Photo Essay and Video – The Dolomites, Italy – by Donovan Chock. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
If you go far enough north in Italy, you won’t find the rolling vineyards, wineries, and olive trees like you would in Tuscany. There isn’t a colorful Amalfi coast for you to cruise along in your swim suit or ancient grounds that have been run over by tourists. Instead, you will find a harsher landscape, mountains, Italians who speak better German than they do Italian, and a unique culture. In northern Italy you will find The Dolomites.
One weekend, some friends and I got an Airbnb in a village called Völs am Schlern in the Dolomites. Schlern is a region in the Dolomites with a very heavy German influence. Few people spoke English so it was fun being able use my German skills to get a round and out of some sticky situations. Völs has an elevation of 880 m (2890 ft) and we hiked from there to a refuge at the top of the mountain which is at about 2457 m (8061 ft). The hike took about 5 hours to go about 10 miles and it got colder and colder as we ascended. Along the way up we came across some cows and alpine shepherds. They were taking the herd down for the winter when one of the cows strayed off away from the pack.
It was green all the way up. At the top, we came across a refugee called Schlernhaus, but didn’t have a reservation. The refuge we booked was about another two-hour hike away on another peak and we were tired and two group members had altitude sickness. Thus, we put on our puppy dog faces and knocked on the door. To our luck, they had one bed left open that fit seven people (the size of our group) and dinner was on from six to nine. At Schlernhaus, we enjoyed warm goulash soup, bratwursts, German beer, Italian grappa, and a bed to sleep in. It was nice to change into dry clothes too.
The next morning, we were all frozen to the bed and we could see our breaths. However, when we looked out the window, it felt like Christmas morning. There was a fresh 2-inch blanket of snow on the mountain. I peaked (literally and figuratively). We started our trek down the mountain after filling up on breakfast (mainly prosciutto and coffee) and witnessed an even more picturesque sight as we transitioned from white to green. We found ourselves in a town called Kompatsch and then made our way to Seis, then back to Völs. After careful consideration, we decided to unofficially declare the region as GermItaly because that’s exactly what it felt like.
For a brief video clip, see
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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.
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