Does it always have to be extreme? As an expedition leader, Birgit Lutz normally camps in hostile environments. For OutDoor Society she discovers the cosiness of Italian campsites
Why, he says, can't we just go camping like other people do? On a campsite in summer, where no ice flowers grow at the top of the tent and where there is a solid building with ceramics inside and not just wind and a spade. He says it with more exclamation- than question marks; in this one sentence, our whole outdoor relationship swings along and on this swing my last project, which gave him the crossing of the Finnmark with a tent at 30 degrees minus, bobs back and forth. For me camping is a minor matter, a tent helps me to get to my favorite places, namely where there is nothing - and still have a house. I find camping as the main thing questionable, why should I lie down on the ground on one plot, next to it a hundred other plots and much more noise?
A few days later, we sit in the car, have a tent in the trunk and utensils from cool box to folding chair, he is blessed, I am, uh, restrained.
We take five steps over the crackling gravel until our feet plash into the sea water and our glasses clink together. The whole world is one campsite
We roar over the Brenner and only brake at Riva, shortly after the spot where you the lake behind the pine trees for the first time and your heart opens with a bang, Italy, the promised land, perhaps the idea is not so bad after all, with sun and so on, with pizza and splashing around, as it was then, at the age of five, in the seventies.
Somewhere, there is a small place with narrow alleys, next to it a camping site with fence and gate, now I have to be very strong for a short time. On the shore, there is a small headland. The campsite is empty at the front. We get out and then it goes quickly: The tent is set up, the chairs are opened, the cool box is opened - and then the image fades to black. Because a drink gurgles into a camping wine glass and my straw hat is put on my head. We take five steps over the crackling gravel until our feet plash into the sea water and our glasses clink together. The whole world is a campsite. Soon the sun sinks into the lake on the other side, we sit next to the folding chairs in the gravel and watch the blue turn golden and then orange and dark red, the cicadas chirp and the soul has peace.
On the third evening, with the clinking glasses in front of the tent in the orange of the sun, he says, now we can do something with skis and snow and loneliness again, if you want.
The next morning it's hot in our tent. How hot it can get in a tent! We tap out into the lake, which still lies there cool and smooth like a fresh sheet, we dive under and up again and look at the shore, where our little home shimmers in the sun and its entrance's tarpaulins gently rustle in the wind.
In the next three days we go to the small open-air camping bar in the morning, where we drink cappuccino. We pump up our stand up paddleboards with the pump of our tent neighbours and flounder for hours on the lake. We buy fresh fish at the small car honking over the square and grill it in the sunset. The sun tans our skin and the wind tangles our hair. We never enter houses.
On the third evening, with the clinking glasses in front of the tent in the orange of the sun, he offers that we can do something with ski and snow and loneliness again, if I wanted. I hang a foot into the water and the waves glitter around me, and I tell him, maybe not necessarily so.