Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: hiking

Drei Zinnen

In 2012 I resolved to hike with friends at least once every summer. It went well for a few years. Then, slowly but surely, the group started to shrink. Last year, Giallu and I were the only survivors.

This year, a lucky combination of two factors that are not entirely unrelated – Arianna’s joining the group and the popular desire to spend time outdoor after three months in a lockdown – revitalised our tradition.

Here we are, eleven of us, when we still thought we were stronger than the rain (spoiler alert: we were not). Giallu, Giacomo, Arianna, Carlo, Delina, Lorenzo, Ludo, Gabo, Anna, Dani. This year’s hike is on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, die Drei Zinnen.

Fiscalina

We start at Hotel Dolomitenhof (1’465), Val Fiscalina, right next to Sesto. Even with thr clouds, this is a scenic valley. Only now I remember I used to go there as a kid. We do not mind the rain too much. The the trail becomes a little river and we do mind a little bit. At about 2’000 meters of altitude we start shivering. At this point, we mind the rain very much. The Rifugio Locatelli (2’450), our objective for the day, appears and then disappears in the fog. Nerve wracking. It is a good feeling to arrive in our room.

Just like last year, we spend much of the first afternoon napping. Dani overhears another group talking about a “magic room” where clothes and boots dry up quickly. We go on a treasure hunt. We find the room: it does not look that magic, but it is indeed a little warmer than all other spots in the hut.

We have dinner. Very good dinner. A healthy mix of vegetables and meat. Noted down for future hikes. Gloria and Emanuele join us from Brunico, enlarging the Florentine and Milanese sections of the group.

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We wake up on a glorious Sunday morning. Gabo walks triumphantly to the dorm: there is a magic flow of air in the magic room and all our clothes and boots will get dry in no time. It is a warm, powerful flow coming from the kitchen. Ludovica throws her boots right into it. Carlo tells the story of when he did the same as a kid and his boots broke apart shortly after because of the excessive heat. We all laugh.

The group splits. Some of us go for the via ferrata to Monte Paterno (Paternkofel, 2’440), others take the lower trail to Rifugio Plan di Cengia (2’528). It is a bright day, and we move up the rocks following the ‘Cling cling’ of our carabiners. Everything is simple and there isn’t much to say.

I took the photo of a bridge and next to it there are the ruins of an old bridge. When my parents did the same via ferrata in the 70s, they had to use the old bridge, which was pretty much like it is today.

From Rifugio Plan di Cengia we hike together to Rifugio Comici (2’224). There we lose Giacomo (who goes for the Via ferrata degli alpini) and Carlo (who has to be back for dinner). This is where Ludo’s boots break. No one laugh. We all think of Carlo.

We arrive to the car a little earlier than dusk. We head to Trento where we want to have a typical dinner. We reserve a table at La Gnoccata. When I ask for the tortel trentino, they tell me ‘Questa è cucina tipica emiliana, qui di trentino abbiamo solo il cameriere‘. And what a waiter. Wild, compassionate, garrulous. We will be back.

Kandersteg

The photos of a Saturday hike with Annique and Inka. We left from Kandersteg, a famous cross-country ski location and the place where I almost went to do ski touring with Yvan once; and we walked up the valley to a little hut for scouts that Annique’s uncle was fixing, together with some friends.

Se non ci sarà, lo troveremo

A tradition is a tradition. This month of July, for the fourth year in a row (see our previous outdoor experiences here, here, and here) I/we went hiking up on the Dolomites with some of the people I truly care about. Well, one of them at least, and a friend of him – and you know the adagio, the friend of my friend is my friend, etc. So there we were: Giallu, Niccolò, and I. A far smaller group than we initially anticipated, but a very solid one indeed.

Now, a little bit of background. The Dolomites are unique mountains that are located only one hour away from the place where I was born. They are famous for their cantankerous shapes and romantic colours, surely a legacy of the time when they used to be a great coral reef underneath the water. In the nineteenth century they were called the Pale Mountains: they lost this name after World War One, which was fought on these sacred heights. This year we hiked precisely on the Italo-Austrian line of fire next to the majestic Marmolada.

It was by far our hardest hike since 2013. Giallu is a veteran now, as this is his third stroll with me; Nico is a newcomer, but his stunning preparation helped pulling the group through a fairly insane itinerary. The first day we climbed up about 700 meters of altitude to get from Passo San Pellegrino (1918 m) to Passo delle Cirelle (2683), and down to Rifugio Falier (2080) where we slept. The next day it was all up and down: up from Rifugio Falier to Cima Ombretta (3011), down to Rifugio Contrin (2016), up to Passo san Niccolò (2338), down to Malga Ciampie (1830), up to Rifugio Passo Selle (2530), where we slept. So the second day we did more than 2000 m of ascent, about twice as much as it is usually recommended. This is one of the reasons why on the third day we only walked down, from Rifugio Selle to Passo San Pellegrino, and back home. The other reason is that we had to save energies because later in the same day we were going to cycle for more than 100 km by bike in what will go down as one of the craziest ride I have ever done. But this is a story for my next post.

You might wonder why I write down every single thing we did. It is not necessarily something I do for you, my dear reader. Rather the contrary: this blog is also my diary – sort of – and it will come handy in the years to come. A bit like this year – it was fun for me to go and look back at the posts I put online for our previous hikes.

But now – onto business! I have two distinct galleries pf photos. The first gallery is made of the pictures taken by Niccolò: this is the reason why he barely appears in it and I appear in way too many.

The second gallery is made of the pictures I have taken myself. It is funny, looking at the two galleries, how it almost looks like they document two different hikes. It just takes another camera and another photographer to have a completely different perspective on the very same experience.

 

Hiking on a highway

I spent last weekend in Brussels and Lorenzo asked me to write some lines for his blog.

Brussels is an interesting city, ugly yet beautiful at the same time. It is fascinating how a city which embodies the great European dream can be so depressing – at least, the new European part looks depressing. No statues of liberty in this city welcoming new people. Literary terms occurred in my head: Brussels seems like a weird paradox to me. Its exterior can be seen as some kind of awkward metaphor for today´s situation of the EU, as viewed by many people: the old part I found quite beautiful, while the new buildings taking over the city looked threatening. Sometimes, content is not enough – it should be expressed in tangible objects to make a strong case. Inspiring architecture would be a good start.

Anyway, there has been enough talk about this topic and certainly on Lorenzo´s blog. Because let´s make room for another cliché here: it doesn´t matter where you are when you are with friends. I discovered some universal rules about true friends during my visit, which I can apply to all my best friends:

  • they are hanging out with interesting people;
  • they are pursuing great things in life;
  • even hiking on a highway after taking some wrong turns is fun.

 

Iris, in Stockholm now.

A pretty good way to celebrate

This Sunday’s birthday hike to Rifugio Generale Achille Papa was definitely big time with friends.