We set off in the car, and Victor has got the maps out to point out landmarks along the way. He’s been cooped up with me for days in the non-stop rain of this incredibly wet winter. I’ve been writing so haven’t minded too much, but my dear husband has cabin fever and needs to get out. My brother is staying up in the Dolomites with his family and has invited us for lunch. It’s a two hour drive. The rain is sheeting down, and I think we’re crazy to even attempt it.
I know it will be snowing in the mountains, and I don’t like driving in the snow. ‘The roads are kept clear,’ my brother has promised. He lives and works in Hong Kong, and I’m longing to spend time with him. We follow the Piave river to Feltre. It’s an easy drive so far. Then it starts getting more difficult as we head higher and, through the low clouds, we can see the snow-topped peaks towering above us.
Four long tunnels later, we reach the start of a real climb, and the rain has turned to sleet. As we get higher, it’s snowing and then, practically a blizzard. How can they ski in this? We have directions to the restaurant where we’re to meet up. Two and a half kilometres above the resort of San Martino di Castrozza. But the wheels of our car won’t grip and I lose my nerve. Victor doesn’t drive – he has a hearing problem that affects his coordination – so he leaves it to me.
We return to the centre of San Martino and I get out my cell phone. Brother will come and fetch us.
As we wait, we take a picture of people clearing the snow from their rooftop. We find out later that the roof above the local cinema has fallen in and now everyone is scared the same thing will happen to them.
The road up to the Malga Ces Hotel Restaurant doesn’t seem so tricky in a four-wheel drive, and I take this photo of Victor before we go in.
Best of all, though, is being with family. While we eat and laugh together, I forget I have to drive back down the mountain. But soon it’s dark and we need to go. The snow is sticking on the road as we inch our way to the river valley, where the blizzard turns to rain. We’ve been stuck in a rut these past few weeks, we say. It was good to get out and have an adventure. We won’t wait so long for the next one.