It had become a bit cloudy and gloomy as we drove north up the narrow canyon of the Cordevole River towards the mountain town of Agordo. We turned up a narrow side street and up an open slope to the modern alpine building that housed Graham and Meg's flat. Meg and Graham were waiting on the terrace above.
As a bit of background, Graham Fletcher is the author of the most popular english-language guidebook regarding via ferrata climbing (Via Ferratas of the Italian Dolomites
), and after discovering that Graham regularly posts helpful messages on my own via ferrata page's
forums, we became friends.
At the Fletcher household the first order of business, I have discovered, is a round of drinks. Meg and Graham soon had everyone's glasses filled with all manner of drinks: wine, prosecco, gin and tonic, you name it! Much like two years before
, we stood out on the long balcony, chatting and admiring the view of the Agordine Valley and the towering peaks all around. Graham and Meg looked as sporty and fit as ever, wearing nearly matching outfits of well-fitted high-tech outdoor clothing. They looked ready to head off to adventure!
We were planning to stay at a nearby hotel called the Albergo Edora. For some strange reason, there was no answer when we tried to call. Asmir and I then decided to walk down, and found the Albergo strangely silent and dark. We were then informed by a gentlemen from a nearby house that the Albergo was closed due to change of ownership. Well, no staying there, then! Upon our return, Graham and Meg graciously offered to host us in their flat instead, and for that I again now thank them profusely.
After a few rounds (many rounds, actually) of drinks, we walked down into Agordo's center and had dinner at a popular pizzeria, where I tried Graham's recommendation of their porchetta pizza. I unfortunately telegraphed my intent to pay for everyone's dinner (the very least I could do, I thought), to which Graham responded by cleverly managing to sneak around to the cash before me and pick up the tab. Graham and Meg -- you are too kind!!
After much more conversation and a pleasant walk around town and back to the flat, we retired for the evening.
Our visit with the Fletchers was short -- we were off the next morning to someplace in the Dolomites to the north, where we'd introduce via ferrata-ing to Asmir and Miriam.