The Hitchhiker – A Kootenay Christmas Story

Angels are sent into our lives in all sorts of forms and figures and we never recognize them at the time. But after they’ve delivered their message and disappeared, the message will eventually sink in and you’ll wake up one morning and realize God has spoken.

By Lana Rodlie

 We were heading to Alberta to spend the holidays with our youngest daughter and stopped for gas in a small Kootenay town. As we pulled back onto the highway, there was a young man standing by the road with a lot of boxes and bags and his thumb stuck out. We don`t normally pick up hitchhikers, but something told me we HAD to pick up this one. Continue reading

Postcard from Austria/Italian border: beware of Route 110

Austrian Alps tram

Austria offers the most beautiful scenery. We stopped and took a tram up the mountain for a great view. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian tram 7

Little farms dot the hillsides. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian tram 10

A scene right out of Sound of Music. Lana Rodlie photo

Italy mountains

Route 110 may look like a regular road on the map; but don’t go there unless you are really accustomed to driving in Europe. Lana Rodlie photo

Austrian countryside 20

The scenery was breath-taking, if you could take your eyes off the road. Lana Rodlie photo

Italian mountains 4

This was likely the last car we saw as we ventured on towards Tolmezzo. Lana Rodlie photo

This really should be titled: If you’re not going to take my advice, don’t ask.

By Lana Rodlie

“You’ll want to take the road to Villach,” the Tyrolean attendant at the gas station told me when we stopped to fill up at Lienz near the Austrian-Italian border. The GPS in the Ford Fiasco we rented in Frankfurt was no help – it only spoke German.

“But what about this road down here through Tolmezzo?” I asked, pointing at Route 110 through Kotschach-Mauthen. It seemed shorter and closer to the place in the Province of Udine, where my cousins lived.

 “You’ll want to take the road to Villach,” the Tyrolean repeated. “My English no good and so no explain why. Just take road to Villach.”

Since we’d been through Villach on our last visit, we wanted to take a different route – different scenery.

“Oh, what the hell,” my husband said. “Let’s take this Route 110. The map says the road is paved. So how bad could it be?”

I should stop right here and point out that it was ME who insisted on asking for directions. And it was my husband’s decision not to follow the Tyrolean’s advice.

As we ventured onward and upward into the Italian Alps, the lack of other vehicles on the road should have been our first clue that the Tyrolean may have known what he was talking about. But the road seemed fine, at first. My husband had learned to drive on Norwegian roads and we’d driven over Trollstigen a number of times. Trollstigen is a treacherous piece of highway in Norway’s fjord district that hasn’t improved much since the Vikings. Continue reading