We visit them from December to Easter and from June to August. In the meantime, mountain villages slip out of the back of our minds, into a limbo where we rarely, if ever, venture. What happens up there, when we’re not interested in going there, has always fascinated me.
Gaby, in the Lys Valley, is one of such places, even though the majority of tourists visiting prefer to drive further on, to the end of the valley, to places such as Gressoney. We visited on a Sunday, the warm sun sparkling the remnants of the winter snow on the higher peaks, and found a small hamlet where the majority of houses had indeed been closed, but still very much alive. Kids played in the playground outside the school, older folks starting the first round of cards accompanied by small glasses of white wine, roosters chanting hysterically throughout the afternoon. Tourists weren’t anywhere to be seen and, frankly, it felt good.
On the lookout.
The hotel Mologna, shut down as it is low season.
Waterfalls fed by the melting snows.
This is a common feature of Alpine villages throughout the Italian Alps, a monument to the fallen soldiers. Alpine troops were heavily used in WWI and in WW2, so these hamlets paid an incredible price in dead and missing young men.