How does one describe the Dolomites? These incredible mountains are unlike any other in the world. A picture barely paints a thousand words in this case, but here is one anyway.
They are located in the North East of Italy, and so naturally I attempted to learn some basic Italian before we started our three week adventure. Little did I know that actually they predominantly speak Ladin (unique to the area), German then Italian. Fail!
After 6 months of being deployed in Afghanistan this holiday was our treat to ourselves. It was going to be epic. And it was. But I won’t tell you about the whole holiday because I could be here forever, but I want to tell you about one particular mountain trek.
As we packed our bags for the four day wilderness* hike Chris asked me how well I had slept. So I told him about my dream, it was vivid – Several unknown males asked to marry me, one after the after, I kept telling them no, I did not want to marry them! Apparently I forgot to tell Chris that the reason I didn’t want to marry them was because I had someone else on my mind to marry, Chris, of course! But apparently although I assumed this was a given, Chris thought in his mind that I just didn’t want to get married. Period. Full Stop.
Thinking nothing of telling my dream to Chris, we jumped in the car with our two friends we were travelling with and drove up the windy roads to our start point. Our friends wished us goodbye as they had other plans to see Lake Garda and stay in the warm sunshine. After a whole lot of faffing around we finally got onto the gondola to take us half way up the mountain. As we found ourselves in the peace and quiet in the silence of the alpine pastures, half way up Chris asked me a strange question about the meaning of life. I brushed him off because we had an adventure ahead of us and I wasn’t in the mood! Once we were up the top of the gondola, Chris was faffing. And I mean FAFFING. I was getting a little irritated because we were running a bit behind schedule and we had a refugio dinner to get to about 15 miles away!!!
5 minutes into our hike, we were still in the green alpine pastures, but really the views were spectacular as they were in dolomites. Chris took his bag off his back and started faffing around, again. I was mildly irritated, but Chris called me over to say he had haribo in his bag. Now I was really mad because that meant for the last 4 days he had hidden it from me!! OK I am not that fickle, but really Haribo is one of my favourite bads. When I came over he pulled out a ring box with a jelly haribo ring in it. “Ummmmm are you kidding me??” were the first words out of my mouth. Apparently, I should have said “Yes, Chris I would love to marry you!” – well I don’t know these things! It’s not like I have had men proposing to me left right and centre to practice my response (except for in my dreams the previous night!!).
Of course, you know the story, because Chris is my husband now. But let me ask you this…would you say “no” to a man you were just about to spend 4 days hiking in the wilderness with??! Could have been a bit awkward. Just kidding, I said yes and meant it. Chris was very nervous I was actually going to turn him down based off my dream.
It was weird being engaged and not being able to tell anyone about it until we could find some phone reception! But the mountains are good for the soul. The four days helped give us time to think things through on our terms. It was a complete surprise to me, although some people had suggested that Chris might propose on this romantic holiday to Italy, but I thought it would be too cliché and obvious that I thought nothing of it. How wrong was I?
Yes, this mountain was memorable, not just because of its beauty, but because it was one of the best days of my life.
Mountain Lesson Number 3: Always expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything.
*Wilderness in this case mean travelling from refugio to refugio – a kind of mountain hostel.