There are those places that you swear you’ll go back to. Most of the time, you don’t. There’s a great big world to explore and the pull of somewhere new usually wins out. But, every now and again you do return to a place that meant something to you – a place that evoked some emotion. A place that holds a special place in your heart. I recently wrote about such a place, the Valpolicella wine area of the Veneto region of Italy. But, here I am in another place I said I would return to. A place that I hold close to my heart – and it has taken my breath away just like it did the first time I saw it.
As I made the familiar drive from the autostrada I remembered the turns in the winding mountain road. I drove slowly yet with anticipation. And then there it was on my left – the Alpe di Siusi. And then there it was in front of me – the Schlern. Tears welled up in my eyes. “I’m really back,” I said to myself. “I can’t believe I’m here again.” I stopped at the same onion-domed church I did the first time, photographing it against a blue sky, just as I had a little over 3 years ago. I drove through the town of Siusi and onto Castelrotto, a familiar road. This time I was staying on the hillside rather than in town. I knew now that I would have fabulous views. Garni Silbernagl is not disappointing. The view from my room is stunning.
I walked up the familiar trails this afternoon, feeling as though I had come home. I am a mountain girl, after all, so gazing out at the peaks gives me peace. And tonight as I ate dinner on my balcony, watching the light fade, my breath was once again taken away. It’s not just the views. It’s the smell of the earth – pine scented forests, hay in the barn, cows in the fields. It’s the sounds of the breeze rolling down the mountains, the clang of sheep bells, the sound of cows munching on grass, the ringing of the church bell off in the distance.
Now as I am tired from a day in the fresh mountain air (and a couple glasses of wine), I will lie my head down and know that tomorrow I get to wake up to this gorgeous place once again. And again, have my breath taken away…