One of the images I took in my cross-Europe ride in August is featured as the headlining photo in a MatadorNetwork photo gallery today about “What Have You Seen Outside Your Window While Traveling?”: http://matadornetwork.com/trips/photo-gallery-what-have-you-seen-outside-your-window-while-traveling. I had originally posted about it here.
When I saw a request for photos under this theme, this seemed like the only fitting one to me because it’s one that is forever in my mind. I recall the Hotel Colli owner ushering me into this delightful room, which seemed practically palatial after days on the road staying at hostels by night. He opened the balcony doors with a flourish and I gasped. I had been riding through the Dolomiti all day of course, but it still seemed like such a luxury to get a room with a gorgeous view like that. I think I took this picture the next morning after a well-earned night’s sleep when I stood outside and gazed at those magnificent mountains again, longing to stay there an extra day. Part of me wishes that I had, but looking back at how things turned out, it was probably a good thing that I headed to Ljubljana that day because I escaped the torrential rains and snowfall in the Slovenian Alps that followed just a day after I had ended my ride.
This is still my favorite place in the world though, one that I think of wistfully when things are going rough. I feel fortunate to have seen and experienced it. I know I will return there someday, maybe spend a couple of weeks in those mountains, riding a motorcycle, hiking WW2 trails, gazing at the craggy peaks that changed color with the changing light, eating casunziei and other local delicacies, and drinking wine and at one of the small cafes that line the main street, where all the locals know each other. I felt warmth, love and caring amongst the people here like I had rarely felt with strangers on the road for most of that trip. And the mountains – oh those mountains! – engulfed me and made me feel like I had finally come home.