A travelling cinema, the first geocaching trail on the Via Alpina, the journey of a red plastic elephant and a comparison of the Alpine massifs by two teenagers: these are the themes of the four projects selected for the Via Alpina Travel Fellowships 2013, awarded by the Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, the Via Alpina Secretariat of the Principality of Monaco and the international Via Alpina network:
This “Meet the locals on the Via Alpina” project is about hiking from Monaco to Trieste during an approximate 3month (June, July and August 2013), following the Via Alpina in 6 different Alpine states (Monaco, France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria) The goal is to meet the Via Alpina locals (shepherd,refuge keeper,old man/lady in small Alp village,bread shop owner, etc..), interview them and then report, synthesize and highlight there Alpine connections through an internet blog and other medias if they want to use the informations that will be collected during the hiking. Interviews will be following the same pre-established questions and will be either videotaped, audio taped or written on a notebook depending on the situation. It will be about living the experience of the Via Alpina by discovering the locals alpine way of life. All the interviews I will have carried out will be put online on a internet blog @ http://viaalpina2013.wordpress.com and used afterward to produce a short video/film/clip. The project is about sharing and showing what the Via Alpina is about through its locals inhabitants.
Faye Sanders & Rebecca F. Whitehead: A Gateway Guide to the Via Alpina: Alpina Adventure! >>
We plan to create an online ‘Via Alpina’ adventure guide aimed at 18 – 25 year olds. We will do this by creating an informative blog, promotional videos highlighting different activities and attractions along the route, setting up social media outlets providing an arena for participants to share pictures and information en route. We will focus on stages surrounding Mont Blanc in France, Italy and Switzerland, creating an online guide that promotes cultural and adventure activities – from sleeping in mountain huts in Switzerland to experiencing local cuisine in Italy – it will be an ultimate adventure guide for young people who may be new to hiking. The idea being that the guide will make the route less intimidating and after discovering a small section of the route they’ll be inspired and empowered enough to keep exploring the rest of the Via Alpina throughout their lifetime. We will upload videos of the walk to Youtube, cultural delights and a range of locally available leisure activities, making numerous promotional videos that show the beauty of the trail and the excitement of the Alps. We will also photograph the journey showing the trail, the views and the natural beauty of the Via Alpina . We will create an online presence on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flikr and use these social media outlets to promote our ventures. These social media outlets will also be a place for local businesses, companies and hoteliers to promote current offers. Once we have compiled the videos and photographs we will contact Walking, Hiking and Mountaineering Societies across UK Universities and send the videos and photographs to their members. In addition, we will also compile a guide how to reach the route via sustainable travel; taking advantage of the Inter-rail passes available to young people.
Maurizio Barbagallo: 7 years of travel walking in nature in the Alps >>
I am a Trekking Guide (Nature Guide Hikers) in seven years Travel by foot I accompanied groups of hikers on sections of the Via Alpina in Liguria, Piedmont Dolomites Switzerland and France. Alta Via 1 and 2 in the Dolomites, Glorious Return of the Waldenses, Footpath Occitan and Franco Provencal Way in Piedmont, Tour of Mont Blanc in the Aosta Valley Switzerland and France, from Nice to San Remo in France and Liguria. In 2013, I want to provide the opportunity for one or two boys aged 15 to 18 years participate free of charge to one of the trips planned using the travel fellowship of 1000 euro.
Johanna Mitterhofer & Liise Lehtsalu: Crossing borders, meeting people >>
People have always crossed the Alps for trade, agriculture, war, work, and leisure. Neither natural nor man-made borders could hinder these movements. And yet, national borders have left their trace, creating distinct national and cultural communities throughout the Alps. In our project “Crossing Borders, Meeting People”, we will walk on paths that lead along and across Alpine borders. Walking on the borders of Switzerland, Austria, and Italy, we will meet a wide variety of people who inhabit, work in, and visit the Alps today. Through our encounters with locals and tourists, seasonal workers and new immigrants, as well as with the Alpine landscape, we will explore how the diverse inhabitants of the Alps today relate to the environment that surrounds them. Our project will promote the spirit of Via Alpina in linking people, cultures, and countries. It will also promote tolerance and act against prejudice and narrow-mindedness by including immigrants as inhabitants of the Alps.
Contacts: jmitterh(at)anthro.umass.edu, liise.lehtsalu(at)gmail.com
Manuel Hefti: The Pearls of Europe >>
The idea is to do a 2 month hiking trip in the central and south eastern part of the alps. It will start in Rapperswil, nearby Zurich, in the north eastern part of Switzerland. The planned route goes over Austria (Vorarlberg and Tirol, red and yellow route) down to Italy (south tirol; yellow route) further down to Slowenia (yellow and red routes). Target is to do all the trip mainly by hiking or other human powered vehicles. The big topic of the trip is to shoot many wonderful pictures of that magic strip of landscape in the middle of Europe, to meet the people and their culture who living there, recording audio interviews and videos. The big challenge is to don't pay money for any accommodation or transportation (but for food, as I don't want to eat outdated food out from the garbage ;) and sleep in the tent, in a barn or on a sofa, wherever people let me a place for stay a night, after I've asked them, of course.
Roman Schultze & Michael Fuchsloch: Traditional Crafts and Customs alongside the Via Alpina >>
The plan is to hike a part of the Via Alpina with the focus on the (forgotten) crafts and knowledge of the people who lived or are still living in this area. To discover traditional habits in all fields that life in the mountains offers. Farmers, rangers, hut-keepers, carpenters, shepherds, pilgrims, habitants or mayors from the near-by areas sure all have exciting wisdom to pass on, crafts to show and stories to tell. Even historical ruins, leftovers or useless-gone habits are worth looking-at to get an understanding of the cultural use of the landscape by its inhabitants. Digging these things out, making them more public and exploring the connection between the (former) inhabitants and the landscape by this way is our aim for this journey.
Pia Peršič: I walk, therefore I am! >>
Due to the visibility of the project I go back and experience gained in the Slovenian mountain trail I would like to administer success factors and appropriate to add new content related to the Via Alpina. Many people, a less known way - Via Alpina connects several countries. Hope is that the appropriate media coverage, over mountain societies or via online network inviting people of different nationalities and age groups, to join me on the road. The hike would start in Muggia (Italy), continue across the Karst, and Dinaric mountains Nanos through Trnovski forest and Idrija Hills, across the natural and cultural attractions in the Julian Alps and historic remnants of the First World War. From the pass Korensko sedlo in Karavanke the path followed in Austria, where the 18 day hike ended at the place Nassfeld. Timely and appropriate communication media is a major factor that can address the individual that can be connected to the race.
Lisa & Beverley Nel: Every step counts >>
I am 20 years old and am currently a student at university and will be hiking on the green route of the Via Alpina during June / July 2013 together with my mother who is 54 years old, we will attempt the green route from Sucka to Lenk within 15 consecutive days and then onto Montreaux Switzerland. We aim to use the hike and the distance covered to raise funds for a charity in South Africa which is involved in the protection of the Rhino which is facing . By creating awareness about our walk as we attempt to raise funds for the protection of the Rhino, we will be creating awareness about the Via Alpina as we will be holding talks to schools in South Africa, we will also be trying to get a slot on a talk radio station to discuss our walk.
Contacts: lisajnel(at)gmail.com, bnel(at)deloitte.co.za
Marco Tosi & T’ai Gladys Whittingham Forte: A video-reportage on the Alps encompassing a unique investigation into the meaning of existence, the dynamics of encounter, and the simple act of walking >>
Imagine one day, while walking in solitude surrounded by the giant alpine cliffs, just after you’ve emerged from the cozy refuge in which you’ve spent the night, sheltered from the cold, dew, wind and rough weather that dominates these late summer evenings… while you descend towards the valley, for a swift return, as fast as a flash, to the obligations of the city, yet now so far and insignificant.. or while you advance uphill, rapid and determined, ready to climb those cliffs that only the chosen ones have ever reached, with ropes and hooks in your backpack and a constant thought on who succeeded and who failed… while you see the refuge-keeper passing by with his precious burden, food supplies and chocolate, without supposing, even for a moment, that not long ago he was an accounting clerk working all day long behind a bare desk… and while your thoughts skip from one thing to another, even though you tried so hard to empty your mind and let yourself be taken away by the silence of wild nature, searching for your soul.. while you leave, think, pass by, tread the chosen path and, in the meantime, you ignore that everything exists because of you and you exist because of the rest of humanity… Imagine if that day we met.
Omar Beretta: The mountain in the heart >>
Is not simple describe what a man is searching in the peaks but this is an activity....a need, that is coming to modern time starting from centuries ago. Mountain is not only fatigue, cold or adversity...mountain is also a place where to “cure” diseases. Being me affected by a genetic heart disease managed by a Defibrillator implantation, with this project I would like to sensitize, in accordance with a non lucrative association, people affected by genetic heart diseases about the possibility to overcame the psychological side effects related to this kind of illness or related to the operations needed to manage the disease. Also in this contest a normal life is possible and with this project I would like to organize a trekking during which organize a meeting of people affected by this kind of illness in a cabin (rifugio Nuvolau) where to compare each other about the subject “heart disease: how to conduct a normal life” and the different experiences and approaches to the trouble. In case of assignment of the grant, I will completely donate it to a non lucrative association.
For centuries, up to 1914, lots of Italian transhumant shepherds used to pass the border from Italy into Switzerland with their flocks of sheep. The border was closed down in 1914 for sanitary reasons. The Italian shepherds went on working beyond the border as keepers of flocks belonging to Swiss owners. Most of these shepherds came from Parre, a small village within Bergamo provincial administration in the North of Italy. By reference to elderly shepherds, who remember the tradition of their ancestors, part of the shepherds’ trail corresponds with the red trail of the Via Alpina. So we want to concentrate on the final part of the shepherds’ route, with its halting places and the laps in between. Our trail will include Isola, Passo del Balniscio, Pian San Giacomo, Mesocco, Rossa. On this way we will also try to spot the Sass de la Scritura (the Stone of the writing). This legendary stone is often mentioned by elderly people in Parre: it’s a huge stone somewhere on the shepherds’ way which is covered with the names of the ancient shepherds and their messages. Thanks to the shepherds’ indications, we could approximately locate the stone on the map and want to reach it. We will shoot along the pathway and we will collect the memories of one or more old shepherds to explain the shepherds’ route and the transhumance tradition. The son of one of these shepherds will be our guide on the search of the stone.
Michaela Rizzolli: Viewing the Via Alpina through the eyes of young people >>
This project takes young people aged between 14 and 17 years from South and North Tyrol on a journey on the Via Alpina. For six days in a row they will hike together with two educators along the yellow trail. They will cross the border between North and South Tyrol and they will keep records of their experiences, ups and downs using media along the way. This project is about the way young people view, experience and value the Via Alpina. But the real journey these young people will take is a pilgrimage, deep inside themselves.