Before Cortina I'd never been to a ski town. The thought of skiing never appealed to me when I was younger but over the last year or so I've started giving the idea more thought. Despite my new found curiosity for the slopes I didn't try my foot at it this time as I was only in Cortina for a weekend break, but I now understood why skiers and non-skiers alike are so addicted to the mountains.
Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear.... is not Mary Poppin's kite. No it's more magical than that.
Riding up the side of the jagged Dolomites, the views of the town below expanded beyond the pine trees, revealing a panorama of dramatic, striking mountains.
Trails of white snaked lines trickled down each mount, the peaks of which hadn't yet been revealed through the streaks of cloud.
As we reached the top of our chosen ascent, accompanied by keen skiers in thick suits, the intensity of the clean fresh air stung like the first hit of morning light.
The sun was shining, reflecting on the white glistening snow as around us creatures in brightly coloured puffy suits slid down the mountain.
Reaching great speeds, we would freeze in fear of being pummelled into before the person in question would dramatically slide to a stop, causing a sneeze of white snow to explode around them.
Surrounding the competition are hills upon hills all leading down to the town of Cortina. Interrupted by wispy plains of cotton cloud, the peaks of the mountains can be seen from above, forests of tall pines scattered below.
It was universally peaceful. No rumbling of trains, honking of horns or grumble of crowds. No smoky city fog or grey exhausts. Just unlimited fresh clean air that filled my lungs with each deep inhalation.
Here 60 years ago, champions raced against the clock, each competing to win the gold medal of the Winter Olympics. Since then many famous skiers have returned creating historical moments on the 120km of slopes.
"The mountains are calling and I must go."
- John Muir
At the foot of the slopes, we stopped for a warm drink, both choosing a thick creamy Italian hot chocolate. With the strong rays of sun beaming down on us, we could enjoy our steaming mugs in the outdoors, enjoying the beautiful views around us.
With each sip I embraced the heat on my face and the refreshing slight breeze. The atmosphere was addictive, but sadly we couldn't stay here forever.
Instead we once again boarded the moving cable car down the slopes, desperately capturing the views of the mountain tops before we descended beneath the clouds.
The town of Cortina not only seduced me with its astonishing landscapes, but left me inspired. Perhaps I will come back again, this time wrapped in luminous layers, admiring the mountains as I fly down the snow covered slopes.