On to San Candido

20 January, 2019 – 12:44 pm

We were given a day off on Sat 12th and a ski-lift pass to go up into the mountains in San Vigilio. What an opportunity to be able go up higher into the mountains. I’m not a skier and decided to stay at the mountain cafe at 1805m. I sat and did some sketching and watched the world go by.
Ed, my partner, Ollie, my team captain and Florian one of the German team members carried on up to the highest part. My other team mate Tom had gone sledging with the rest of the German team. 
Sadly we still needed to pack so we decided to go back to our appartment. The village of San Vigilio is so beautiful, with the timber houses, ornately carved balconies and frescoes. The barn we passed on the way back, just down from where we were staying had some beautiful graffiti and a fresco on the bay window. This building was about 300yrs old. This photo of me is from our balcony.

On the Sunday we were driven through the mountains on twisty windy roads, I’m pretty sure the taxi driver thought he was a racing driver. The views were incredible and although I took plenty of photos the windows were covered in salty spots and my photos weren’t that clear. The roads were lined with pine trees and snow covered houses. There were a number on timber yards with rows and rows of cut pine. The rivers were low with large rocks in the river beds-I’m sure during the thaw they run rapid and full.

As we descended into San Candido, two beautiful towers rose up out of the town square, one a 12/13th century Romanesque Church, The Colegiate of San Candido and the other San Michele parish church-once a Romanesque style but restored to the Baroque style. This was where we got dropped off and took a short walk to the Sports Hotel-our home for the rest of our stay. We were welcomed and thoroughly looked after in this amazing hotel. The food was magnificent, breakfast of ham, boiled eggs and fresh bread, lunch of soup and pasta and dinner, salad followed by soup followed by fish followed by desert. We did not go hungry and there was an opportunity to swim after our busy day of carving and before dinner.

We were given ski passes once more but I wanted to take the opportunity to explore the Churchyard and town a little. We had arrived on Sunday so naturally everything was closed. 
The Collegiate Church was beautiful and it had some beautiful carvings and frescoes on the walls around the Graveyard. Many memorials were sculpted in metal but there were some marble and sandstone carvings.

Before dinner we were invited down to the square to meet the rest of the teams, have some mulled wine and draw lots for our blocks. It was really snowing hard and by morning there was 4 inches on the ground.

After dinner on Sunday evening, we thrashed out our design making sure we had scale drawings of all sides so that when it came to carving we could mark up the snow. This was a particularly complicated design and we needed to give ourselves as much information as possible if we stood any chance of carving it in just 3 days.

Our blocks of snow were 3m cubed and thankfully a short walk from from our hotel. We were able to take a break in the nearest cafe to warm up and have a coffee during our carving days. This gave us a brief respite from the cold and extreme carving. On the first day, Monday it snowed most of the day, thankfully I had a change of clothes. Temp hovered around 0.

On Monday evening we were invited to the Dolomite Museum, owned and run by Mikhail Wachtler who had discovered many fossils and even a large deposit of gold. He gave us a private tour and then we had a Grappa tasting. 
Obviously we were tired after our first day of carving-arguably the hardest day as all the roughing out needs to be done. So after a jolly evening and in awe of the magnificent geology it was time for bed.

On Tuesday, after finishing my setting out and roughing out between Dumb and Blind and Dumb and Deaf, I started my stint in the middle of the 3 Wise Monkeys. My task was to carve the faces and chop down the middle. After Lunch Ollie jumped up and used an amazing implement to cut snow away quickly. Pretty soon we were forming the Chimpanzee’s bodies and undercutting to allow the snow to be moved out of the middle more efficiently. 

At the end of day 2 there was a hole under the arms of Blind and Deaf that I would be able to climb through. After having spent all day Tuesday in the middle and Weds morning carving and chopping, hacking and shaping the monkeys faces and hands were really beginning to take shape. The temp hovered around -6.

After morning coffee of day 3, I started to work on the feet of Dumb, who was the monkey at the back, although I had made a sketch it needed a little bit of amending in reality to fit with the shapes of the monkeys legs and bodies. I created forced perspective to give the illusion of size. Temp hovered around -4

We managed to finish on schedule and at 6pm which gave us all time to relax before the prize giving ceremony.
This was held in our hotel which was even better as we didn’t need to get wrapped up to go out.
Once again the hotel did us proud with a delicious dinner and wine, it was great to socialise with all the teams. We were all given a participants certificate, (unfortunately mine got a bit scrunched up) and a pair of toastie warm felt slippers made locally.
The best was yet to come. My design for San Vigilio, ‘The Fate of the World’ was announced 3rd place, oh my goodness, how exciting, after all the hard work we had put in. There was only one certificate and Ollie was kind enough to give it to me as it had been my design, we were all awarded a soft toy as our prize also produced locally. Once all the winners had been announced they moved onto San Candido and joy of joys we had been awarded 3rd place in San Candido as well, this was Ollie’s design-inspired by the 3 wise monkeys. We were given a flask and cup set as our prize.

We had to come back to reality though as our train was leaving San Candido at 06.20 the following morning and we needed to pack.

Our journey home was so beautiful, we changed at Fortezza again, there was very little snow but as we crossed the border into Austria there was all the snow. Travelling back through the Alps until we finally arrived in Innsbruck for our flight home.

What an incredible experience, what an adventure. Exhausting and exhilarating, scary and exciting. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and yes I was terrified but that is no excuse for not trying and look we came 3rd…twice.

I am looking forward to submitting my application for next years competition.





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