15 July 2010

summer in the mountains

Richard Relaxes

canale flower
A Great Variety of Flowers

Perhaps the best thing about our recent visit to the Dolomiti was that we joined friends there;  not just any friends, but friends who have spent most of their summers each year in the same little village of Canale d'Agordo.  In fact, from different areas of Northern Italy, it was in this mountain village that they first met some years ago.  Michela and Roberto are now married with two little boys, and she continues the tradition by bringing her children to the mountains for the summer months.  Roberto joins them on weekends and then for a week or so later in August.  I could get used to that, no doubt.

canale garden
Perfect Little Fenced Gardens Accompany Nearly Each Home

Canale d'Agordo is a sleepy little village that is home to the famed Papa Luciani, or Pope John Paul I -- the ill-fated leader of the church who owned the throne for a mere 33 days before mysteriously dying.  Legend has it that he was poisoned by church leaders who were not quite ready for some of the changes that he had planned at the Vatican.  His family remains in Canale d'Agordo & more than once in our brief stay he was mentioned in conversations with locals.

picnic alpine drink cooler
Alpine Drink Cooler

falcade horse
Well-equiped Play Areas

hotel scary stories
Scary Stories at Night by Flashlight

It's not a place buzzing with activity, and I did notice that even in the neighboring villages and towns that the majority of the July visitors are the retirees. (Not true of the hiking trails.)  Michela tells me that the area comes to life in August and is teeming with Italians fleeing the cities.  Oddly, we did not encounter a single American, or people other than Italians, in our outings.  The area seems to be a popular place with Italians and few others, at least at this time of year.

picnic grill
Picnic on the Outskirts of Canale

falcade panorama
Neighboring Town of Falcade

waterfall hike bridge
A Little Bridge From Our Waterfall Hike

Last summer we spent ten days at the beaches of Sardinia & now we've had a taste of the Italian mountain summer.   I understand with certain clarity the reasons Italians escape to these places in the summer months.  The fresh and COOL air of the mountains wins over stifling Vicenza smog any day, and Sardinia, well, it's just paradise. . . that's all.

Michela has invited us to join them for the past several years, and this is the first time that finally the stars were aligned and we were able to make it. Visiting a place with a virtual local who also happens to be a good friend opens many doors that otherwise remain closed, and it makes everything so dang easy . . . unless you are a control freak, of course.  I am already scheming a return next year, making it a "must do" week in the mountains. (Followed by a "must do" week in Sardinia?!)  

Hotel Val Gares


Now the shutters are locked tight, the alarm set, the garden doomed, and we are off to our summer adventures (and we've got quite an agenda of events planned) that await us stateside:  DC, Virginia Beach, Louisiana, Blue Ridge, Boston . . . I will need a week in the mountains after these upcoming weeks.

I don't expect to be blogging or reading all that often.
See you in August for the new year!

1 comment:

  1. Buon viaggio then! Look forward to reading all about it when you come back from the US!