Graeme leapt out of bed this morning. An unusual event itself, but then he threw back the curtains …”Look it’s sunny….again”. I know I shouldn’t begrudge sunny weather but it would be great if the snow gods could see their way to make a fairer distribution of snow around the planet. It’s time for them to stop sending all the white stuff to the Rockies and allocate some to the Dolomiti and European Alps.
So being the spoiled “first-world” girl that I am, I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and donned the “uniform” …long underwear and ski attire. It’s the same every day for me, unlike Graeme who has at least 3 jackets he hasn’t worn yet…you know the story.
Graeme’s plan. “Let’s go thrash the Marmolada glacier, today.” Mumble, mutter, gripe…after all the wind yesterday, it will be stripped bare and be as icy as anything I thought. How wrong I could be!? Apart from a flat section on the valley floor which was quite icy, the snow on the Marmolada was primo. We had a great run.
Stopping for our morning coffee after the run down, we met a delightful older lady. She had noticed Graeme’s telemark skis and began talking to us in Italian. “Siamo spiacenti, non capiamo. Parli inglese?” Without batting an eyelid, this lovely lady switched to perfect English. For a lady of her generation this was highly unusual, but she seemed enthusiastic to continue the conversation and we were charmed at her friendliness. She explained that she began skiing on skis like Graeme’s…but now they would be in the museum. She loves to ski the Marmolada and except for an operation this year, she would be joining her son & daughter-in-law skiing today. She wished us good skiing and we headed up on the cable-cars for another go at the glacier.
Another fabulous run but we could not believe how quickly moguls had appeared on the narrow entrance to the glacier. We do remember our disbelief that there were moguls on the Glace de Mer in Chamonix, but it’s just a function of the number of people skiing in a very narrow section of piste. No problem, good soft snow made them easy to negotiate.
Returning to the valley floor, we returned to our coffee spot for lunch. To our delight we met up again with Marisa, our lovely lady from our earlier coffee stop. With her, was her son Marco, and her daughter-in-law, Katja. They also spoke perfect English and we enjoyed a lovely lunch with them. Marco is a scientist and travels the world for his work, and Katja works for a magazine distribution company. Originally from East Germany, she took up skiing late in life, but we think she’s had a good teacher in her husband! Marco has been skiing since he was three years old.
Talking more to Marisa, we learned that she was originally from Padua in Italy, but her husband was German. He was a diplomat, which explains why her language skills were so perfect. She has a lovely welcoming personality and, like Graeme’s mother, Wilma, I think she could go into any social setting and make friends…and probably negotiate a peace treaty too!
We gave Marco & Katja our details and we sincerely hope that we will meet up with them again some time. Katja has a good kiwi friend where they live in Munich…so maybe there’s a chance they will visit NZ. Fingers crossed.
What a fantastic fun day…and it wasn’t over yet. Hurtling back across the top of the mountains and down to the Arabba valley we raced to meet up with John and Peter’s family at Rifugio Plan Boe.