We have already become accustomed to the fact that the Alps are particularly busy at the weekend. Hiking trails where you don’t even greet anybody anymore, because otherwise you would have to say “Salve”, “Grüß Gott” or “Hallo” every 2 meters. Overcrowded refuges at lunchtime, fully booked refuges at night, where you’re turned away without a reservation. And I’m not the only one who finds this development terrible.

Interestingly, however, this is only a phenomenon in certain areas. Because they still exist, the quiet corners in the Alps, even in the “core countries” such as Italy. Best example: last weekend.

Admittedly, the weather forecast for Saturday was not very good. I wanted to spend the weekend in the Carnic Alps. I was already in the area anyway, and it was THE opportunity to do the first weekend tour of the year. The Rifugio de Gasperi was also due to open on June 1 – so off we went!

When I get off the bus in Sappada, it’s drizzling. I put on my rain gear, but it’s not really worth it. It remains unpleasant, but not wet – at least not from above. Instead, the streams and rivers are filled to the brim. Thanks to heavy rain, which has supplied the area with plenty of water and some snow the two days before.

It doesn’t take long before it seems almost impossible to continue walking: the stream, which you can usually cross quite easily with a few big steps, is deep and fast. There is no good crossing upstream or downstream. So: shoes off, wade through and enjoy a Kneipp dip ;). That’s when I realize that no more hikers are going to follow today. And this proves to be true: I make my way to Passo Oberenghe all by myself. At the top, there are still a few small snowfields on the northern slope.

The sky gradually clears as I descend the southern slope and hike towards the Rifugio. And still: not a soul in sight. The first people I meet on that day are appearing 2.5 hours later at the Rifugio de Gasperi. But apart from the team who are in the process of opening the refuge, there isn’t a soul to be seen.

When I ask, I find out that I’m the only guest tonight – a family who had booked has canceled at short notice due to the inclement weather. So I’m seated by the fire, given a huge slice of homemade cake and lots and lots of tea. Just as well, because the bedrooms are freezing cold and there is no shower (yet). The boiler is already installed – but the tubes connecting to the shower are still missing.

Dinner is plentiful, simple and good, and with a heavy heart I move away from the warm fireplace into the cold room to sleep. With 3 woolen blankets on top of each other, it does get cosy and warm eventually.

The next day: the bad weather is wiped away. Clear skies and plenty of sunshine. As some rain is forecast for later, I don’t hesitate for long and set off again. And what can I say: once again I don’t meet anyone.

Sunday, beautiful hiking weather, perfect conditions… And: nobody there. Maybe it was because of the mixed weather forecast. Or maybe it was because the area around Sappada is rather unknown – and it is also not known that German is spoken there.

P.S.: We are, so to speak, specialized in tours into the unknown…

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