St. Magdalena was an adventure I wish I could have given more time to but I recall a quote that says “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened”. And that I was. If you follow my blog in any way, you know that I’m a sucker for quotes, travel and Italy. This comes in no particular order of priority and it only names a few passions. St. Magdalena happened during my 2014 Germany vacation and was initially an unplanned adventure. Sometimes these happen to pan out to be the best adventures we come across and not everything in life always requires extensive planning. I actually prefer the opposite where little planning allows for more flexibility. And so it was that out of the blue we decided to visit Italy, the Dolomites to be exact which are well known for their beautiful, wild and jagged mountain ranges. St. Magdalena was the pick (what a beautiful name) where our destination would lead us to. We had studied maps and routes, the turns to take and knew that just short of getting there, the road would curve to the right at that last, final turn, revealing the town of St. Magdalena with the Dolomites (invisible until then) hovering high above it.
The autobahn, (the German legal nascar due to its high speeds haha) makes it possible to put some distance behind you very quickly and we were at the Italian border in no time. We continued driving the Autostrada, the Italian freeway now and noticed very few exit ramps to get off. Directional signage seemed scarce too compared to what we were used to and we never saw a turn for St. Magdalena.
After finally getting off the Autostrada (for sure we had gone too far), we stopped at a gas station to get our barring back. We started to back trail by driving a country road alongside the freeway. We made our turn, hoping it would lead us to our destination, still no signage, and started to head in switchback style up the steep narrow countryside. The pasture was luscious and green, beautiful indeed but also not for the faint of heart as the road was climbing at steep angles with hair needle pin turns. Oncoming traffic would be a …..(fill in the blanks here….any word is probably fitting) and I couldn’t picture how we both could fit on this narrow road. One would have to fall off the cliff side for sure and luckily we never had to find out. The road was ever winding, still climbing, passing grazing cows that could have walked across the road at an time and we even got a little car wash driving through the sprinklers watering the countryside.
Finally we reached the top and with it we also reached a dead end that was leading to a vacation resort. I remember the intensity in my gaze, searching for that road that just had to continue beyond the resort, squinting my eyes as if I was going to bring this faint path into focus…..nothing. Absolutely nothing and it was the end of the road, the end of the line with yet another wrong turn taken somewhere. I was beginning to think that we might never find our destination. There was nobody to ask and even if there would have been, who would speak Italian to communicate? It was pretty obvious that we were on our own.
Eventually we did find the right turn and faith was restored that we would get to see that amazing sight we were seeking so eagerly. Further climbing that steep road, the cloud cover got thicker as our elevation was increasing. It looked beautiful, yet mysterious and all of a sudden there it was, that final last turn we had been waiting for. It was almost like holding our breath, eyes open wide, a moment of excitement, a moment of anticipation and a moment of suspense, all rolled into one as we came around the corner. And then there it was “NOTHING” and “Oh come on” I think we’re the exact words as we had come so far in travel and anticipation for this view that was reduced to….well pretty much nothing. Most of the dramatic peaks were covered in thick cloud cover, revealing only about half of their massive size and there was no way of knowing how much more was hiding in the puffy white.
Still, we had made it and finally found St. Magdalena despite all the detours, wrong or missed turns and at times nerve wracking, living in the edge near death experiences. And still, I wouldn’t trade it and now long after it has passed it is a memory I gladly remember and I am grateful that I got to experience it. We went to explore the town and checked out one of the the old churches overlooking the green pasture and yet another church framed by the granite massif. Slowly the clouds moved and gave little glimpses here and there by revealing more and more of the long anticipated view. We explored a few more noteworthy sights and settled on a wooden bench where we remained to watch the clouds tickle the peaks until we finally got what we came for.
The view….breathtaking and beautiful. Don’t you think it was worth it? Hope you enjoy!!! ❤️