Can I say that this place,
this place, seemingly lost in time up here in the Alps, between the mainland of Italy and the borders of Germany and Austria, its wonderful. I have to get this all out of my system first of all. I love it here. Its quiet, its peaceful. The people are a calm yet lively kind it seems, and the people here are interesting simply because they speak either Italian or German. That throws me off a bit, to be honest, I studied Italian, not German...so occasionally I end up just smiling, laughing, or nodding.
Today we got to hike into the Dolomite Mountains. It was simply, unequally incredible. The amount of pictures I took still fall so short of capturing the way the light would flow over the hills, through the peaks and peak out of the clouds which occasionally would reach down and touch the mountain tops. I spent so much time just sitting on the hillsides, or near the peaks just watching the mountains. I wish I could put my thoughts into words, besides saying simply that I couldn't stop from laughing out of just, I don't know, joy, shock, all of it? for how beautiful God's art was here especially.
I got to draw a bit, and that felt wonderful. I felt like I wanted to catch so much more than is possible within the small window of time we had up in the mountains, but at 4-5 thousand feet just looking around at the mountains. I managed to just soak up the views and just really, art student speak coming up, interact and talk with the mountains. Discovering their ways with the light, their rises and falls, their in's and out's was wonderful: Therapy for my soul.
Watching families interact was wonderful. It was so great getting to watch families up here. Many times I felt like there were familiar interacts. The hugs, the siblings bugging each other, the loving glances and firm yet tender speech from the parents...the things I'm grateful for back home. But there was something else notable, there was more physical touch. The sister and brother that I pass hugging each others or holding hands on the hike, or the son hugging his dad.. It's not the norm back home. It truly shows the cultural emphasis on family here, and also on just outward expression.
Something else very cool today was a talk with our host, the hotel owner, Suzanne. She shed interesting light on the culture and the why behind this place in the Alps. Originally a part of Austria, then lost to Italy in WWI, and then fought over in WWII, and kept a part of Italy, this place has had identity issues. Suzanne even said it wasn't till the mid 90's that things, identity began to truly restore/ stabilize.
This place has become a blend, its years of struggle, its back and forth, and its neighbors having to fight on both sides of a war at different points can truly shake a place. Yet, its amazing to see the true Italian ideal of perseverance coming through. They roll with it, and they find a way to make thing a work. It's interesting and slightly astounding that the young people are basically now soaking up two different cultures. I don't understand how to do that. I guess I'm lost in the idea of maintaining the two, but thats due to an outside perspective, a snapshot view. These people are adjusting, and in true Italian fashion, the region is first, and the nation of Italy is only truly important when it comes to international issues. Especially in these German, blended with Italian region, The Alps hide them from politics. It's their people first. It's something I admire.
I still find it interesting how they are trying to blend everything and balance, yet they seem to do it. The may be legally Italian, but ethnically they are German, or as Suzann put it, their region then whatever next. This place doesn't need to worry itself with other things, and they don't seem to. I definitely am finding relaxation here. Climbing a mountain, amazing food, good friends, and a great evening in a Sauna with the guys before chillin for the night. Tomorrow will a very relaxing day, since its completely up to me. Maybe I'll try to pick at some of the bigger things we've been discussing, since I won't have a ton to talk about trip wise. But until then, I'll soak in the rest of this fantastic place for a 21st Birthday.