Living at Refuge Telegrafo G.Barana on Mount Baldo
What does it mean organizing tourists reception in the mountains? What does "mountain" mean and how is life up there?
I talk about this with Alessandro Tenca, Nature and walking guide of Equipe Natura, passionate of the mountains and especially of Mount Baldo.
How long have you been running the refuge and why did you make this choice?
I have run the refuge since June 2013. I have always wanted to do something inside my territory and for my territory. Then I had this opportunity and I threw myself headlong in it.
Introduce the refuge and the people living there.
Telegrafo is the highest refuge on Mount Baldo.
It's a Refuge with a capital R, with no electric current, water obtained from the roof area, supplies carried by cableway. Even people working here need to walk to get close.Here everything is more complicated... but it is a fantastic place, a totally Alpine dimension, surrounded by icy cirques and mountain sides, with breath taking views and suggestive sunsets that give meaning to the days spent up here. These aspects fascinate and push all those who love this place to come and stay here, including people working at the refuge!
What does it mean running a refuge at 2200 m of altitude? Is it a hard life?
Running an Alpine refuge, whatever the altitude, means working a lot in every moment of the day to offer the best reception to the guests who have walked for hours with their back pack on their shoulders to reach the Refuge.
I can tell if this job suits you from how you welcome the guests, what you offer for lunch or dinner or how you talk about a path you want to suggest to them.
The most important thing is feeling that motivation is stronger than the difficulties.
The hardest part is working with an acceptable level of stability, considering how difficult the transport is, how quickly the weather changes and the complete lack of support from the public institutions which are unable to offer any development strategy or planning to improve our conditions.
Tell us about logistics and how is a typical day at the refuge. Is there a huge difference between the week days and the week end days?
During the week the number of guests is quite low, work can start at different times, preparing breakfast or doing other activities to start the daily routines.
The activities are many: taking care of supplies carried by the cableway, preparing food, cooking gnocchi or cakes, cleaning and tiding up the rooms and the other areas of the refuge or some sections of the path, dealing with the bookings and the new media which are particularly important nowadays.
Knowing how to deal with unexpected events is certainly very important, as here something new happens every day!
During the week end everything becomes more complicated: there is not really time to stop to enjoy the nice view!
You know really well any aspect of the mountain and living in the mountains. There is a silent kind of mountain and a more "noisy" or "lively" kind of mountain. How do you experience this?
I love nature and I believe in biodiversity: the more people live in the mountain the more people can enjoy this wonderful environment!It is particularly important to be aware that the mountain is a totally different place from where we are used to get around; there are appropriate rules to be followed.
It's beautiful and hard at the same time: it's a context to be preserved and respected.
Every single step must be earned in the mountain, even for those who want to bring their own work and ideas here.The stunning environment of our mountains need the help of man to be preserved and respected: from this point of view the presence of men in the mountains is fundamental.
Knowing how to use and enjoy this territory in an appropriate way is the main challenge for people living and working here!
What do you offer to your guests?
Spontaneity and all my energy.
What do you ask to your guests?
Respect for our work, for our commitment to this job. It might be strange to believe but this kind of attitude is not to be taken for granted.
Being a guest at the Refuge means being willing to take his own responsibilities and give a contribution to the development of a delicate environment: this is the same responsibility taken by the manager.
A refuge is a place where you can get in touch with people living here every day and go home enriched with something that you could not find or buy anywhere else.
Is the mountain for everyone?
Of course. The mountain can offer emotions, beautiful places and many new experiences.
It’s difficult not to be able to find a corner, a place in the mountains where you can find yourself and listen to your true inner self.These places very rarely coincide with a peak, a street or a refuge… we try to make Telegrafo a good support, an exciting passage for those who look for this kind of places on Mount Baldo!
What does the word “refuge” means to you?
Imagine to escape from daily life comforts, to get rid of everything, looking for a more austere place, to test yourself…
A refuge is a place where you can find some small comforts, an easier dimension, a good support.
Finding a refuge and feeling like home can make your experience in the mountain even more unique. This is what I want to offer to my guests at Telegrafo.
Is there something unique at Telegrafo?
Uniqueness is in ourselves, in what we have inside our mind, in what we leave on the places we visit, in how much we can grow after visiting a place. I wish Telegrafo can give a lot to its many visitors and have something back by them.
Is it always worthwhile to come up here with a back pack on your shoulders, isn’t it?
Yes, it is. But, we always have to be careful and avoid dangerous situations. The mountain can be a hard place, where difficult situations must be handled with the appropriate attitude and the appropriate equipment. The best thing is asking for the support of people working and living here who have the right experience to help you.
Today we only visit places presenting perfectly comfortable conditions. In doing so, we miss many opportunities to grow and improve ourselves preventing a sustainable kind of development as well as the protection of the environment.