Winter in the Dolomites | 12-180218

Childlike Excitement. One of my absolute favourite activities in the world is skiing. I am grateful for the snow-covered mountains and for the ability to experience them. Few things are as exciting, as stimulating, as soothing as gliding down a perfectly prepared or powdered slope – surrounded by glittery white snow, snow-covered evergreen trees and happy vibes from fellow skiers. The beauty, the clean air, the adrenaline, the wonderful paradox of feeling completely physically exhausted and invigorated! If the sky is clear and my family is there as well – bonus. That’s how it always is and has been at Alpe di Siusi, where we’re headed this weekend. It has been three years since I last went skiing, however, as there are other favourite activities to balance as well, such as moving to Singapore two years ago. The fact that I’m travelling to the Dolomites from the tropics only adds to the magic, though, haha. All week leading up to the holiday, I’m as excited as I was 21 years ago, when my family and I first discovered the splendour of the largest high-altitude alpine meadow in Europe. There are so many wonderful ski resorts around the globe – I’ve been to a fair amount and am eager to explore more, such as some of the ones located a train-ride away from Tokyo. Yet, with its serene tranquility, winter fairytale beauty and südtiroler Gemütlichkeit, not to mention all of the many seasons’ worth of happy, fun memories stored in every piste and Hütte gracing the meadow, Alpe di Siusi has a special place in my heart. I’ll always want to return for the peace of mind and the thrill of it. Good to be going there now – with my favourite people, one of whom, S, is experiencing the place as well as skiing for the first time ever. Well, and he has been working on 4 different continents within the past month, while the 3 others, my parents and brother, are usually half the world away from me. The icing on the cake is my newly reconstructed acl and repaired meniscus – and feeling completely confident that I can ski safely with them. We’ve been to the nature reserve Seiser Alm maybe 15 or 16 times in total, staying at different hotel, but most often at Alpenhotel Panorama. There’s a little piece of each of our hearts stored in the soul of that hotel. Located at the top of a slope, it is only accessible via foot, mountain bike, ski lift or its own few vehicles picking up guests and supplies from the foot of the slope. Adding to its charm. Over the years, we’ve seen it undergo improvements – new charming rooms and stylish features popping up, an added spa and swimming pool in the basement with skylights, a new cosy lounge with a fireplace off the lobby, continually improved, primarily local, nourishing gourmet food and delicious wine menus. The original impeccable service, cheerful ambiance and lavender-scented cleaning products remain unchanged. Along with the little pieces of our hearts, innumerable happy family memories fill the rooms, bars, restaurants and grounds of this place. My brother and I have been kids, teenagers and college students here; my parents have been able to relax and recharge completely here; we’ve all brought our best friends at various stages of our lives along, and my grandparents came once as well, 20 years ago. We even experienced the place in summer once, when everything I was green and fragrant and I read and felt like Heidi. This time around, it’s just the five of us going. We will have time to really talk, laugh, have fun, relax, be active. Sanoop is in Miami all week and will fly into Munich on Friday, where he will stay with a good German friend of mine (we used to live together in Shoreditch) and her boyfriend. Saturday morning, I’ll then touch there and have time for a quick cup of coffee with them, pad my friend on her pregnant belly and give her a packet of cute baby clothes, before S and I are catching a train to Innsbruch, to where my dad drive from his office in Erfurt and my mum will fly from Denmark. My brother will be joining on Sunday. 💙❄️ All of this runs through my head on Monday morning, when I, after an early barre class and a busy morning at the office, eat my lunch while checking the gorgeous weather report on dolomitisuperski.com. It suddenly occurs to me that we are going this week. That powerful combination of looking forward to something you know and love so much – and then those new aspects and combinations added as well!! I’ve booked private ski lessons for Sanoop and am so excited/curious/slightly anxious to discover what he’ll make of it. I am pretty sure he will be good, seeing as he is generally very positive, patience and physical as well as mentally well-balanced, haha. But you never know – skiing is tough in the beginning, especially when you learn as an adult. Either way, it will be blissful just to be in the mountains; I know he’ll like that. I CANNOT WAIT. YES, I CAN WAIT. It’s funny with these things – I feel so lucky and priviliged to be able to do what I love most in the world, with the people I love most in the world. (So much so that I am nervous something bad will happen to prevent the trip from happening.)

5 Days in Singapore. Leading up to the weekend, these exciting things happen:

  • New Sofa. We’re both interested in interior design and find it important to decorate our home nicely – minimalist, light, clean (‘Scandinavian,’ most of our visitors say; I just call it… our style). At the same time, however, we moved into an unfurnished home, just over a year ago, with virtually no baggage. And we don’t know for how long we will be living here. And I have a bunch of furniture in storage in Denmark. What I admire in Sanoop, or one of the things at least, haha, is his way of prioritising. Yes, we want to accumulate and waste as little as possible, but we also want to feel comfortable in our home – and not as if we’re only here temporarily. We bought a simple, decent IKEA sofa when moving in, but what we didn’t foresee was how much we both love working from the livingroom and how bad the softness of this cloud of a piece of furniture was for our backs, nor that its light fabric would get rather tired-looking from all of the sweat and dirt that human legs and arms soak up in the tropics. Mmm. I’d probably just have kept it and tried ignoring those factors, but a few weeks ago, Sanoop suggested we take a look at the nice furniture shop Castlery down by the river, and now, on Monday this week, a brand new sofa gets delivered – by a nice bunch of dudes who take the old one with them for recycling. Dark grey and perfectly hard yet comfy, it creates an entirely new, very elegant and grownup expression in our livingroom. Fits right in with the white walls and green and blue shades on cushions and paintings. I keep just looking at the vibrant arrangement for about an hour or so, haha.
  • Daily sunrise barre classes.
  • Reading about this snowboarder dragon.
  • Pick up yummy food from Dosirak at the beautiful mall, Downtown Gallery, and eat it while sitting in a park in Tanjong Pagar in glorious golden hour light.
  • Meander through Chinatown, which is so lively these New Year days, full of colourful stalls selling ornamental plastic, metal and fabric dogs in all shades and sizes.
  • My Valentine. Yes, Valentine’s Day is SUCH a cheesy American and overly commercial concept, and way too much, and blah, blah, blah… Waking up on the 14th, I send Sanoop a photo of a hyacinth, which he bought at the flower market last Sunday, along with this message, ‘Thank you and us for not needing any particular day to remind us to celebrate love – it’s there, full of flowers, support, fun, adventures, listening and lovely words, every single day… but I still thought I’d be conventional enough to say it😂,’ as well as links to this, this, this (his favourite Danish song) and this.
  • On the evening of Valentine’s Day, I head over to 1880 to meet a Danish girlfriend for a panel discussion of ‘Love in the Time of Technology’ – about the effect of dating apps. We never get to join, however, as we’re too busy having a good time in the bar, sharing delicious tapas and wine, talking, laughing. Ahh.
  • Coffee with a new friend I met at Creative Mornings last Friday.

Midnight Flight. Sleeping pill (semi-effective), sleep mask, ear plugs, plenty of water, comfy window seat.

München. Spotting softly falling snowflakes through the windows of the train taking me from the airport to the central station, where Sanoop and my friend are waiting for me at a coffee shop. they went for a real Bavarian dinner last night, and now they are here, smiling and hugging me. Such a nice welcome! We chat … I buy a pile of holiday reads (German Vogue and Elle, the German version of the Dutch magazine Flow, Deutsch Perfekt, Süddeutscher Zeitung)…. Hug my friend goodbye. And then Sanoop and I board the train to Austria. So romantic, sitting there in a restaurant compartment, drinking coffee and eating thin sandwiches, glancing out at the snow-covered landscape; it’s the first time that Sanoop has seen this much snow…. well, he grew up in New Jersey and has seen snow before, but only snow that they tried to get rid of… in the yard and driveway… here, it’s beautiful. In Innsbruck, my super excited parents pick us up, and the four of us head south, crossing the Brenner Pass to Italy, passing small wooden villages and castles perched high on mountain tips. Finally, we begin ascending the mountain, three of us feeling the usual thrilling anticipation of that experience spreading through our bodies, and S unable to do anything but smile and feel the excitement as well, haha.

Seiser Alm. Sometimes, coming back to something you love can be just as amazing and enchanted as you imagine. The narrow hairpin turns of the steep mountain roads, the deep snow and Christmas trees framing the roads, making out the different well-known slopes and hotels, stopping in front of the small strip of shops to rent skis and boots, such a novel thing for Sanoop, gradually introducing him to this concept that I love… something that continues all weekend. The hotel, the room, coming down to the fireplace in the lobby, all four of us freshly showered and dressed up, cosy dining room, delicious dinner, a glass of prosecco, a good bottle of red wine. Sunday morning: blood oranges, orange egg yolks and caraway bread. Taking Sanoop to his first private ski lesson, wishing him well, and heading off to ski with my dad (apart from chatting together over red wine, this is our best kind of quality time!). Lunch with Sanoop and my mum back at the hotel (she doesn’t ski). Skiing alone all afternoon. Sauna, steam bath and swimming in the pool with Sanoop, while hearing about his first impressions of having two narrow boards tied to his feet while trying to distribute his weight optimally on a hill covered in deep snow… impressions, which are primarily really positive, haha: he has no idea what he’s doing, he says, but it’s fun, and his teacher is great. He fell a lot, but didn’t hurt himself and got up quickly again. So far, so good. I don’t know which of us is more relieved… I really hope he likes skiing; if not, though, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in the mountains. Lovely dinner, with the obligatory great bottle of wine, with Sanoop and my mum, while my dad picks up my brother from the airport. When they turn up, we all play a few rounds of our favourite family board game, Rummikup, in the lobby and head off to bed.

The speed of this weekend tells me that the week ahead is gonna fly by; I want to savour every second of it.

 

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