Dolomiti Superski. A week in my kind of paradise. This place is just pure bliss. And it’s lovely to see how it’s just improving year by year in terms of facilities, while the weather and conditions are as incredible as we recall: it’s cold enough for the snow to be perfect; sunny enough for the vibe to be glorious. Every day follows the same rhythm: We meet for a wholesome breakfast at 7:30am; I take S to the ski school for his private morning lessons, which generally go really well – he has one day of feeling frustrated and hating it, being totally unlike himself, but then we talk about it and get him calmed down with nice words (no one is expecting anything; he’s allowed to hate it; but it will be better; it’s completely natural to feel exhausted, especially as this is such foreign territory; and also, how often is it that we, as adults, learn something completely new?; sometimes it can be rewarding to push yourself a little bit; please just hang in this week, for me, for yourself, etc…) and glühwein, and by the end of the week, he’s getting the hang of it and mastering the blue and red slopes in style; my dad, brother and I ski together all morning; we all meet for lunch in the sun around 1pm; everyone does different things in the afternoon, ski, hike, lick sun, hang out in the sauna, read… I ski as much as possible, with my dad and brother or on my own. I’m so happy and relieved that my knee is strong enough for this. S spends the afternoons doing all of the other stuff listed, saving skiing for the mornings, and I am happy knowing that he is happy relaxing and hanging out in the winter wonderland – and knowing that I am happy, haha. When the ski lift closes and darkness falls, we all gather in the lobby, bar and restaurant for an evening of good food and good wine and good conversation and good shared quiet time. So hyggeligt. Because the hotel is quite isolated in its top-of-the-slope location, it’s most natural to spend the evenings here. We love that.
Nunnery in Lucca. Following my very own 21-years-long tradition, I let tears stream down my face as we leave the mountain – in perfect sunshine! – on Saturday morning. My parents and brother drive north; S and I go south. It’s not fun at all to say goodbye to them. Best thing to do in this scenario: not think at all. At least, we’re staying in Europe for a few days and not flying straight off to Asia. Ugh. Why is it that I live half the world away from my family? I do know why. I need to just focus on my breathing and gently ask any thoughts to leave my mind. Beautiful train ride down through Tuscany! In Lucca, S’s aunt picks us up at the station, giving me the world’s biggest hug and saying that she loves me: that’s literally her first words to me. As the mother superior for the daughters of Saint Francis de Sales, she lives in Rome and travels frequently to the order’s 35 communities in 10 different countries around the globe (Brazil, England, South Africa, various African countries, India, Philippines…). She has come up here to spend a few days with us at their retreat house, San Cerbone, a beautiful giant convent perched on a hill above Lucca, framed by olive groves, a vineyard, an orchard filled with rows of kiwi, orange, lemon, pear and fig trees and a wild forest. Five nuns live here, and they all welcome us just as warmly as you’d imagine. They put us up in a lovely room, cook us delicious meals and smile at us like loving aunts. Such an amazing experience! And highly recommendable as a comfort after saying goodbye to your family for a few months. On Sunday, S and I spend most of the day roaming around the beautiful, romantic walled city of Lucca. So happy with our thermo underwear! It’s freezing. We drink cappuccinos, check out stunning churches and cathedrals, enjoy a phenomenal lunch, with plenty of wine, at luxurious Restaurant Giglio, which was recommended by a local friend who knew what he was doing, climb the grassy wall and walk around it, enter a few touristy ceramics shops to buy a few nice things. Get picked up by four of the nuns in their Fiat when it’s time for dinner back at San Cerbone. What a life!