One of my favorite parts of traveling through the European Alps is the people along the way. Above and to the right are images of a great school group from Bologna, Italy hiking in the Dolomite Alps. Many were wearing cotton sweatshirts and tennis shoes. Look at those smiles!
This fellow I met in the Parc du Queyras in France. He told me he was 80 years old and had hiked this region most of his life, returning yearly.
My friend Christian I met near Digne, France almost 20 years ago. He was instrumental in helping me set up my Parc du Queyras tour in France. Below we’re hiking just over the Italian border. He has now become an excellent photography after watching me indulge in photographing everything in sight!
This fellow had to show me his Italian/American t-shirt when he found out I was from the US!Hiking through rifugios reached only by foot, dinners become more intimate and conversations around the table more animated. Various languages are shared and interpreted. Lifelong friends are made. Here’s Stefano from Torino, Italy who I met in a little rifugio tucked away in the Italian Alps near Mon Viso. He has assisted me with both private and small group tours for years now and guides our Italian castle and wine tasting day. Our family run mountain hotels or pensions offer up a glimpse into the lives of these hard working couples and families who host us year after year. It’s almost like coming home to relatives! Below is the lovely family who run our base hotel on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Notice the three generations going back to horse and buggy tours!
Tucked into the edge of the Parc du Queyras we watched an old ruined stone farm house be rebuilt upon each return to this region. Much of the gorgeous valley along the Franco-Italian border had been bombed out during WWII. The rest was devastated with avalanches. After several years a beautiful new pension appeared run by Laurant and Geraldine. They now have a three year old son who happily entertains the guests! Giacomo has owned and run this very colorful Italian rifugio summers and winters (it’s located on a ski slope as well as a hiking route). It’s know for it’s great cuisine, ambiance and fun atmosphere. Our beautiful family run hotel in Cortina Italy brings in a lively group from Calabria in southern Italy. The guys are lots of fun and help us with our Italian and soon know everyone’s favorite happy hour drink and how they like their morning coffee!