Sunday, November 4, 2007

Revenge of the chocolate - Val Blenio

Val Blenio: 01-04/11/2007
Photo gallery

Cloudy weather.
Let's try another site.
Cloudy weather.
It's 4 days, cloudy or not cloudy, I'm going. And gone I was to Ghirone, where I leave the clouds gathered in the valley probably around the weather station in Campo Blenio, and I start climbing to Scaletta hut, the sun at my side. The climb follows the road, I pass through a small village suspended on a hill, I pass by a man that saws wood for winter time, by wooden houses from behind which a Ferrari grins at me:)

Around 2000m the road gives up and I walk on the path that traverses the glacier valley and goes boldly and steeply up to the hut where a yellow-white carpet welcomes me with a "Welcome to the autumn! or to the winter, or maybe autumn, or winter?". The rivlet defines the border between the two seasons and today I choose to go on the right, on the autumn side, trying to find out which one is Piz Valdraus. My quest fails because, bitter-sweet surprisingly, I find out that the path to the peak is not marked, in fact is not. I take the opportunity to extend my knowledges about the area, adding the information that the majority of the climbs to the surrounding peaks in the Blenio valley are not marked and actually do not exist, or are usually used by the black goats (chamois). 3 very friendly italian swiss, heavily equipped with a map and good-will take me out of the darkness: "well, it's one of those peaks, see which one you can climb.":) I'm relishing a wandering on a first-gone path that I am sure I will never be able to find again, to a "don't know, don't care" what peak, and all that matters is the splendid view I am rewarded with. The a bit hurried descend due to the sun rushing to bed, is also interesting and unique, through hills and valleys, avoiding the rocks and the snow patches. I'm almost down in the pass when a grass patch, old but not wise, is keen on making a last farse this autumn and blesses me with a though combat: butt against ground. Good girl, now I know who's thougher and it serves me right to keep my claims low. A windy sunset over a cloudy valley eases my back pains and I enter the hospitable hut for 14 hours of solitary hibernation.

This wind is full of energy - evening, morning, it's restless. I eat my breakfast protected by the hut walls and I'm glad to see that today is going to be another cloudy day in the valley and sunny day on the hill. The day starts awfully bad, with a declaration of reciprocal antipathy and war between swiss chocolate and myself. The victim is me, and I loose a tooth in the batle with the frozen mad chocolate. It's clear, today is not my day. I retreat toothless, but strong willed: "I'm going to eat you anyway!" (especially because there's nothing else to eat up here) I try to raise my dental spirits thinking that at least I've got something in common with Gioconda (they say she was only smiling and not laughing because she was missing some teeth).

I start my way to the Monterrascio hut, a trek of about 2.5 hours. The path goes on the left side of the valey, the winter side, and not half an hour away it is blocked by ice. It's clear, today is not my day. I descend and continue along the valley, loking for an alternative way up to the winter side, somewhere after the icy part. 2 failed tentatives consume my energy and raise my adrenaline to the overflowing level. It's pretty nasty because the wall is a mixture of ice, snow and friable rock and it's stubborn enough to stand at 80 degrees. The canion is beautiful though, this until I suceed to break the ice and wash my feet. It's clear, today is not my day. I decide to give it a last shot, up on a torrent valley. Half the way up I realize this is not one of my best ideas (I hope). Eventually this last tentative ends with a free climb on the friable rock that gets me out on the winter side of the valley. Yes! The taste of victory doesn't last that much, only about 5 minutes till I find the path that goes down, guess where, to the botom of the valley where it meets the path that was coming on the autumn side of the valley. That's exactly where I meet 2 middle-aged tourists that started 1.5 hours after me and have relaxely followed the autumn way. But I have followed my way, and following your way always brings a plentifulness of novel and unique experiences. I look at the plentifulness of water that runs from my pants into my summer boots. The 2 look at me with a sympathetic smile. I look at the incredibly blue sky. And I have in the pocket close to my heart a tooth. It's clear, today is not my day.
I reach the Monterascio hut quite rapidly, where I find a group of 14. Swiss. German swiss. The hut has two winter rooms very modern and well equipped, plus a big kitchen where I'm staying for about half an hour listening to the group of swiss people that are very keen on instructing me several times in several european languages where I should register and leave the accommodation money. It's clear, today...

I freeze on a hill top looking over the lake and with plenty of sun, and refuse to move for fear of other novel and unique experiences. At sunset I run to my sleeping bag - uf, finally today is over.

The cold and clear morning pushes me to the top. I start hoping that the shadowed side of the Piz Terri, where I guess the path should be, is clean, and that I will be able to climb. A black goat is jumping in front of me - the day starts well. I reach the pass and unfortunately the ice is there, grinning at my cramponless boots. I give up the idea of climbing Piz Terri. But a hidden glacier valley slowly unfolds to the sun rays, and I enter the enchanted land looking for another way to descend. 3 long-horned goats block my way, my morning black goat shows up and introduces me - now I have the approval to go on with my exploring:) Where the valley closes up leaving open only the torrent way, I go back to the path. I cross the rivlet on the autumn side and am awed by the walls on which the water stumbles through ice cascades. I put my mind to opening a path to some unclimbed peak that lies on a crest resembling a linear function. About a quarter of an hour before reaching the summit, I have to admit two inaccuracies:
1. it's a parabolic function
2. someone has been here before, and, unless there are some architecture-talented black goats around, the pile of rocks marking the peak was built by humans.
The crest is sharp and very steep, which increases my joy of reaching the summit and much more, my hunger. The peak leans over a deep, clear eye, that, just like me, gazes at the inaccessible peaks and at the sky. It's a trio I cannot go away from: the lake, the dalmatian rocks and the sky. Moreover, during the photo session I'm so close to the edge that I might dive into the pool:)

Today is a splendid day, I go down facing the high mountains, the even higher mountains, that is :), in complete silence, as even the wind is having a siesta. I am the only inhabitant of the hut, I find out that it's perfectly possible to eat using only half of your mouth, and even chocolate - today is indeed a splendid day:)
The wind restarts its blowing and blows in some clouds and 3 tourists with a dog. We meet quickly and shortly in the morning for a greeting. I descend following a wild valley that flows into the lake through a canion which I pass over a suspended path. It's really very beautiful. I part from this area, a bit more toothless, truely, but happy, with a "See you soon!".

Razbunarea ciocolatei - Val Blenio

Val Blenio: 01-04/11/2007
Photo gallery

Vreme noroasa.
Hai sa incercam alt site.
Vreme noroasa.
Sunt totusi 4 zile, cu nori ori fara nori, eu ma duc. Si m-am dus pana-n Ghirone, unde las in vale norii adunati buluc probabil fix peste statia meteo din Campo Blenio si pornesc cu soarele in sus spre cabana Scaletta. Urcarea e pe langa drum, trec si printr-un catun cocotat pe-un deal, pe langa un nene ce taie lemne pentru iarna, printre case de lemn dintre care imi ranjeste un Ferrari:)

Pe la 2000m drumul se da batut si intru pe cararea ce taie caldarea si se avanta spre cabana unde nu dau de covorul rosu, ci de unul galben-carunt ce ma intampina cu un "Bine ati venit intre toamna si iarna". Paraul e pe granita dintre cele 2 anotimpuri si azi aleg sa merg pe partea dreapta, partea toamnei, incercand sa dibuiesc care ar fi Piz Valdraus. Partea cu dibuitul nu prea functioneaza caci am surpriza (cu gust amar-dulceag) sa constat ca traseul spre varf nu e marcat, si de altfel nici nu exista. Cu ocazia asta aflu si ca majoritatea urcarilor spre varfurile din zona Blenio nu sunt marcate iar cararile sunt in cea mai mare parte folosite de caprele negre. 3 elvetieni italieni foarte prietenosi dotati cu o harta si bunavointa ma lamuresc cam cum sta treaba cu varfurile: "pai e unul dintre alea, vezi pe care poti sa urci":) Ma bucur de-o brambureala pe un traseu in premiera pe care sigur nu-l voi mai nimeri a 2-a oara, spre un varf care n-am idee care e si putin imi pasa, tot ce conteaza e ca se vede superb. Coborarea un pic in viteza caci se pare soarele se grabeste la culcare, e tot asa de interesanta si unica, printre doline si caldari, evitand stancile si petele de zapada. In fine, aproape ajung in pas cand un petec de iarba batran, dar neintelept, tine sa faca o ultima poanta toamna asta si-mi pregateste un impact dorsal cu solul, asta ca anti-luat nasul la purtare. Un apus de soare vanturos peste o vale cu vreme noroasa imi alina durerile posterioare, si intru in casuta primitoare pentru vreo 14 ore de hibernare solitara.

Neobosit vantul asta: seara, dimineata, bate-ntr-una. Mananc la fereala dupa zidurile cabanei (supravegheata video!) si ma bucur ca si azi se anunta o zi noroasa in vale si senina in deal. Ziua incepe foarte prost, cu declaratie de antipatie reciproca si declansarea razboiului pe fata intre ciocolata elvetiana si persoana mea. Victima sunt eu, care pierd un dinte in batalia cu ciocolata inghetata. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Ma retrag de pe campul de batalie stirba, dar cu vointa inca intreaga: "Tot te mananc eu!" (in special pt ca altceva nici nu prea am de mancare la mine...) Incerc sa-mi ridic moralul dentar gandindu-ma ca cel putin am si eu ceva in comun cu Gioconda (despre care se spune ca zambea si nu radea deoarece era un pic cam stirba).

Pornesc spre cabana Monterrascio, un traseu de vreo 2.5 ore. Poteca merge pe partea stanga a vaii, partea cu iarna, si la nici jumatate de ora de mers e blocata de gheata. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Cobor si continui pe firul vaii cautand o alternativa de a urca din nou pe partea iernii dupa portiunea cu gheata. 2 tentative esuate imi consuma energia si-mi cresc adrenalina la nivel de suprasaturatie. E tare nasol caci peretele are gheata, zapada si bolovani instabili si se mai si incapataneaza sa stea la 80grade. Totusi canionul e frumos, asta pana reusesc sa sparg gheata si sa ma spal pe glezne. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa. Hotarasc sa mai incerc odata pe un valcel. Pe la mijlocul lui constat ca nu e una din ideile mele cele mai bune (sper). In fine aceasta ultima tentativa se termina cu o catarare pe stanca friabila care ma scoate pe partea de iarna a vaii. Satisfactia victoriei nu tine mult, doar vreo 5 minute cat imi ia sa regasesc poteca ce coboara, ghici unde, tocmai la iesirea din canion unde se intalneste cu poteca ce venea pe partea de toamna a vaii. Tot acolo ma intalnesc si eu cu 2 turisti la varsta a doua ce au plecat in urma mea la vreo ora jumatate si au venit relax pe poteca de toamna. Dar eu am venit pe drumul meu (plina de premiere excursia asta), si intotdeauna sa mergi pe drumul tau iti aduce o bogatie de experiente noi si inedite. Privesc la bogatia de apa ce mi se scurge din pantaloni in bocancii de vara. Cei 2 ma privesc cu un zambet compatimitor. Privesc cerul impecabil de albastru. Si port in buzunarul de la piept un dinte. E clar, azi nu e ziua mea norocoasa.
Ajung repede la cabana Monterascio, unde dau de un grup de 14. Elvetieni. Din partea germana. Cabana are 2 camere de iarna foarte frumos amenajate, plus o bucatarie mare in care stau vreo juma de ceas timp in care grupul elvetienilor tine mortis sa-mi arate si explice in diverse limbi europene de cateva ori unde sa ma inscriu in registru si unde sa pun banii pentru cazare. E clar, azi...

Ma pironesc pe un picior de plai cu vedere la lac si cu mult soare, si intepenesc acolo de frica altor experiente. La apus de soare trec rapid in culcus - uf, ce bine ca s-a terminat ziua de azi.

Dimineata friguroasa si senina ma indeamna spre varf. Pornesc cu speranta (slaba ce-i drept) ca partea umbrita a varfului Piz Terri pe unde banuiesc ca e poteca, e curata si ca voi putea urca. O caprita neagra se zbenguie prin fata mea - ziua incepe bine. Ajung in pas si din pacate gheata e prezenta si face imposibila ascensiunea (respectiv coborarea in viata:)) fara coltari. Dar o caldare ascunsa se dezvaluie incet in bataia soarelui, si intru pe taramul fermecat cautand o alta coborare. 3 cabotini imi taie calea, caprita mea matinala apare in fuga si face prezentarile - am ok-ul sa-mi continui explorarea:) Unde caldarea se inchide lasand deschisa doar palnia fostului torent pe unde cararea coboara abrupt, revin si eu in poteca. Traversez paraul admirand peretii pe care apa se scurge in hopuri pe langa cascade de gheata in formare. Trec pe partea toamnei si-mi caut calea printre vizuini de marmote. Sper ca n-or sa viseze urat din cauza tropaitului meu:) Imi pun in cap sa fac o premiera pe ceva varf pe o creasta ce seamana cu graficul unei functii lineare. Cu vreun sfert de ora inainte de varf imi recunosc 2 greseli:
1. ca e vorba de o functie parabolica
2. ca sigur premiera a fost facuta mult inaintea mea de ceva capre negre si, daca nu erau cumva inzestrate cu talent de constructori de momai, si de ceva oameni, dovada momaia de pe varf.
Creasta e ascutita si foarte inclinata, fapt ce-mi sporeste bucuria de a ajunge pe varf si mai ales foamea. Varful strajuieste un ochi de apa adanc si senin ce, la fel ca si mine, isi atinteste privirea la varfurile inaccesibile si la cer. E un trio de care nu ma mai pot dezlipi: lacul, stancile dalmatiene si cerul. Ba chiar la sedinta foto ma apropii de buza stancii mai sa sar in piscina:)

Azi e o zi splendida, cobor cu fata la muntii cei mari, adica la muntii si mai mari:), intr-o liniste deplina, caci pana si vantul isi face siesta. La cabana am ramas singura ocupanta, descopar ca se poate manca destul de bine si pe o singura parte, chiar si ciocolata - azi e intr-adevar o zi splendida:)
Vantul reincepe sa bata pe seara si aduce ceva nori si 3 turisti cu un caine. Ne intalnim scurt dimineata cat sa ne dam binete. Cobor pe o vale salbatica ce se varsa in lac printr-un canion pe care il strabat pe-o brana. E tare frumos. De zona asta ma despart, ceva mai stirba, ce-i drept, dar fericita, cu "Pe curand!".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tribute to my knee - Aletsch

Aletsch: 20-21/10/2007
Photo gallery

There comes a time in life when you have to give up, to abandon insensible rushes, to accept aging with its unmovable wisdom and to plan for a safe future. To grow up. Well, this is not that time.

I'm staring somewhat prayerfully at my knee and start to move smoothly, as if trying to persuade my body this has nothing to do with locomotion. Unfortunately the freezing cold prevents any attempt at sleep walking and I'm wide awake when reaching the stones on the way to Bettmerhorn. My knee is even more awaken as any other part of my body, not to mention my mind, and it's very keen on reminding me what an important part it plays in this simple activity called walking. A shiver of respect takes over my senses at the recollection of all unimportant parts of my body sending their confirmation of existence: pain.

One short look behind makes me stop. The look becomes a long,long gaze, so long as if trying to reach the pyramid bursting out of the clouds somewhere at the horizon. I throw the "is this you? is this really you?" gaze that one has when one meets some pen pal for the first time and finds out it is not a woman one was chatting with but a man, or the other way round. However, this one is really it, it just cannot be other but it, Matterhorn. I'm about to change direction, but this is not that time either. So up I go, a bit nervous, the same nervousness you feel when meeting an old long-time-not-seen friend. Will you still know him, is he still a friend, will you feel the same? I'm somehow staggering, do I still know to listen, to find the way, to understand the mountain? Will I recognize it and will the mountain recognize me? Are we still best friends? Some icy snow patches lost among the sharp-edged stones, the cold air and the tail of the dragon, the glacier, are the first to answer my call. It smells like winter. It's the smell of the playful snow, of the hospitable peaks, of the sunny cold. It smells like fun, like passion, like life. And the enthusiasm I'm flooded by is nothing short of the happiness of our rejoining - we did not forget each other. The wind joins the meeting and its enthusiasm is even greater than mine, it plays with my equilibrium such that I need to pay attention not to fly off the rocks:)

This is a good time to get down to the ice highway. I'm proud that my eagle eyes allow me to see the hut where I intend to sleep, on the other side of the glacier. Everything is volatile, and so is my pride when I fail to see the map 5 meters in front of me and I descend following a valley that ends on a hill top, 50 meters above the gorge. This way, no way. I climb back to and through the Aletschwald, a yellow and relaxing forest where the wind is milder. I start to get down on something that long time ago could have been called a path, and I enjoy the pleasant, steep and quick descent. There's a sign "Kein Durchgang". No kidding? I'm not about to give up now and so I find out why the population of Europe is slowly but steadily decreasing, especially the non-German speaking part. Ok, good work but the glacier is not receiving any visitors today, which is why I have to climb back to the marked path. The descent is still pleasant, steep and quick, unfortunately I'm going in the opposite direction:) It's quite late and I'm still getting better and better acquainted with different descents to the glacier. A last try brings me next to the white teeth and I suddenly remember that a well-behaved visitor remembers to come visit and also remembers to leave. So, I've come, I've greeted and now I leave. I'm successful in shocking the black goats(again) by being on their territory at such a late hour. I reach Bettmeralp together with the dark.

By the civilized alpine standards, I should look for accommodation, dine in a restaurant, take a shower and sleep in brightly white sheets. The next day I should greet the mountain with my freshly white detergent smile and my "I'm so clean&pure&fancy" odor.
There comes a time in life when you have to compromise, to accept the rules and to self-censure your freedom. To conform.Well, this is not that time either.
I find a balcony where the night is not windy, I eat my dinner from my rucksack, I put several layers of clothes on and get into my sleeping bag. Feels like home. The next day I greet the mountain with my natural human stink and, to the total amazement of the civilized alpine standard people, the mountain greets me back with a smile(though it might as well be a grin:)), and even the black goats look at me in recognition. My knee decides it's high time to pay the prima donna role, so I'm learning a bit of applied anatomy - it's definitely an interesting, though not nice, experience to negotiate the path with your knee.

There comes a time in life when you get tired of being different, when you realize that "all in all it's just another brick in the wall". A time when all proclamations of independence are only fun-readings. Well, this is not that time.
I enjoy the sunrise that's sneaking through the peaks and I feel good surrounded by pastures, rocks and snowy horizons. I feel good here because of nature's charm, I would feel just as good about this mystical beauty were I in some remote Romanian village, where the sun rises just like it does here, and maybe I would get a cup of fresh warm milk as bonus:) The wild peaks show themselves without shyness nor fear for the sun, wearing a shawl of thin clouds around them. The silence of stony ice says so much, in an universal language that leaves no room for misinterpretations, and it speaks up its opinion on all of us, honestly and boldly, and on what we mean to it(that's right, the answer is 'nothing':)) The untouchable heights don't answer to anybody's questioning, they don't give interviews, don't accept evaluations and verifications - they exist without explanations, without excuses, just as they are. I am what I am - nothing more and nothing less. I join the mountain in its proclamation of independence for some hours and I go over the conversations with the housing agency, the foreigners office, the work permit official, the landlord (am I really a serial killer? I almost wonder myself - more of these disscussions and they're going to convince me:)). In this rehearsal, my opinions are freely spoken and the Eiger, the Jungfrau and some other old and wise friends are on my side(my right side as I hike to the Marjelensee) and I feel strong, honest and very generous with my epithets. This overconfidence stays with me while I'm waiting in the parking place to go back to Lugano, dancing Zorba the greek as a remedy for the dark cold only disturbed by the bells of the church - the only sound which does not smell of suspicion in this country - and wondering where is the benefit of the doubt, the premise of innocence? I can't wait to state my proclamation of independence, I can't wait to speak up my opinion on the system, the rules and the over-civilization. I can't wait to declare my nonconformism and my alienation from the layers of hypocrisy. I get into the car just as decided.

"Where have you slept?"

"In a hotel."

..... welcome to the first level of hypocrisy. Welcome to Switzerland.

Tribut genunchiului meu - Aletsch

Aletsch: 20-21/10/2007
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Sunt momente in viata cand trebuie sa renunti, sa pui deoparte avanturile irationale, sa accepti anii cu intelepciunea lor statica si sa chibzuiesti la siguranta viitorului. Sa te potolesti. Ei bine, momentul asta n-a sosit inca.

Privesc cu speranta si teama la genunchi si pornesc usor, parca incercand sa-mi conving corpul cum ca nu exercita nici o miscare locomotorie. Pacat ca frigul taios face imposibila orice tentativa de somnambulism si sunt destul de treaza la contactul cu lespezile aruncate pe cararea spre Bettmerhorn. Si genunchiul meu e treaz si tine sa-mi aminteasca ce rol important joaca in aceasta chestie simpla pe care o iei de buna si anume mersul. Parca un nou val de respect ma copleseste amintindu-mi de parti anatomice neimportante de care esti constient doar cand fac nazuri.

O scurta privire in spate ma face sa ma opresc. Privirea devine lunga, lunga, sa ajunga pana la piramida infipta in nori undeva in zare. Ma uit cu privirea "tu esti? esti chiar tu?" pe care o ai cand intalnesti pe cineva pe care il cunosti din poze, si hotarasc ca numai el poate fi si nimeni altul, Matterhornul. Mai ca-mi vine sa schimb directia, dar nici momentul asta n-a sosit inca:) De data asta ii intorc spatele si, spre creasta. Urc cu emotie, acceasi emotie pe care o simti la intalnirea cu un prieten vechi pe care nu l-ai vazut de mult. Oare o sa-l mai recunosti, oare mai e prieten, oare mai o sa simti la fel? Urc cu pasi stangaci, oare mai stiu sa ascult, sa gasesc calea, sa ma inteleg cu muntele? Mai suntem prieteni? Cateva pete de zapada inghetata ratacite printre bolovani ascutiti, aerul rece si ghetarul ca o coada de balaur sunt primii ce-mi raspund chemarii. Miroase a iarna. Miros de zapada jucausa, de creste primitoare, de frig insorit. Miroase extraordinar. Si entuziasmul care ma cuprinde e pe masura bucuriei regasirii - nu ne-am uitat. Vantul a venit si el la intalnire si e la fel de entuziasmat ca mine - ba chiar se joaca asa entuziasmat cu echilibrul meu incat trebuie sa fiu atenta sa nu zbor de pe stanci.

E timpul sa cobor spre autostrada de gheata. Cu privirea mea de vultur vad undeva pe partea cealalta cabana unde mi-am planificat sa dorm, nu insa si harta 5 metri in fata mea(vulturii sunt cumva specie pe cale de disparitie?), asa ca ma cobor pe-o vale ce se termina brusc cu un zid de stanca la vreo 50 de metri deasupra cheilor. Se pare ca nu pe-aici. Urc pe acelasi traseu prin Aletschwald, o padure galbena si relaxanta pe unde vantul e mai potolit. Incep o coborare pe ce pare ca a fost odata ca niciodata o poteca, ma bucur deoarece coborarea e placuta, foarte abrupta si rapida. Ajung la o alunecare de teren si un semn "Kein Durchgang". Ma lasi? Ca doar n-o sa ma opresc acum. Si uite-asa mi se explica de ce populatia Europei e in continua scadere, in special cei ce nu vorbesc germana. Bun, ghetarul nu arata bucuros de oaspeti asa ca e timpul sa revin pe marcaj, deci inapoi. Coborarea a ramas tot placuta, foarte abrupta si rapida, din pacate eu merg in directie gresita:) E destul de tarziu si eu tot aprofundez coborarile spre ghetar. O ultima incercare ma aduce langa coltii albi, si subit imi amintesc ca "Omul vine, sta oleaca, mai vorbeste, mai si pleaca". Asa ca ii vad, ii salut, si-am plecat. Reusesc din nou sa surprind un copor de capre negre cu prezenta mea tarzie pe teritoriul lor si ajung odata cu noaptea in Bettmeralp, unde deschise sunt doar cateva hoteluri.

Ar trebui sa caut cazare, sa iau cina la restaurant, sa fac un dus si sa dorm in cearceafuri orbitor de albe, astfel ca a 2-a zi sa salut muntele cu parfumul meu proaspat, de Ariel, in ducele stil alpin elvetian.
Sunt momente in viata cand trebuie sa faci compromisuri, sa accepti regulile si sa-ti auto-restrictionezi libertatea. Sa te conformezi. Ei bine, nici momentul asta n-a sosit inca.
Gasesc un balcon protejat de bataia vantului, mananc ceva de prin rucsac, ma infofolesc bine si ma bag in sacul de dormit in care ma simt ca acasa. A 2-a zi dis-de-dimineata salut muntele cu parfumul meu natural de balconar, si spre totala uimire a Arielilor, muntele ma primeste zambind, ba chiar si caprele negre stau oleaca la fluierat cu mine de parca as fi de-a lor. Genunchiul meu considera ca e timpul sa se bage in seama, astfel ca invat anatomie aplicata - e destul de interesant sa negociezi cu genunchiul traseele montane.
Sunt momente in viata cand obosesti sa fii altfel, cand realizezi ca pana la urma urmezi doar un alt tipar. Cand toate declaratiile de independenta sunt doar lecturi optionale. Ei bine, nu e acum momentul.
Ma bucur de rasaritul furisat printre creste si ma simt bine, inconjurata de pasuni,bolovani si zari inzapezite. Ma simt bine aici din cauza farmecului naturii, m-as simti la fel de bine in Cucuietii din Deal, unde soarele rasare tot asa frumos si in plus poate as avea noroc de-o cana de lapte proaspat muls:)Varfurile salbatice din fata mea se dezvaluie fara teama razelui soarelui, imbracate intr-o esarfa de nori subtiri. Tacerea de gheata stancoasa spune atat de multe, intr-un limbaj universal ce nu da loc la interpretari gresite, si ne spune sincer si pe fata tuturor unde ne putem duce din punctul ei de vedere.(da, acolo:)) Intangibilele inaltimi nu raspund la intrebarile nimanui, ele nu dau interviuri, nu accepta evaluari si verificari - doar exista fara explicatii, fara scuze, pur si simplu asa cum sunt. Ma alatur muntelui in declaratia lui de independenta pentru cateva ore si refac mental conversatiile cu agentia imobiliara, oficiul pentru straini unde trebuie sa ma agit pentru permisul de munca, oficiosii graniteri (si daca mai am multe discutii de genul asta chiar o sa ma convinga si pe mine ca sunt criminal in serie:)). Eiger-ul, Jungfrau si alti cativa batrani cu prestanta sunt de partea mea(mai exat pe partea mea dreapta in timp ce merg spre lacul Marjelen) si sunt puternica, sincera si chiar foarte generoasa cu urarile. Ba chiar increderea in mine ma tine si asteptand in parcare sa ma intorc la Lugano, dansand Zorba grecul in frigul noptii tulburat din cand in cand de clopotul bisericii si intrebandu-ma unde e premisa inocentei, increderea in oameni? De-abia astept sa-mi formulez declaratia de independenta, de-abia astept sa-mi spun parerea despre regim, reguli si hiper-civilizatie. De-abia astept sa-mi declar nonconformismul. Urc in masina tot asa de hotarata.

"Unde ai dormit?"

"La hotel."

..... Ce dor mi-e de India, de oameni simpli si nesuspiciosi, de curajul de a fi eu.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Intre datorie si libertate:ciocolata - Zugspitze

Zugspitze: 19-20/05/2007
Photo gallery

O enigma nerezolvata a lumii ma bazaie de vreo 3 zile, cam de cand si urcatul si coboratul scarilor mi se par mari realizari umane. Si anume enigma ce nu-mi da pace e : cum sa eviti raionul de dulciuri dupa o hoinareala de weekend de 14ore/zi?(overtime-ul nocturn pe bancile garmisch-ului nu se pune)
Un weekend al marilor descoperiri si redescoperiri, de la legile fundamentale ale fizicii(ca gravitatia si termodinamica), pana la relatiile spatio-temporale versus psihologie umana(trenul de 16 sau cel de 22?). Si toate sub semnul ciocolatei.
Stand acum cu picioarele pe calorifer si ochii la ciocolata(ei da, cutiile ce-mi surad din bucatarie demonstreaza ca mai am de studiat enigma cu pricina), imi convine sa deschid editia cu rememorarea bancii din Garmisch(fie-i lemnul mai maleabil!) pe care la ceasurile 2 ale diminetii de sambata mi-am bagat picioarele in rucsac(la propriu). Doar picioarele caci mai mult n-a intrat(ah, ciocolata!), drept urmare pe la ceasurile 2 si 10 mi-am scos picioarele din rucsac si mi le-am bagat in frigul noptilor de mai(la figurat) pornind in turul Garmisch by night. Participanti la tur: eu, o vulpe si cateva pisici. Cam intr-o ora in care am mai incercat cateva banci fara variatii de temperatura din pacate, chiar la inceputul traseului spre Hamersbach(Hamersbacher Fussweg), un ultim neuron scapat de martiriul hipotermic descopera comfortul termic sporit al unei cabine telefonice. Dar cum marile descoperiri intotdeauna dau nastere la polemici, o pisica cu privirea clara de "cred ca zeii sunt nebuni" da tarcoale custii in care am placerea de a fi unic exponat. Apoi pleaca spre casa, probabil ca sa-i aduca pe aia micii la zoo:)
Pornesc printre valatuci de ceata ce se joaca la crapatul zorilor printre casute de lemn raspandite in iarba verde de la poalele vaii Hollental. Ajung la intrarea in canion putin dupa soare, si putin inaintea unui nene la fel de matinal ca mine pe care-l depasesc pe drum. Primesc dusul de dimineata in canionul(Hollentalklamm) ce taie inima muntelui in 2 jumatati la fel de stancoase. Pe-aici apa nu se joaca - se arunca de la zeci de metri, se izbeste de stanci, un tumult tineresc ce se grabeste spre libertate(oare unde-si inchipuie ca va ajunge?!?) . Impresionant. Superb. Fantastic. Zgomotos, frig si umed. Hai la soare.
Dupa canion valea se deschide. O alta impresie de libertate pazita strasnic de pereti imensi de stanca. Cateva puncte de trecere exista - poteci taiate in stanca, portiuni de fier si provocari verticale, dovezi ca oricat de bine ar fi acasa, intotdeauna vei vrea sa fii de partea cealalta a zidului.
A tremura sau a nu tremura, aceasta-i intrebarea! Logica zice nu, dar picioarele mele hotarasc altfel (asta-i baiul cand te incurci cu chestii cu prea multa personalitate). Chiar si fara vreun mar prin preajma nu i-ar fi greu nimanui sa-si dea seama de adevarul gravitational pe scarile astea, iar mainile m-au tradat picioarelor spunandu-le ca fierul asta se mai si clatina.Intre timp nenea m-a surprins in plina sedinta foto florala si asa aflu ca el, desi aproape la 70 ani si plecat din Brasov de 17 ani mai merge pe munte si inca pe trasee solicitante. Urmeaza o portiune cu bare metalice fixate pe peretele vertical pe care il voi traversa cu ochii tinta inainte, ca sa nu-mi periclitez sansele de a ma intoarce peste 45 ani sa refac traseul asta. Ceva e insa 100% sigur, eu pe-aici nu ma intorc. Din nou pe stanca, ce bine e! Inafara de cele 2 portiuni cu "cale de fier" urcarea pe stanca nu e dificila si ajung destul de repede la ghetar, impreuna cu un tanar entuziast care rataceste traseul si face catarari la liber care mie imi dau ameteli. Varful e atat de aproape, cam intr-o ora am putea fi sus, chiar daca e destul de multa zapada. Cateva bubuituri ne taie avantul - si in fata noastra 2 avalanse se dau in spectacol exact pe traseul nostru in timp ce alte trei se pornesc pe laterala. Ne uitam unul la celalalt si facem clasicul 180 grade. Mda, e timpul sa redescopar ca 100% sigur nu e destul de sigur. Noroc ca am reusit sa ma trezesc(oare bubuiturile sa fi fost de vina?) si nu ma mai simt amortita, ba chiar incep sa merg destul de bine si nici feratele nu mi se mai par mare branza. Totusi coborarea pe scara cu cateva intinderi datorate treptelor lipsa si faptul ca am muschii tensionati(o chestie psihica probabil) o sa aiba efecte devastatoare la raionul de dulciuri...:)
Inapoi pe valea ce s-a transformat in bulevard si o urcare pe deasupra cheilor - privelistea e taietoare de respiratie(nu doar la figurat), traversez podul peste chei cu un nod in gat, de-abia am tupeul sa ma aplec peste balustrada sa fac o poza.
Traseul merge pe o brana cu vedere spre valea ce se deschide in Garmisch, apoi se desparte de vale si continua prin padure spre Grainau. Pe-aici e multa liniste, foarte putini excursionisti, si peisajul incepe sa semene tot mai mult cu meleagurile lui Heidi(oare ea manca ciocolata?in fine...).
Sunt frustrata, mi-as fi dorit sa urc pe varf mai ales ca nu prea cred c-o sa mai ajung curand prin partile astea. Noroc ca n-am ciocolata la mine, ca sigur as topi cateva tablete. Sa stii cand sa renunti - nu stiu cine a inventat chestia asta dar sunt sigura ca si el/ea manca multa ciocolata:)
Ar fi cazul sa gasesc un pat pt la noapte, ceea ce si fac si culmea, e un pat cu vedere spre munte. Tanti la care stau imi povesteste de multe in timp ce eu afisez zambetul aprobator si sper sa nu sforai:) Dar imi da si o idee buna, si anume Schachen pe care data trecuta nu l-am vizitat si care este un castel intr-o cabana. E 6.35 si ziua imi zambeste(cred eu) desi cu siguranta nu mai poate de ras privindu-mi tentativa de mers. Se pare ca la capitolul asta am revenit la vremurile copilariei, mai exact atunci cand invatam sa merg fara sa cad. Dupa ce trec de cheile deja cunoscute ale Partnach-ului, picioarele incep sa fie de acord cu directia in care le indrept. Doamne-ajuta, caci urmeaza 5 ore de urcare prin padure pana la casa regelui, construita intr-o pozitie regala: cu vedere spre Alpspitze, Zugspitze si Dreitorspitze. Eu ma indrept spre cel de-al treilea, urcand spre casa din varful dealului, adica Meiler Hutte. In caz ca zapada e prietenoasa, o sa hoinaresc si pot pleca cu trenul de ora 22 si voi aprecia arhitectura garilor germane pana pe la 5 dimineata, altfel o sa ma grabesc la trenul de 16.
Poteca blanda urca pe marginea peretului de stanca, apoi traverseaza o caldare si in tot timpul panorama la 360 grade e splendida. Doar urcarea finala spre Meiler Hutte e abrupta, asta da casa sus in deal:) Noroc ca zapada e mica, ghinion ca o ia la vale. Ajung si sus, care sus nu e deal ci e un pas. Si ce vad acolo? E clar - trenul de ora 22:)
Privirea mi se plimba pe creste inzapezite ce converseaza cu nori albi care se aduna la sfat pe un albastru marin. Si asa urc pe creasta ce porneste din spatele cabanei si uit de junghiurile din picioare. Marcajul coboara in caldare asa ca eu renunt la el si ma catar pe stanci pana sus, la granita cu cerul. Se vede pana hat departe, o explozie de stanca, alb si verde crud, la o privire mai atenta parca se vad si cutiile cu ciochi:) Privirea-mi zboara peste creste, paduri si lacuri urmand cerul deschis. Libertate.
N-as mai pleca, dar totusi trenul de 22 e ultimul. Asa ca e timpul sa-mi iau zborul, dar motoarele-mi sunt gripate de ieri ceea ce-mi transforma zborul in picaj. Merg de genul pasul, junghiul si poza, cu greu ma desprind de inaltimi si aleg o poteca ce coboara spre Reintal. Ma delectez cu cateva lanturi si ganduri ciocolatii, un canion cu cascade gigantice de-a lungul caruia merg imi insoteste sonor coborarea. Cat de salbatice sunt stancile, pereti razvratiti blocheaza ascensiunea spre creasta. In caldarile astea asa bine ingradite poti face tratament contra grandomaniei. Ce usor si elegant te poate pune natura la locul tau. Ar trebui organizate terapii de grup aici:)
Pe vale la vale, gresesc alegand poteca spre Partnachalm de dragul de-a nu merge pe acelasi drum si groaza de portiunea asfaltata pana la Skistadion. E drum de bicicleta ce strabate versantul pe partea cealalta a vaii permitandu-mi sa-mi iau la revedere de la peretii pe care m-am plimbat azi. Timpii am impresia ca au fost calculati tot de unii cu bicicleta, dupa formula: timp mers = timp mers cu bicicleta + 15 minute. Iar pe ultima jumatate de ora si pe coborare e asfalt! Nu mai conteaza, ca oricum picioarele nu le mai bag in seama, la fel cum ma vor ignora si ele pe mine urmatoarele 3-4 zile. Dar stiu cum le voi convinge sa ma asculte din nou. Traiasca ciocolata!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

It takes more strength to get down safely than to reach the peak - Zugspitze

Zugspitze: 3-4/02/2007
Photo gallery

So, here I go again. I felt it coming, I couldn't sleep the last week, I sensed it in the air and finally, I got on the train and went there. I knew the weather won't be great on Saturday, so leaving from Garmish up the Partnachklamm and Reintal valley, I was not surprised by the fog that surrounded me, entered my thoughts and was assaulting the borders of my soul. How peacefull it was, just walking in the no man's land, with only the fog and the silence as companions(well, almost silence since the whistle in my ears is there to stay). I was blessing the walkers in front of me for the footsteps, as there are no signs to mark the path during winter time. Although one should follow the Reintal valley, the path goes on an upper slope on the right side of the valley, so as to be able to pass safely a gorgeous waterfall. Just as I got near the waterfall, the blanket of fog was raised for a few moments and I felt like an ant, looking at the big walls in front of me. The sky stayed clear for 10 minutes, just enough for me to take in the scenery, and then the fog restarted its incessant atack. I reached the Reintalangerhutte at around 16 o'clock and decided to follow the tracks up the valley, hoping they lead to the Knorhutte where I was keen on going. After half an hour of going up and down the bushes, I realised the people in front of me had no idea where the path was. Luckily, I met the three musketeers who had boldly and kindly opened the way for me up to that point, and they gave me some very useful tips regarding the path (or better said, where it should be). So, I started the quest for the path, very carefully as not to end up hanging on some stones. The fog was not helpful at all, and I was already thinking of going back, but fortunately I followed the footsteps of a black goat which led me exactly to where the path entered the bushes, safely climbing through the stone walls, following a valley. I climbed trying to stay as close to the path as possible, stopping often to catch my breath and the next red point, which was my guide up the valley. My luck the snow wasn't deep and I could advance with an acceptable effort. I knew I had to gain 700meters in altitude, and that in summer it's a 2 hours climb to the hut. However, I had no idea where the hut was, and how steep the climb was. The evening was settling in, and I hoped the fog will give up. There was a not so friendly traverse in front of me, and I could see traces of avalanches, something that did not make me feel comfortable. A narrow valley formed a perfect wind tunnel, which had the advantage of a clear view, because the fog wasn't too dense there. I decided I was only climbing to the top of that valley, and if I didn't see the hut, I'd go back. This negotiation sounded so familiar to me, like another climb in Turkey, but now I was reassured because of the cup of warm tea waiting for me at the Reintalangerhutte in case I didn't make it to the Knorhutte. The dark was conquering the mountain, and, climbing on the slope to the right, I hoped that the fog would finally go to sleep and leave the mountain to itself and my crazy attempt. And for some minutes, the fog went down to the valley, and I was standing there, stricken by the view of the open starly sky and the white peaks coming out of the clouds just to say good night. The photographer in me did not resist the temptation, and there I was, having no idea where I was and where I would sleep, playing with the manual settings of my camera and taking pictures. Well, that's me:) Unfortunately, the fog was in a comeback mood and some snowflakes were helping it; I reached some stones and the path(or whatever it was, I knew I wasn't on the path anylonger) was getting trickier. I was going up and down trying to figure out where the path was, and then I was forced to decide between sleeping outside and going back. I decided to go back, and I did, following my own footsteps, although the path seemed to go on forever. I was tired and fell a few times, but I was not afraid because I knew I made the right choice. Funny, I was trying to perserve the footsteps so that I could climb easier the next day.

I reached the Reintalangerhutte and my gardian angels served me a warm tea and a bed. They said that one truth that should always stay with you, if you want to survive, and that is: It takes more power to get down safely, than it takes to reach the top. We chat a bit, just enough for them to tell me I was a little silly going there on my own, so late and on such a weather. Well, yes. And I was going back the next day.

The morning came, beautiful and so clear as if trying to make up for the bad weather from Saturday. I climbed following my footsteps and wondering what a courage one has when one does not see where one's going. I couldn't explain to myself how I made it the other evening, because there were some passages I would not have passed now, seeing them, if I hadn't had my footsteps from the other day. As expected, I reached the point of my return just to realise it was 15 minutes away from the hut. Still, going back was the best decision. The mountain was still, I could see far away, the sky crystal clear and no wind. I could see the skiers and the Sonnplatz, and I decided I will climb even if that meant I would be forced to take the cable car down. Every step was a struggle, I was tired and climbed slowly. The snow was good, it wasn't very deep, just about 30 cm. From time to time I had to pay attention to the frozen slopes, because I wasn't so hurried as to fly down.

Every step of the way was a small victory, I was wondering why I was doing that. The scenery in front of me gave me all the answers I needed, and I knew it was much more than a climb, it was all about the inner strength inside of you that pushes you forward. Some call it will, I only call it a way of living. My way of living.

I was getting closer to the "civilisation", and already meeting the skiers. Some of them encouraged and congratulated me. "Wie war das?" What could I answer?Difficult, exausting, dangerous, crazy and so, so wonderful.

4 hours. It was hard to believe I actually made it. There were another 400meters to climb to Zugspitze, but I didn't want to risk it. I didn't have the time(in the condition I was, I needed 2 hours) because I had to catch the train back to Stuttgart, and the deeper truth was, I didn't like that place. It was too noisy, there were way too many people and I was starting to feel anxious to get away from it. So, cable car to Zugspitze, a walk on the terasse overlooking the Alps, and again, my luck of not taking my chances up the last 400 meters: the path wasn't visible and the last part had some nasty fixed ropes on it. I did not go on the top though, because I felt I did not deserve it: I will only climb there when I'll climb the whole way up, including the last 400meters.

Ok, it was down to Ehrwald, a nice, pleasant walk to Ehrwald railway station through the woods, whistling happily. That felt extraordinary. I was happy.

E mai greu sa cobori cu bine decat sa atingi varful - Zugspitze

Zugspitze: 3-4/02/2007
Photo gallery

Ce greu vin cuvintele, parca nu e locul lor aici. Pun supa pe foc, dau cu carnea de toti peretii s-o dezghet...parca nu e locul meu aici. Bine, da in foc, mama Doamne, ce ceata! Ce ceata ma-nconjoara, e atat de liniste, merg de vreo 2 ore pe valea Reintal, noroc cu predecesorii mei care au batut poteca, caci nu exista marcaj de iarna. Zapada nu e mare, ma tin de firul vaii si merg, merg fara sa stiu unde si pe unde. Pt un moment muntii isi dau valul la o parte si raman gura casca: ma simt cat o furnica in fata peretilor de stanca printre care merg.

Of, logic, nu am taitei! Nu conteaza, merge si supica cu orez. Evident imprastii boabele pe masa - o ploaie de polistiren. O ploaie de polistiren se scutura din jnepeni, pare-se ca nici cei din fata mea nu stiu drumul spre Knorhutte. Am lasat in urma Reitalangerhutte, si continui sa ma tin de urme, caci n-am nici cea mai vaga idee unde sunt. Se ridica ceata si ma gasesc intr-o caldare, cararea clar nu e aici pt ca in fata mea e perete. Cobor in caldare si ii intalnesc pe cei trei muschetari deschizatori de drum; cararea e prin dreapta, nu trebuie sa urci mai sus de pomul fara frunze si trebuie sa tii stanca in partea stanga. Ok, vom vedea dc reusesc - se pare ca de aici sunt pionier. "There's a fire and a warm tea waiting for you in Reintalangerhutte!" Bine, ma voi intoarce dc ma prinde noaptea.

Ceata revine, si bajbai prin caldare; ma gandesc ca e nebunie ce fac si ar trebui sa ma intorc. Ma tin de urmele unei capre negre si ajung la un punct rosu - marcajul spre Knorhutte. Mi se pare ca soarta imi surade, si pornesc in sus, printre stanci si jnepeni. Zapada e mica(30cm) si inaintez fara graba, incercand sa ma tin de urmele capritei care ma duc pe poteca. Incepe sa se lase seara, poteca pare ca urmeaza o vale adanca si ingusta intre 2 pereti de stanca, ajung la ceea ce pare a fi o traversare neprietenoasa si ma infiorez cand dau cu picioarele de urme de avalansa. Ceata e stapana,imi intra-n ochi, in haine si in suflet, si nu vad la mai mult de 5 metri. Ajung la o palnie si aici vantul imprastie ceata cat sa vad la 50 metri in fata. E un peisaj fantastic, pare ca drumul se inchide si ma astept ca si in spatele meu stancile sa se inchida, si sa raman in inima muntelui. Instinctul ma urca in partea dreapta, o decizie buna caci la 100 de metri dau peste marcaj. Ca pentru a-mi spune noapte buna, varfurile se dezbraca de ceata si am deasupra mea un cer instelat, si sub mine o patura de ceata. Sunt sus, nu cred ca mai e mult pana la Knorhutte, si ma simt in tara minunilor - e atat de frumos incat incerc sa captez momentul pt nepoti:) In timp ce ma joc cu aparatul incercand sa-l fixez, ceata isi reia asaltul si incepe sa fulguie. Din pacate, pierd si poteca si nu pot sa-mi dau seama pe unde ar trebui sa merg, e atat de deasa ceata ca si cu frotala vad doar la jumate de metru in fata. La un moment dat realizez ca sunt undeva deasupra stancilor, nu pot continua asa si decid sa ma intorc.

E noapte de-a binelea, dar fulguie linistit si muntele e calm, ma simt bine, cobor cu atentie urmarindu-mi propriile urme. Nu regret, a fost o decizie buna sa ma intorc, desi asta inseamna ca maine n-o sa am timp sa urc pe varf. Ce lunga-mi pare calea, oare cat o fi ora? Merg fredonand o melodie, mai cad caci sunt obosita, si intr-un final, ajung. Cei trei ma intampina cu bucurie, erau ingrijorati pt ca nu stiau ce e cu mine si mai ales pt ca sus la Knorhutte camera de iarna e greu de gasit si in plus nu are ferestre. Grozav. Mi se spune ca nu am sanse sa ajung pe varf, sunt 3 ore pana la Knorhutte si inca vreo 6 pana sus, dar asta in cazul in care ai rachete de zapada.

Mda, mancarea mea incepe sa ia o forma oarecare(dar exclus cea de supa),si ma delectez cu un ceai fierbinte. Ma delectez cu un ceai fierbinte dar ard de nerabdare sa pornesc la drum: e soare si un cer superb, nici urma de nor. E 8, pornesc si urmele de cu seara ma ajuta sa inaintez lejer. Ajung la urmele de avalansa si ma gandesc, aici intr-adevar e sinucidere curata cand zapada e mare si pusa pe mers la vale. Nu-mi vine sa cred pe unde am trecut: se pare ca atunci cand nu vezi, ai mai mult curaj:) Caprita mea salvatoare apare pe un varf de stanca sa ma salute - ii multumesc si imi iau micul dejun in punctul de unde m-am intors ieri seara. Vad acum foarte clar partiile si chiar si platoul de sub varf, sunt o multime de schiori acolo. Aici sunt numai eu, urc si in 15 minute sunt la Knorhutte. Totusi, sunt sigura ca decizia de a ma intoarce a fost buna.

E atat de frumos, varfuri albe se astern la picioarele mele, si nu-mi vine sa cobor. Asa ca urc. Si urc printre troiene de zapada, stanci, cornise, mai ma opresc sa beau zapada si apoi iarasi urc, ma odihnesc proptindu-ma in bete, si apoi iarasi urc. Nu simt oboseala, nici efort, totul decurge de la sine, e o legatura invizibila intre mine si munte. E locul meu aici.

Hmmm, cred ca a iesit totusi un pilaf cu pui, e bine si asa, ba chiar arata frumos atat de alb. Arata frumos atat de alb si de imaculat, sunt parca la granita dintre 2 lumi. Las in urma lumea tacuta si misterioasa, cu pasiuni nerostite si cu izvorul ei de forta interioara, lumea in care sunt singura calatoare. Ciudat, tot mi-e dor de muntii de acasa. Intalnesc deja cativa schiori ce ma intampina cu incurajari si admiratie. Mai o ora si ajung la civilizatie. Nu ma simt in largul meu aici, mai am vreo 400 de metri de urcat pana pe Zugspitze, ceea ce mi-ar lua vreo 2 ore. Dar vreau sa plec cat mai repede de aici: sunt mult prea multi oameni urcati cu telecabina sa schieze.

Nu urc pe varf, voi urca alta data. Cobor, si aleg sa merg pe jos la gara din Ehrwald, strabatand padurea fluierand. Sunt fericita.