A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Carrying on the Christmas theme, this time around my Christmas was whiter than usual. While people usually celebrate Christmas with snow and santa, buying things and spending time with relatives, I decided to indulge in something different. Since everyone was away seeing their families on Christmas indulging in feasts and festivities, we could have the famous Alpine slopes to ourselves. And when we found out that it had just snowed very heavily the night before, the opportunity was too good to be lost!
We decided to go to Anterselva, located in the Dolomites close to the Austrian border. Besides being a popular place for cross-country skiing, Anterselva also has a huge stadium for the Biathlon Championships that are held here. So me and my friend rented a pair of skiis and took off, soaking in the stunning scenery and relishing the sound of our skiis on fresh snow. There are various routes that one can take, and we took one that brought us on a trail past the huge frozen lake and the nature reserve. We took a pit stop at a cozy little cabin on our way and tried one of the traditional dishes from here – uova, speck e patate – a layer of potatoes, then fried eggs eggs, and then smoked ham. Delicious, even the memory of it! We were positively stufferd by the end of it, and the journey ahead would not be easy! Our ascent up the heavily snowed up slopes may have resembled the romantic image of the solitary human figures in the lap of nature sublime, but it was soon getting dark by the time we stepped into Austria. We only had time to warm up with a tea before we had to return. The descent turned out to be more adventurous for me, since I was still a beginner, and the crunch of powder was at times punctuated by the thud of my bum! Nevertheless, once I got the hang of it, it did become really exciting!
The next day we went to the nearby mountain of Plata/Platten, around 2000m in altitude. There are several trails from Falzes/Pfalzen in the nearby mountains, used in the summers for cycling and in the winters for Alpine skiing, so we picked one of the shorter ones. The sun was slowly emerging from the clouds of mist to illuminate the valley and melt away the snow from the weary branches of the pine trees as we walked with our snowshoes. Being amidst the mountains floating above the clouds, looking down upon the valley below, watching the glitter of snow under the clear blue sky, breathing in the fresh air, and basking in the sunshine – this was truly magical, belonging to nothing and everything at the same time.