Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Arrivederchi to the Alps

It is 7:30 AM and the Italian Alps are in the rear view mirror of the passenger van as we speed down the road on the autobahn to Verona then a flight to Roma then to Egypt. “Can it be 11 weeks already?” is the question that keeps popping into my head. It seems like a time lapse sequence in a movie and we’re just pulling the bags from beneath the Bolzano to Ortisei bus that hysterically has the capitalized initials SAD across the front of the bus. We never did figure out what that meant but our odyssey in the Alps was anything but SAD. Of course, we’ll exclude the last week’s 11:00PM trip to the Bolzano emergency room at San Maurizio (yes of course that means St. Maurice) with Ann and the x-ray we needed for Eamon when he hit a gate on the last day of practice and dislocated his thumb. Those were SAD days indeed.

In January we walked from San Antonio Platz to the apartment at 91 via Rezia. A short walk that seemed longer with 7 bags and snowboards and skis strapped to them but the anticipation of experiencing this magnificent ski town made it worth every drop of perspiration. The mornings were filled with sunshine and the snow capped Alps were ever-present. Day after day we walked and bused our way to 5 of the 10 different mountain ski areas available to us in the Dolomites. As we packed our bags, boxed up skis, winter clothes, boots, and completed Algebra books it looked like the end of winter semester at college and frankly, our apartment was about the size of a “triple” in a college dorm. Like college, you really don’t care too much about the room you just care about the experience of learning and the excitement of it all.

Speaking of experience, the following list is a synopsis of the skiing ands snowboarding season in Italy. It is truly amazing to think that we were able to accomplish these numbers and were able to do so with such enjoyment. Eamon Glavin 1717 km traveled, 1212 lifts with 64 snowboard days, Seamus 1252 km traveled, 787 lifts with 55 snowboard days, Pearse 1193 km traveled, 1193 lifts with 50 snowboard days (he went to Cairo and Venice), Maurice 938 km traveled, 620 lifts with 46 snowboard days and finally Ann 696 km traveled, 437 lifts with 36 snowboard days.

And so, as we depart the wonderfully quaint town of Ortisei, Italy headed to the coast of Egypt, I thought I mention a few things we’ll miss and some things we won’t!

We’ll MISS:

• Full moon’s lighting up the Alps
• The Wine bar with the best Cheese and mustard sauces and Andy who always suggested the best wine for Ann to try
• Funny rides on all 5 Gondola’s
• Reading pop-pop’s emails before heading to the mountain
• Movie night on the 26” flat screen TV we bought the day we arrived
• The microwave we bought and left behind
• Baguettes from the Backeria Panfico
• Saying Ciao until we couldn’t stop laughing
• Bus rides to the terrain park
• Skiing and snowboarding as often and whenever you wanted too
• Prison Break dvd’s
• The boys Thursday night “dinner out”
• Woodcarving stores and shops
• The 181 GYM
• Saturday “hotel and apt. change over days” and the empty mountain
• The “Ice Man” in Bolzano
• Lunch at the Lauren Hutte and Andre who always found us the best table and took our drink orders without even having to ask (Maurice – black tea with milch, Ann – gulhwein hot wine, Seamus – large Fanta, Eamon & Pearse – large coke)
• 18km downhill ski trails
• Hot wine and hot tea while the kids snowboard all day
• Seeing Eamon barreling down the mountain on his Alpine Snowboard
• Seeing Pearse scream when he makes his first 360
• Watching Seamus put his arm around Pearse when he “makes it” and when he doesn’t
• Seeing homemade snowboard videos with Team Glavin
• Seamus’ snowboard humor
• Eamon’s acrobatic jumps off the “big hills”
• Sunrises while everyone else is asleep
• Shutters that make the master bedroom dark all morning
• The ½ pipe
• Watching Pearse “walk like an Egyptian”
• Friends we met from Long Island – Frank, Jackie, Dominic, Francesco and Julian; and Carol from Massachusetts
• Hearing someone speak American English on the ski bus
• Seeing Eamon compete with his snowboard team
• Seeing familiar faces as we walk through town
• Watching the boys skiing “off piste” in the powder


• Stores that close from 12:00-3:00PM
• Spotty internet connections
• The Italian Post Office and UPS Italia
• Packed cable cars like “Moscow subways at rush hour”
• Hospitals, pharmacies (Farmica) or clinics
• Answering the question “What do you want to do today?”
• People yelling at us in different languages in the lift lines
• Conveyors for chair lifts
• Going “outside” to change your mind
• Mass in Italian
• The rolled up sidewalks at 9:00 PM
• Restaurants without English menus
• Apartments that come without towels
• Going to ChipWare to print from the internet
• Trash cans being rolled at 1 AM
• The wind on the Seceda mountain top
• Falling or getting launched when you go “off Piste” trying to keep up with your sons