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Hey there,

We missed you last week, but it’s our doing. We were on the road again. Just to keep it all straight, we arrived home from Rome, happy to feel a French breeze after the Italian heat we mentioned 500 times, and happy to have a washing machine to stuff our stinky suitcase contents into and have that fresh Seine recycled water get it all doused.

We got together with friends right off, needing to feel connected in the big city, because let’s face it, it can feel downright strange and disconcerting to arrive back to a place like Paris. So that first evening, my eldest’s bff came over with her family and we talked all afternoon into the evening until the buzzer rang and my good friend from NYC and her kiddies arrived to stay over. Then the next few days we met with available Paris pals, by that time, we were feeling like we lived here again.

Only to buzz off again because… the next week was the much anticipated Tech camp week in England for our eldest. She went to learn Java. Which isn’t coffee-roasting class, but a computer programming or coding language. She is wild about coding and spends her free time building websites and watching Dr. Who, a British TV show. She and her Dad spent the afternoon in London going to Geek stores buying Dr. Who T-shirts and posters. Love that she might sway the stats as the percentage of women in tech is still abysmally low. Girls Who Code might be right up her alley!

So while she was Java-ing, that left me and the 10 year old to hang out. That is until, I corresponded with an Ottawa friend who was at her place in the Dolomites and she invited us up. We accepted the invitation, jumped on another night train to Italy, and woke up to a week of surprises. I’d heard about the mountain place and her childhood summers and most intriguing, the lunch huts high on the trails, where she and her family would stop after a long hike and enjoy a meal right there up in the clouds. It had always sounded unreal. I couldn’t really picture being able to do that.

Imagine my surprise, when we arrive to a Tyrolean paradise of sparkling clean villages with hand-painted chalets, onion-domed churches, the greenest pastures towered by the whitest jagged peaks, and those famed lunch huts. It was a fairy tale land just like in the books.

First stop from the train was the Kneipp-wes Rudelbach, which is @ 3k hike through a forest where you take off your shoes and are obliged to walk barefoot in the coldest cleanest mountain stream and along the pine-needle paths. Yes. And waterfalls, and wooden hand-rails along the way, and stone steps.

The entry to a week of alpine meadows, olive bread, local mushrooms, and the lunch hut, which turned out to be a bonafide place after a long hike up a real mountain.

The Sennes Hutte – a gourmet resto hut where the dairy is from the cows out back with their bells on and your view is the grassy meadow onto a beautiful panorama over the peaks of Croda Rossa (3146m) and Tofana (3243m). Omelettes and gulash, anyone?

You earn the view, but by the time you get there, you’re smitten and can’t believe that you’re here in this fairy-tale landscape. I’ll be forever happy that my friend and her daughter showed us that world they know so well. They pointed to other peaks they had been to days before. My friend has been walking those peaks for 30 years.

We were out there on the mountains all day, and the descent was just as lovely, but by the end, I was glad to see our jeep guys who took us back to the village.

That night we took blankets out to the meadow and watched as stars shot across the night sky.

Just a few hours before, we’d been pretty high up there too.