Friday 28 June 2013
Heiligkreuz la Crusc; The Way of the Cross
It is snowing again. We pack the bags and a van comes to collect us. Driving it is the boss himself of our new hotel, Herr Ebner, although he does not say much, and nothing in his behaviour helps us to know whether he is the gardener or the owner. The hotel is good, and our luggage is stowed until the room is free, so we can go out down to the Maratona Sportif registration Village, St Leonard. There are the usual array of trade stalls in the cold and rain and harsh encouraging language through the PA
We take the chairlift to Santa Cruz exposed to the mist and the cold wet air. This lift has a plastic bubble cover that you can bring down over your head and top half. From the halfway station we walk up the rest of the path as the chairlift is not running – the seats are deep in snow and nobody seems to want to go anyway. This is the Way of the Cross – a pilgrimage up to the Hermitage at the summit, nestling beneath famous climbing cliffs which we are also interested to see. There are 15 stations with brightly coloured reliefs of the passion story behind glass to look at as we go. The walk is quite moving, through a pine mountain landscape bleak and desolate in the mist and the snow; it is as if we are moving through an Anselm Kiefer painting.
The hermitage is isolated and I think is in use as a hospice, and there is a small refuge there with a restaurant but today is deserted. Three crucifixes with gory details loom out of the mist which conceals the cliffs, and the climbs and via ferratas we have come to see.
We run back down over the rolly pebbles and call at a Refuge for a superb lunch, Again it is very quiet and we are made very welcome, and served excellent repasts.