photos by Katja Hentschel
A few weeks ago Travelette’s Katja took me along on a magical trip to a place that I would normally never think of going to. With my usual travel destinations being distant and exotic places as Argentina, Japan or Thailand I was more than surprised to find this little paradise so close to our home. The flight to South Tyrol was just a bit over an hour from Berlin, but it felt like immersing into a completely different universe and after only 3 days I was madly in love with this beautiful region in the North of Italy. Enjoy my impressions from this trip with photos by Katja after the jump.
The first thing we did after arriving in South Tyrol was jumping in the Kalterer See, the most beautiful lake I have ever been to. Pure, clean, warm water surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape.
I have a thing for cable cars. The one up to the Vigiljoch mountain might not be the most romantic one, but what expects up there is really worth it. While Katja did sky diving down into the vallery I was hanging out on the Alm, ate Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce and admired the amazing looking Vigilius Mountain Resort – a very unique looking design hotel that I found to be a perfect modern alternative to a traditional alm house.
One of the biggest attractions of the beautiful city of Meran is its thermal bath. It has several indoor and outdoor pools – actually more then I could count from the view of my lounge chair – as well as a wellness and medical spa. The bath and spa was really top-notch and a wonderful oasis for everyone who is exhausted from the big cities.
A very interesting organisation is the Roter Hahn (red rooster). It organizes a big number of traditional alm houses that are either renting out rooms or have a restaurant business going. They all have to fulfill certain standards rewarded with flowers (instead of the stars we all know from the ranking of hotel standards). All the alms that are part of the program must offer at least one product or service that they actually grow, produce or make on the alm. But most alms actually do much more.
On of one of those alms – the Zmailer Hof – we were able to take a look into the ongoing in the kitchen of their restaurant. Cook Martha actually tought us how to make her famous Speckknödel (bacon dumplings). During lunch we actually were served the Knödel that we did ourselves and they were delicious. Katja wrote a more detailed article about our little cooking course with Martha over at Travelettes.
After we stayed in Meran for a few days at the modern and comfortable art hotel Imperial we took a bike trip down to famous Bozen. The streets there are almost entirely downhill so it was pretty much an easy ride. But you get to see some beautiful things such as countless apple plantations, beautiful little villages and small towns such as Lana and of course the surroundings of the mountains of South Tyrol.
Bozen turned out to be as charming and picturesque as Meran, even though it has its own character. We strolled through the city, took a look over the bridge to the Italian side of the city, had more Aperitifs than would have been neccessary and slept like babies after 3 exciting days in the comfortable Greif Hotel at the central place of Bozen.
On our final day in Katja decided to check out the very modern winery of Tramin while I returned to the beautiful Kalterer See to take another swim in this amazing water. After these four amazing days packed with adventures and relaxation I must say I really am in love with Sout Tyrol and I was in an enthusiastic rush about the trip ever since. It’s funny, I haven’t been in an Alpine area since I was a child and I wonder why I always look so far for adventure and recreation when a charming oasis of peacefulness is so close. South Tyrol, I will be back!