The weather forecast for today had showed torrential rain all day in Bolzano. I was hoping it would turn out to be incorrect, but when Tim came back from buying breakfast looking rather damp, it seemed like we had to accept the inevitable and make a wet weather plan. Tim suggested that we go down to Bolzano and visit the archaeological museum, which is home to an exhibition about Ötzi the Iceman and which we visited the first time we came to this region in 2015. Meanwhile I was googling what transport we could use for free with our Mobilcards, and established that we could travel on regional trains between Brenner and Trento. When I looked up the weather forecast for Brenner, I found that rather than raining there it was supposed to be snowing The chance of seeing some snow was too big a temptation to resist, so we decided to catch the 11.02 train from Bolzano to Brenner.
As we were eating breakfast, it looked like the precipitation in Oberbozen was changing from rain to sleet.
In fact, once we got outside we found that it was turning from sleet to snow.
By the time we had walked to the Ritten cable car station, it was snowing properly
I was covered in snow
It was very misty, so we had zero view as we travelled down in the cable car to Bolzano. It was pouring with rain in the town itself, so we were rather damp by the time we arrived at the train station to catch our train to Brenner. The journey took around an hour and twenty minutes and looked like it would have been really scenic if the cloud hadn't been so low. About two thirds of the way through the trip, the rain turned to snow and by the time we stepped off the train in Brenner it felt like a blizzard.
Brenner (or Brennero in Italian) is a pretty small village, stretched out along one main road.
I knew it was close to the border with Austria, but I hadn't realised quite how close until I got a text from EE welcoming me to Austria
When I'd seen on the weather forecast that there was going to be snow here, I'd imagined that there might just be a few flakes falling. But it was actually already pretty deep
The snow-covered trees above the town looked really beautiful.
As we walked along the main street we passed the local church, which had a rather colourful clock tower.
We suddenly realised that we'd accidentally walked as far as the border.
You can't make it out in this photo, but there's a square blue sign on the building behind me saying Republik Österreich.
The main feature of the border seems to be a large shopping centre, which I'm standing next to here.
Having reached the limit of Brenner in this direction, we turned around and walked back the other way.
When we got to the far end of the village, we caught sight of a waterfall in the distance. You really can't see it very well in this picture because it was snowing so much, but it was just in between the trees
We were feeling rather cold by this point, so we found a restaurant to get out of the snow. I had a lovely Hawaiian pizza, while Tim had schnitzel and chips. For pudding, I had tartufo, which was icecream drenched in espresso
Tim had a dessert called cuore fondente (melting hearts) which consisted of little cakes with melted chocolate in the middle.
We had a while before we needed to catch the train back to Bolzano, so we went for another stroll after lunch.
It was still snowing really hard.
It was hard to tell exactly where the border was, but this bit definitely seemed to be Austria.
I got a picture with the Austria sign
We also found a stone marking the border; Austria on one side...
...and Italy on the other.
As we got the train back towards Bolzano, the clouds started to lift a bit and we began to get glimpses of the mountains which had been hidden from view this morning.
The sky was a lot clearer in Bolzano as well, as as we caught the cable car back up to Oberbozen we finally got a good view of the snowcapped mountains in the distance (the photo is a bit blurry because it was through the slightly wet cable car window!)
Darkness was falling as we travelled up on the cable car and when we arrived in Oberbozen, everywhere looked very Christmassy.
As we began walking back towards our hotel we got some really great views of the sunset.
It was amazing now that it was finally clear enough to see the mountains properly
It had obviously continued snowing here during the day too and everywhere looked very white.
Unfortunately the road which we needed to walk down towards our hotel was a bit slippery as a result.
And it was hard to look at your feet when the views were like this in one direction...
...and like this in the other.
We may have taken just a few photos
By the time we got back to the hotel it was properly dark.
It turned out to be a really great day, especially for one which started out by promising to be so rainy