May it is! And already the thermometer has reached 28 degrees celsius here in Munich! Unfortunately not for long. Spring IS still a somewhat “capricious” time of year and during the early morning hours and when staying in the shade you should not forget an extra layer of shirts. But it is getting better and better, day by day!
Only a few hours drive from our doorstep lies the beautiful South Tyrol (Alto Adige) - the northmost region of Italy. During the winter season it is a very sought after ski-area. At all other seasons it is an amazing area for hiking and other outdoor activities. We went for an extended weekend.
A few highway exits south of the Austrian-Italian border the magnificent landscape really starts to unfold. South Tyrol is - next to Spain, of course - THE “fruit garden” of Europe. Up the hillsides, under viaducts and along river banks and highways you see the endless rows of fruit-trees and vines. Wine is one of Italy’s most important exports and South Tyrol does bring its fair share of the “raw material”. Every little spot with just a little sunshine is utilized to the max! It makes the scenery look extremely fertile and luxuriant and you simply cannot help feeling joyful!
The highway is twisting its way through the area on stilts high above the ground. Also high above the cities. In fact you do not even think about it when you walk through the tiny alleyways of the ancient cities of Chiusa/Klausen and Breassanone/Brixen. In South Tyrol most cities have two names: an Italian and a German. And yes, there are MANY German tourists in the area. The locals speak both Italian and German anyway, tourist season or not.
Many tourists arriving in Italy enter by car from Northern Europe and rush over the Brenner Pass, through South Tyrol and further down to places like the Adriatic Sea, Lake Garda, Venice, Florence and the other regions of Tuscany. This is really a shame. South Tyrol has so many tiny little towns with an authentic, Italian atmosphere. Restaurants and cafés with a fair and decent price-level and lots of alleys with small boutiques.
And if you like hiking, then the area is just right! We have been hiking quite a bit in recent years, but our opening of “Hiking Season 2015” has had a bit of a slow start. We haven’t been away as much as we would have liked, but we did have a few great days in South Tyrol. Unfortunately not entirely without a bit of grumbling and whining from Anton. Normally he is really good at hiking, and he enjoys it, but like everyone else he has his good and bad days. During our stay in South Tyrol he had a few of those bad days without any motivation, what so ever! During our hike on the “Seiser Alm” - which by the way is the largest high altitude Alpine meadow in Europe - he managed to steer directly into the largest pile of the remaining snow, drenching himself up to his knees and we had to turn around. It didn’t matter all that much. The day before we had been hiking for more than 10 kilometers, and he had been following nicely. It wasn’t like the entire trip was wasted. Unfortunately he ended up with quite a bit of a cold the following night… Note to self: Remember to bring extra boots and clothes for the kids! We had not been thinking of this. Our backpack was packed with extra jackets, shirts, food and drinks. But no extra boots for Anton!
Seiser Alm is a very popular ski area and we arrived just as the winter season had ended, and just before the summer season was about to open. Hence the surrounding towns in the area - such as Selva/Wolkenstein - seemed almost totally deserted. But it is quite obvious that hotels and pensions are nicely renovated and ready for the coming season. They did not appear to be in need of well-paying guests!
After 4 days we had re-fueled and felt energised. We were ready to go back to Munich. Such a small vacation is really great when you can actually sit and relax in the sun, sipping a glass of wine, after having spent only 2,5 hours in the car. Usually we go with a group of friends, and we all agree that this tradition is a keeper!
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Speaking of “ambassadorships” - we have more to come in the coming weeks and months. A whole new and exciting part of being travel bloggers is about to open. We will tell you more about this in the very near future!
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