We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
View from our balcony in the hamlet of Bulla, outside Ortesei (down there in the valley) in the Val Gardena. Before I get to talking about the Alps, though, I need to complete my Lake Garda post (maybe tomorrow). Add to this pic the tinkling of sheep bells and the bongs of the tiny local Roman Catholic Church with its burial ground in front.
Up here, German is the dominant language. Road signs are in German, Italian, and Ladin. Food a mix of German and Italian. Best veal I've ever eaten in my life, but spaetzl is something I can live without.
Serious German hikers and mountain bikers all over the mountains. A few died climbing while we were there, but risk is what adds the zest to rock climbing. We called these vigorous Germans the Hitler Youth, and the Aryan gals the Rhine Maidens. It's only a few hours south of Munich, through the Brenner Pass. Europe is small.
Up in these mountains, one can barely imagine the rigorous WW 1 winter Alpine fighting that occurred here. Mark Helprin's masterpiece (I think) included a lot of that. Read it, if you haven't. The outcome, of course, was that this part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ended up as part of Italy.