We are Ladins

Everything you should know about Ladin people.

The situation hasn’t changed at all since last year. Even today, as a year ago, we are locked in the house, or almost. For months the main topic has been one: Coronavirus.
Isn’t that boring? There are still so many things one could speak about. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today: we’re going to tell you a little bit about what we, Ladins, are made of, about our habits, our vices and flaws, our customs and our language.

Does it sound good to you? Well, here we go!

Let’s start by telling you how and where this language comes from, yes you read that right, it is a language and not a dialect. We Ladins are really proud of it, and we almost offend ourselves if you call it a dialect. 😉

Ladin is a Rhaeto-Roman language, belonging to the same family as Italian, French, Spanish… It was born in the first century A.D. from the encounter between the Latin of the conquering Romans and the ancient languages spoken by the native Rhaetian and Celtic tribes. Vulgar Latin and Rhaetian language merged, et voilà, Ladin was born. The Ladin language of the past was obviously very different from how we speak it nowadays but as we all know, every spoken language is constantly evolving.
The language survived, thanks also to our position and to the limited mobility of the past. The narrow valleys, often surrounded by mountains, did not make it easy to move around, so there was no way to mix with other populations and cultures, and Ladin has solidified and maintained itself over time.

The Ladin flag

We are about 30,000 Ladins divided into 5 valleys around the Sella Group (Val Badia, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Livinallongo, Ampezzo).

Each valley has its own idioms. Sometimes words can be completely different from one valley to another. But among Ladins we understand each other. 😉
The “Grijuns” in Switzerland and the “Friulani” (from Friuli) speak Ladin as well.

Often, people ask us if we speak Ladin among ourselves. Yes, that’s right, with family and friends, at work and wherever possible we speak, think and dream in Ladin. At school it’s a bit different since we have an equal school-system, that means that half of the lessons are held in Italian and the other half in German. We only speak and learn Ladin two hours a week.

You know what Ladins enjoy most? Listening to people who think we don’t understand them and maybe even spit on us. All of a sudden we start speaking in Italian or German to make them understand that we do understand them, that’s what makes it real fun!!

But who are these Ladins really?

Well, we are quite introverted, cold, and distant people, even if we have improved over time. But generally, we are introverted and reserved, we never show too many feelings. This does not mean, however, that we are not kind, friendly, loving, and funny.
Hard workers, that’s what we are, once farmers, nowadays hut keepers, hoteliers, and whatever concerns tourism.
Growing up multilingual. We speak Ladin, Italian, German and most of us also English. You should know, however, that we do make mistakes and if you pay attention, sometimes you will notice strange words, never heard before. Well, it will be one of those “ladinized” words, because we like to mix up languages, and we often take the first word that comes in our minds! 😅
We are mountain and nature lovers, and we are proud of our homeland.

Ladin people don’t always consider themselves Italians, but certainly not out of malice, simply because we are a little different. We differ in our habits, traditions, culture and obviously in our language. We don’t even consider ourselves Austrians, simply Ladins.

Our favourite dishes are dumplings, “tutres” (fried pancakes filled with spinach or sauerkraut), “cajincì arestis” (half-moon shaped potatoes also fried and filled with spinach or poppy), “cajincì t’ega” ( half-moon shaped ravioli with spinach cooked in water).
In short, all dishes that can’t miss in our mom’s kitchens.
We obviously eat pizza and spaghetti as well. 😋
Would you like to try one of these Ladins dishes? Perfect, here you will find the video of how to make “cajincí arestis”. Try it, and let us know if you like them!
Don’t worry if something went wrong, you will have the possibility to try and learn how to cook some Ladin dishes by choosing our package “The Dolomites foodway”.

By the way, Ladins like to play cards as well, specifically “Batadù” (called “Watten” in German) but also “Mao Mao”, two South Tyrolean games that we won’t even begin to explain, otherwise we’ll never finish.

At village and farmers’ events we wear the Tyrolean dress, the so-called “Dirndl” and the “Lederhose”. For religious festivities we wear the “Tracht”, a traditional and ancient dress of great value.

At village events, it is tradition to make “crafuns”, a kind of fried bread, and since it will soon be Easter we get ready to go and collect eggs from the window of the girls for whom we have a crush. From the number of eggs that we will find in front of the window, we will know if she likes us or not. Another Ladin custom. 😊

The “Dirndl”

There are many things to tell about Ladins, but maybe you are getting bored?
How about if we tell you more during your next vacation in the Dolomites?

We are looking forward to it! 😁

Rediscovering our Home, the Dolomites

During these months of partial lockdown we ventured around the Dolomites discovering new corners and passions.

Humanity is going through quite a dark period. Who would have ever imagined in March that COVID would be with us for almost a year?

We certainly didn’t. Ladins are used to working hard. Thanks to tourism, especially winter tourism, would never have imagined that one day we would be sitting at a table celebrating Christmas and New Year Eve.
Well, this year it was just like that, and it must be said that in the midst of the tragedy of it all, we also took some pleasure. We can’t deny it.

Obviously we would have preferred to have you with us, to be able to work to earn our daily bread. Since our hands were tied, we took the opportunity and fed ourselves with positivity, because after all, you have to be optimistic and you have to strive to see a hint of light at the end of this endless tunnel. Otherwise what sense would all this have?

We would like to tell you how we at Holimites have spent these months waiting for the lifts to finally open and for the winter season to begin.

Girl with blue jacket sitting in the snow with her arms and legs in the air in the dolomites

First of all, as already mentioned, everyone had a pleasant Christmas with their families. This hadn’t happened for years, since most of us work or have family members working in the tourism sector who have never been able to take their holidays during the Christmas period. It was a simple but warm Christmas, peaceful and quiet, having lunch or dinner together. For many, it was probably the best and most desired gift.

Nature has given us a dreamy winter, with lots of snow covering our valleys and mountains in white. Lots of sunny days which have given us the opportunity to take advantage of our free time to do some snowshoeing, walking or ski touring in the Dolomites. We enjoyed our Home to the fullest as we have never done before. People rediscovered the infinite beauty of these imposing mountains spending the days outdoors, without thinking to go back to work.
We walked new paths, discovering new corners and passions.

Astrid and her husband enjoyed time with their daughters, taking them ice-skating or sledging, making a snowman and biscuits.

Marina, who loves ski touring, did not stop for a second. She took every opportunity to go for a ride, and enjoy every curve of this enchanting snow.

Girl on skis downhill on a deep snow slope in the Dolomites
Marina enjoying every single curve of this fresh powder.

Nadine rediscovered the pleasure of surfing the fresh snow on a board after a hard climb with it on her back.

Susi has taken advantage of this period to do lots of crosscountry skiing and ski touring.

Girl on skis uphill on a deep snow slope in the Dolomites
Susi surrounded by the snowy Dolomites.

We have strengthened our awareness of how lucky we are to live in this little corner of paradise. Of course, we know that many people are not that lucky. This is why we can’t wait to welcome you back to the Dolomites and let you spend some time surrounded by nature, leaving all thoughts behind.
So back in the office, concentrating ourselves on the summer season. Putting together new packages so that they can fit all mountain lovers and give you the opportunity to take a break from all the chaos.

All of us are confident and hopeful that we will soon be able to welcome you again and give you moments of lightheartedness and joy.

Because at the end of the day that is what makes us happy too –
to share our mountains with you.

Does insecurity destroy our desire to travel?

Wait a minute, we need to rephrase the question!
Because uncertainty doesn’t destroy OUR DESIRE TO TRAVEL. The desire to travel and to discover new things is bigger than ever before.

Especially in such situations of uncertainty and fear, the desire to escape from everyday life increases.

Man on the mountains looking forward to travel again
Looking forward to traveling: escape from everyday life

For this reason, the question should be:
“Do we have the courage to book our vacation in such an uncertain moment?”

Let’s make a point of the situation

As a travel agency (Holimites organizes not only active vacations in the Dolomites, but also trips around the world), we would like to take stock.
We probably don’t need to mention that the year 2020 is a very special travel year due to COVID-19.

When the COVID-19 emergency broke out at the beginning of the year, we were still convinced that it was only a short, temporary phase. But unfortunately, this “phase” was more persistent and protracted than presumed.

Summer season was just around the corner and the requests were almost non-existent during springtime. Even when people could theoretically travel again, the bookings had been a long time in coming.

It took some time until the season got rolling. But the desire to travel, finally conquered, in most of the people, the uncertainty. The Dolomites (thanks to the large open spaces and the fresh, healthy air) were literally assailed.

In autumn, as predicted, the number of new infections and the alarm level have risen.
The uncertainty of booking and committing oneself is now more present than ever before.

So many questions and doubts

A lot of questions regarding travelling

Numerous questions buzz around in our heads: how will COVID-19 develop in the future? Can I still travel at all? If so, where is it safe travel? Do I have to accept a quarantine if I want to travel? How will traveling change?

Unfortunately, also we, as a travel agency, don’t have all the answers to these questions.
But we would like to support the joy of travel, the desire for adventure, and to help silence this voice of uncertainty.

How?

You, our guests are important, so we will try to meet your needs and find an honest compromise in the event that your plans change due to COVID-19.
We want to remove at least one factor, the uncertainty of how to manage the booking:

we will not charge any penalty if COVID-19 does not allow the journey.
We will find alternatives and help you reorganize your trip.

Plan and book your vacation, and look forward to it!
In the worst-case scenario, we will help you to rebook and rethink! Professional travel agencies with a personal touch are here for this 😉

Gravel biking in the Dolomites: #YOLOmites5000 – the “fifth”

So many coincidences related to the number 5 this year:

  • 5th edition of the #YOLOmites5000
  • 5000 meters of elevation gain
  • 5th September 2020

What else is missing? Maybe the soundtrack for this gravel adventure in the Dolomites. Obviously, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is perfectly tailored to the event and to the meters of elevation gain that must be covered (ta da da daaaaaaaaaaa):

Beethoven – Symphony No. 5

The high and low sounds of this symphony express the emotions and feelings we experienced during this 125 km long tour on secondary roads in Val Badia. Our route leads us on enchanting gravel roads, through cozy mountain villages, and typical farms.

First movement: Allegro con brio

We start with “Allegro con brio” … with enthusiasm and joy! This is the right way to start every smooth group ride.
It’s quite chilly, standing outside and waiting for the start signal. Finally, the time has come: Let’s go! The adrenaline rush is a great help to manage the first climb of 20%.

#YOLOmites5000 la prima rampa in salita
100 meters after the start, the first 22% climb

“Allegro con brio” lasts about 25 km, until we reach the characteristic church of “Santa Berbura” in La Val.

Santa Berbura - La Val
“Santa Berbura” church in La Val

A holy moment: we take a deep breath and continue our musical way.

Second movement: Andante con moto

Don’t worry, no one has a motor-assisted bike! We use pure muscle-power to pedal our gravel bikes forward.
The initial “brio” slowly disappears, the “allegro” becomes “andante.” We realize that we should slow down and save energy if we want to reach the finish line.

From now on, the group is trying to keep a steady tempo, in order to get soon to the well-deserved lunch.

Canederli di spinaci
Ladin carbs … spinach dumplings

Third movement: Scherzo. Allegro

The Italian word “Scherzo” means joke! A fast-moving humorous ride starts with a 20% climb. The orchestra conductor directs the cyclists in a zig-zag rhythm, in order to create a classical music performance.

This is the moment when some of us may think about quitting and taking a shortcut. Only a quick look at the panorama around us make us think positively again and let us forget the effort. You look for your cycling friend’s support, and together you keep going.

Gravel road in the Dolomites

Fourth movement: Allegro

Someone might think that the last movement of the symphony is represented by returning to the starting place. This is not the case at the #YOLOmites5000. The “Allegro” (= cheerful) starts at the beginning of today’s last climb. By now, after conquering 4300 meters of elevation gain, no one thinks about quitting at this point. Everyone collects all his motivation and as a big orchestra, we keep going and play festive tones. Finally, we reach the top of the last hill. Even if at this stage we are all thinking: “who made me do it” and “never again”, we know, we will come back for sure.

The concert is over and we go back home with sounds and rhythms in our heads. An adventure that no one will ever forget, and who will bring us together again to cycle on the Dolomites gravel roads.

Gravel sulle Dolomiti 
#YOLOmites5000 il finale
Sunset at the Armentara meadows

Program in the concert hall:

To really FEEL the Dolomites, don’t follow the crowds

Nobody could expect what happened this year in the Dolomites. Crowds of tourists stormed to the mountains. The queues on some trails and via ferratas were infinitely long.

Just one year ago, we talked about the risk of OVER TOURISM in the Dolomites. In spring, due to COVID-19, the expression turned to TOURISM is OVER.

When we saw the pictures taken by some tourists and posted on social media, we can definitely say that the term OVER TOURISM is correct. The long queues to reach the most popular Dolomites hotspots remind us of the long lines one would encounter at Disney Land.

Questa immagine ha l'attributo alt vuoto; il nome del file è Schermata-2020-08-27-alle-15.18.36.png
The Dolomites stormed by masses of tourists

As a tour operator and promoters of “Dolomites experiences,” we must also look at ourselves and say “Mea culpa“.
At Holimites, we realized that this version of tourism doesn’t reflect our philosophy at all. After seeing and experiencing this sad reality, we decided that we will no longer propose our program “Instagrammable Dolomites“. This was the holiday package where we led you to visit most of the Dolomites and South Tyrolean hotspots. The link to the offer will still work for a while. We will leave it there as a warning in case we get the strange idea to propose something similar in future.

Our main goal is to transmit to our clients the real way to experience mountain life, and the beauty and the silence of this special landscape. The mountains are the ideal place for those who want to relax and charge the batteries 💚, without arguing over a parking space or queuing on the paths.

Questa immagine ha l'attributo alt vuoto; il nome del file è 8befdd8d-d970-4bba-8b7d-413ebaee9f60-1024x768.jpg
A special landscape in the Dolomites

The Dolomites during high season

The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.

Albert Einstein

We don’t want you to hike alone 😉. We want you to understand the advantages of entrusting the plan of your active holiday to local experts. They can show you alternative spots, and hidden pearls. These are places that you will not find in tourist guides (also written for the masses) with a walk of only 1-2 hours. We will take you to places far away from parking lots and/or ski lifts, where influencers in flip-flops, equipped with a drone and tent take the pictures, long before they would think about taking a hike.

As children, we used to go out and explore these beautiful places with our parents. Of course, we remember them, and in the meantime, we have come to learn them a second time as adults.
During high season, when the majority of the tourists visit the famous Braies Lake or climb on the most popular Via Ferratas, we retreat to places where we are sure to be alone.
In the late afternoon, the masses of people return to the valley – this is exactly the moment we like! We stay up in the mountains for the night, in one of the cozy hut 😊 Surrounded by a peaceful atmosphere, we can admire breathtaking sunsets and sunrises on the Dolomites peaks.

You won’t find remote places next to the road or at the top of a cablecar. The real mountaineers are exactly characterized in this sentiment: they don’t look for the easiest way, but for the most interesting one ⛰

The Best View Comes After the Hardest Climb

Anonymous quote

Remember that the excursions should not be organized according to the notoriety on Instagram, but by asking locals for their advice. In this way, you will find the tour best suited to your physical fitness and technical skills.

Questa immagine ha l'attributo alt vuoto; il nome del file è IMG_1005-1024x618.jpg
A hiker exploring the Dolomites, surrounded by pure nature.

Getting out of the routine and surrounding yourself by pure nature is medicine for body and soul! We from the team Holimites know this exactly. To charge our batteries, we always look for hidden paths and remote places.
Don’t worry, we will not reveal the secrets: we will keep them for ourselves, and for our special guests.