Day 5 – Alta Via 1

Again under the forecast of 100% chance of rain, we headed off from Cortina d’Ampezzo after our lovely rest day. We bused it out again to the point where we left the track two days earlier and made our way back up into the mountains. It was a relatively short day and against the weather odds, it was again beautifully sunny (albeit with thunder clouds building around the peaks.
Our destination today was the oldest alpine hut in the Dolomites. A German man in the 1800’s came to Cortina to try to beat tuberculosis and after his recovery, set himself the challenge to walk up Novalau mountain. As a thank you for his recovery he decided to build a hut on the top of Novalau in 1883 as a safe place for local walkers, skiers and mountaineers and so was born Rifugio Novalau.
There is also a story that the hut was able to avoid being bombed in the war even though it was a head quarters for the Italians because it just so happened that the German pilot sent on the bombing mission was the nephew of the man who built it.
It was a funny old place with lots of hand written signs up on the walls forbidding one thing or another. We couldn’t understand the Italian of course, but we asked about one and were told that it said it is forbidden to take your clothes off in the bar! Apparently people sweating from the climb up were prone to stripping off articles of clothing and hanging them around the place to dry.
Being at the very top of a craggy mountain meant they also had no water except what is painstakingly pumped up each day, so no showers and no rinsing out of sweaty clothes! And being so old they had squat toilets. The dorm rooms were tiny. There was about 90 cm between the double bunk beds. And they were totally full. So needless to say Rod was not feeling very comfortable.
But it was a great experience and the view from there, although we were engulfed in thunder clouds at times, was probably the best so far.

20160902_081127(1) Pointing to our night's destination DSC_0005_10 DSC_0002_12 Climbers on Cinque Torres View from Novalau Nearly at Refugio Novalau Looking back across the valley to Refugio Langazoi