Italian Folktales ~ Day 6 (June 30, 2011), Cortina d’Ampezzo and Lagazuoi

On paper, Cortina d’Ampezzo has much to recommend it; the host of the 1956 Winter Olympics, it’s ringed by the Dolomites and is a popular jumping off point for hikers, climbers, and skiers wanting to explore the Dolomites.

Cortina d' Ampezzo

It has its charms—most especially the spectacular La Cooperative di Cortina, part department store, part bookstore, part climbing and hiking gear shop, and part luxury grocery store—but most of it is filled with large, aging hotels, charmless restaurants, and expensive boutiques. Maybe it has a different character in the winter, when it’s the home of the après-ski set.

Cortina d' Ampezzo

We spent the night of the 29th there, repacking our backpacks to prepare for our first night in the mountains, but were happy to leave our utilitarian hotel room behind the next morning for Rifugio Lagazuoi.

Lagazuoi cable car station

There are two ways up to Lagazuoi, 2752 meters up in the clouds: on foot, via the hiking trails, or by cable car.

Lagazuoi cable car - Our car arrives

We had a rainy day, and rode up through fog that obscured the breathtaking views until we arrived up top.

Lagazuoi cable car - Rock face in the rain

Lagazuoi cable car - View down the line

Lagazuoi cable car - Across the mist

There is so much to tell you about Lagazuoi: the expansive deck, Tony the dog, the cozy room for three, the friendly staff and the warming food, the bone-chilling wind, the high alpine hiking trails, the stunning views, the World War I relics, and the thunderhead that settled over the mountain across the way and flashed and glowed with lightning all night long.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Thunderhead

I could probably write about this one place for days, but I’m afraid of boring you. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Go to Cortina, stop at the co-op for chocolate, cheese, bread, and beer, then head straight for Lagazuoi and spend two nights, not one.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Tie-dyed H

H ~

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! THE DARK FIEND OF RIFUGIO LAGAZUOI!

Rifugio Lagazuoi

Welcome to the cozy mountain haven of Rifugio Lagazuoi, nestled 9000 feet up in the Italian mountains. Travelers rest there often, and the hosts and food are very nice. But is something more sinister living there as well? This reporter certainly thinks so! On a rocky ledge overlooking the treacherous slopes, mysterious items have been found. A cave stands there; a fun little hiding place from the ripping wind or a containment place for a terrible beast? Here in this column we will examine the evidence.

1. The location.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Outlook

This small outlook hosts the cave (and whatever lives there!) . It is far away enough from the hut to be safe, but close enough that, given four or five minutes, a vicious bloodthirsty egg-eating demon-creature could get to the hut easily. However, the “Dark Fiend” (as we shall call it) can be corralled easily, given that it sits right on the edge of the cliff. And are those blood-stains near the top?

2. The cave.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Scary cave

This is the cave in which the Dark Fiend presumably lives. It’s very dark and may be more spacious than we realize. From the pictures you will be seeing very soon, the feeding place for the Dark Fiend is right atop it.

3. The bones.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Bones

The image above shows a pile of gray rocks which, upon closer inspection, reveal pearly-white bones. This suggests that the Dark Fiend is a carnivore.

4. The eggshells.

Rifugio Lagazuoi - Spoon & egg shells

This picture perhaps renders up the most information of all. It tells us that the Dark Fiend loves eggs. It tells us that it must have opposable thumbs, as it uses a spoon to eat the eggs.

Now, let’s go over the facts:

It lives a short distance away from the hut.
It lives inside a large, dark cave.
It eats some type of animal.
It eats eggs with a spoon, so…
It may have opposable thumbs.

Add a comment and tell us what you think THE DARK FIEND is!!!!!!

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