On day 2, Friday, I woke up around 7 am after a pretty deep and peaceful sleep. This always happens when I sleep in the mountains. My mind and mountains are often allies in the support of sleep.
I was greeted once again by the pups and sat down at the table to eat some of the bread, yogurt, cookies, milk, cereal, and fruit Sara and Emilio had prepared for me.
Feeling extra privileged and grateful because it was one of those rare times when I got to eat cereal and cold milk when staying with an Italian host (normally warm milk :)). This simple things brought a good energy and lots of gratitude. Soon after, Sara and Emilio both departed for work after giving me some ideas as to where to go, leaving me with a map of the mountains. All I needed! At this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay another night with Sara and Emilio or head north that day. But after having a great night with them and feeling pretty much at home, I decided I would stay another night and therefore do one of the trails near their house which ended up working out pretty well! Planning ahead is not my forte.
I began trekking up the hill from their house around 8:30 and was eager to see where it would lead me by the end of the day. Adding another layer of mystery, the fog more or less engulfed the whole town and blanketed every rise and fall of the mountains – softly. Finally, I found one of the trails and began to walk with the fog. Just me and the fog, literally unable to see more than 10-15 feet in front of me for most of the climb which for whatever reason made it pretty awesome actually. A nice later October, spooky vibe. Never knew what was going to be around the next corner and embracing every turn with curiosity and the warmth of the hospitality I had received!
Off to the mountains up the hill.. a friendly fog.
Well, going to be fun.
About two hours later, I arrived at a point above the fog and was graced with amazing vistas of the Dolomite region that the fog had kindly hidden up until this moment. I must say the time of year made it feel like the perfect time to visit (wish I could say I planned for that!). Leaves were changing colors, snow and clouds clothed the mountains, and the air filled my lungs with the rejuvenation and tranquility of autumn’s spirit.
Not a bad view. not a bad place to run either!
At the one refugio which was closed, I took some time to absorb all the drama around me. Writing it now, I feel the air and spirit, but then decided to keep trekking onwards knowing I don’t live here and must take it all in while I can. An hour or so later, time was irrelevant, and after going through a little forest area and scaling the edges of the more mountainous area, I got to one of the most breathtaking locations I had ever witnessed.
The whole time I was on a red trail, and somehow I ended up getting on a blue trail (still knowing where I came from for the most part – thanks fog) and it was a just beauty. The view was simply unforgettable and it was more of a meadow like area than a well trodden trail which gave me more of a sense of open space and freedom. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be there because I shifted around a closed gate along the way to this trail (maybe added to the adrenaline)… and after wandering around, adventuring off trail some (sort of by accident, fog), and then realizing there was bear poop everywhere around me (quite large).. I decided it was best to turn around in the mist of the hazy, foggy day and retreat back to the refuge to sit down and eat some lunch.
Follow the Red and White!
Hmmmmm… follow the trail?
Worth it. Pixels here do not do it justice.
After seeing no one all day in the mountains besides that one runner, I finally came across some people while sitting on the picnic table eating Nutella outside the refugio! They too were taking a pit-stop too and as I was excited to see some humans, I greeted them in Italian. Not realizing I was going to spend the next however many hours I spent with them talking in Italian as they only spoke Italian. A needed practice after the quiet of the fog.
Living in Venice can make your language skills lazy, to say the least, as many speak English so I finally had to use my Italian skills in a deeper way (part of why I loved traveling to random, smaller places). Their names were Giorgio and Marinella. They were the same age as my parents and also reminded me of them a little bit which made it easy to strike up convo in the first place. They were actually going to visit their daughter at college in Berlin two days from now – who was my age! At first, we didn’t talk too much, I was focusing on my Nutella, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and cereal bars – actually pretty tasty. But after snacking, we talked more and I learned they too were from around the Venice area! We talked about Venice, the Dolomites, education, politics, their job, college, my time in Italy, where I should visit next (Sardinia they said), and many, many other things that I either forget or don’t feel compelled to write down at the moment. TLDR: Simply sweet individuals.
Not a bad place to eat.. or make friends
They more or less became my parents for the day while I walked with them back down to the town through the trails. As we reached the area where they parked their car, they offered to take me out to a pastry shop near Pieve di Cadore for a little Italian snack (pastry and cappuccino). How could I say no? A ride, pastries, and more conversing and views! Of course I wasn’t going to turn that down, and so I joined them as we drove through the magnificent scenery of the area which now looked even more stunning as the day only became more clear and sunny. Like hiking, we were the only one on the roads, but at one point it actually got really eventful as Giorgio had to reverse for about 3 minutes along the edges of the mountain since we were on a one lane road and a car came from the other side… a lady got out of the car and told him to reverse because they apparently decided they weren’t going to. Pretty rude, and these were my parents for the day, so I felt a little defensive as I could tell it bothered them, too. But Giorgio was a champ and fortunately was also basically James Bond. I never thought the reversing and backwards winding would end, but we did it!
And we reverse..
Post reversing, and 30 minutes or so later, we arrived to the shop and ate fantastic pastries while conversing more about where we both were from. I showed them pictures of Pittsburgh and they showed me pictures of their shop outside of Venice! Lots of shoes, purses, and belts! It was a really neat, small, and the most local kind of Italian shop – making a lot of the products themselves which I highly respected.
As we were set to depart, Giorgio gave me his business card and they both said I must visit them when they come back to the Venice area in two weeks after visiting their daughter and traveling more! I was thrilled at the prospects of seeing them again after having such a wonderful afternoon! And then had to dolefully say goodbye with much gratitude for all they did for me during the day as we departed. I could only think to say “A presto” – see you soon!