Italy has its claws in us

Today was quite possibly a high note to end Phase III of the trip. The weather was absolutely beautiful–clear and a high of 70 degrees. We decided to take the bus to Ortisei, and on Alessandro’s recommendation, take the cable car up the mountain on the Dolomite side. I took the one up the Alps about a week ago. The panorama was like nothing I’ve ever seen: 360-degree views of mountains and green valleys. It was 50 degrees at the top, and we all agreed that next time we’d bring appropriate hiking boots to explore some of the paths leading off in all directions. We had a lovely lunch at one of the ski refuges and then headed back down the mountain to the town. They were having a festival of some sort today, so of course, an oompah band and lots of people in lederhosen serving beer and funnel cakes with berries. Nate has requested pizza for his last night in the Sud Tirol. My request will be strudel. There is no doubt, however, that we will come back to this magical place. It’s one of the best trips we have had–from Bologna to Bolzano and points in between. Staying 2 weeks in each, we have gotten beyond the mad rush of must-sees and allows you to really soak in the environment.

Tomorrow, I head south to meet Gus in Bologna and then north to (hopefully*) cross the Swiss border and up to Lucerne for a few days. Nate and Eric head back to Venice for their flight home on Monday. Gus reports that he played a recital yesterday, and it went “very well.” That’s the best review Gus has ever given himself. “Mildly competent” and “not a disaster” were as high as he’d go before. The past 6 months have been wonderful– for his technique, sound, and confidence. We are so proud of him, and I can’t wait to see him tomorrow and hear all about it.

*Train tickets are still iffy past Milan.

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