how I perceived my own mum living it when we, all four of us siblings were at home.  From my point of view, I am living this experience very differently.  This is pretty obvious, one might butt in!  We are different persons, living at different times, in different towns, etc… But there are some basic issues that I’m sure the I am differing completely and absolutely for her.

I will take only this example: do mums go on holiday?  I mean, can they take a break of a few days and head off somewhere to recharge while the father of the kids (and in my case, with the help of the grandparents) take over the household?

I would have thought not….but my man thinks otherwise. May God bless this man. He not only encouraged me to take up my friend’s very generous offer to spend a few days walking down (or up) a few lanes in the Dolomiti, near Cortina, in Italy, but he actually bought me the air tickets to get there.  Now tell me am I lucky or not?

I still can’t really believe it but this time next week I will be here.

This is a photo that was sent to me as a taster by my dear friend who will host me on my walking holiday.

I know I am leaving the kids in good hands and that this break will do me good.

But why, oh why, can’t I get rid of this nagging feeling that my mother would not have done anything like this?