Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'bolzano'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • 2010
    • France 2010
  • 2011
    • Slovakia & Ukraine 2011
    • Croatia 2011
  • 2012
    • Italy 2012
  • 2013
    • Croatia & Montenegro 2013
    • Baltics 2013
    • Slovenia & Croatia 2013
    • Italy 2013
    • Oslo 2013
  • 2014
    • Spain 2014
    • Balkans 2014
    • Sardinia 2014
    • Italy 2014
    • Belgium 2014
  • 2015
    • France 2015
    • Sweden 2015
    • Italy & Switzerland 2015
    • Lithuania 2015
    • Czech Republic 2015
    • Croatia & Slovenia 2015
    • Italy 2015
    • Catalonia 2015
    • Lapland 2015
  • 2016
    • Norway 2016
    • Sweden 2016
    • Spain, Catalonia & France 2016
    • Slovakia 2016
    • Denmark & Sweden 2016
    • Croatia & Montenegro 2016
    • Italy 2016
    • Lapland 2016
  • 2017
    • Paris 2017
    • France (South) 2017
    • The Netherlands 2017
    • Croatia & Montenegro 2017
    • Fuerteventura 2017
    • France (Alps) 2017
    • Italy (Lake Como) 2017
    • Portugal & Spain 2017
    • Italy (South) 2017
    • Tenerife 2017
    • Lapland 2017
  • 2018
    • Malta 2018
    • Lithuania 2018
    • Azores 2018
    • Central Europe 2018
    • Finland 2018
    • Iceland 2018
    • Greece 2018
    • Lapland 2018
  • 2019
    • Italy 2019
    • Ukraine 2019
    • Russia 2019
    • Sicily 2019
    • Spain 2019
    • Bulgaria & Romania 2019
    • Cyprus 2019
    • Poland 2019
    • Italy winter 2019
    • Lapland 2019
  • 2020
    • Scotland 2020
    • Northumberland 2020
    • Scottish Islands 2020
  • 2021
    • Northumberland 2021
    • The Borders 2021
    • Devon 2021
    • Wales 2021
    • Scottish Islands 2021
    • Isle of Mull 2021
    • Northumberland (again!) 2021
    • Poland 2021
    • Spain 2021
  • 2022
    • Monaco 2022
    • Liechtenstein 2022
    • Mallorca 2022
    • USA 2022
    • Luxembourg
    • Azores 2022
  • 2023
    • Lapland 2023
    • Finland 2023
    • Murcia 2023
    • Isle of Man 2023
    • Tuscany 2023
    • Greenland 2023
    • Italy 2023
    • Guernsey 2023


There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start



About Me

Found 13 results

  1. Today was our final day in Bolzano and it began with quite a bit of travelling. First of all, we took the Renon cable car up to Soprabolzano, then from there we took the little train to Klobenstein as we had done on Monday. But today we weren't planning to walk to the earth pyramids. Instead, we caught a bus from outside the station in Klobenstein to a small place called Pemmern. Pemmern was only about a quarter of an hour away from Klobenstein on the bus and it's the starting point for a gondola cable car, which goes up to a point called Schwarzsee Spitze at just over 2000 metres. Tim and I discovered we didn't even need to pay, as the cable car was included in the Bolzano card we'd received from our apartment. Unfortunately, the rest of my family weren't so lucky! It was fun going up the mountain in the gondolas; they only seated about 8 so we managed to get one to ourselves Once we got to the top we got our first glimpses of the panoramic views we'd been promised. We were following a panoramic loop trail, which was supposed to have really great views. We did indeed get some great views of the mountains, although sometimes it felt like there was a lot of shrubbery between us and them. It turned out that this area has all kinds of different pine trees. These were mountain pine, which don't typically grow to be more than 3 metres high. The pine trees weren't the only nature we had to admire. We also passed some kind of mountain sheep with very long ears. It really was a very scenic path It hasn't come out very clearly in the photos, but we could even see one mountain that had the remnants of snow or a glacier on top. You might be able to make it out towards the right hand side of the photo below. The other great thing about the panorama trail was that it was circular. As we began to loop round we had some different views... ...and also got to see some different types of pine trees. We hadn't realised as we'd been walking that the path was leading us downhill, but after we'd got about halfway round we realised we had quite a lot of uphill to do to get back to our starting point. The final part of the trail took us past the Schwarzsee lake which the cable car station is named after. It's a slightly unusual lake, not least because it's behind a big fence. No idea why! Once we'd completed the route, we headed to the restaurant at the cable car station for some lunch. We all finished with a slice of this absolutely enormous Apfelstrudel! Then it was time for the journey back to Bolzano via gondola, bus, train and cable car! Tomorrow will just be a day of travelling, as Tim and I have a 06.55 train to catch for the first leg of our journey back to the UK. It's been a lovely trip away though to a beautiful part of the world and it's been fun to celebrate Dad's birthday with the whole family
  2. While Tim needed to catch up on some work today, the rest of us decided to go on an excursion back to Merano. Not because Merano was so beautiful that we felt the need to see it for a second day in a row (although it was a gorgeous place!) but to visit a botanical garden, which is located a bit outside the main town centre. We didn't have much luck with public transport initially, missing the 10.35 train we were trying to catch literally just by a minute when there was a last minute platform train. That meant we had almost half an hour to wait at Bolzano station until the next train to Merano. Fortunately, it was quite a scenic place to sit. Once we made it to Merano, we then needed to catch a bus to the entrance to the gardens. The bus took us up some increasingly steep and narrow roads towards our destination. Having missed the first train and then, by default, the bus which would have connected with it, it was around 12.30 by the time we'd bought a ticket and got inside the Trauttmansdorff Castle Gardens. We knew they were botanical gardens, but otherwise weren't quite sure what to expect. I was pleased when one of the first things we walked past was a display of cactuses though. There were some lovely views of the mountains surrounding Merano... ...and as we admired the views we noticed what looked like a rather unusual viewing platform sticking out of the hillside. The gardens were really well laid out, so although they were on a hillside you never really felt like you were going very uphill because the paths were gently sloping. We walked past some really colourful flowers, interspersed with the odd cactus. We soon realised that the gardens were laid out in four different zones, with routes to follow around all of them. We'd started with the route referred to as the Sun Gardens, which was concentrating on Mediterranean plants. We also passed a display of carnivorous plants. As we continued upwards, there were some pretty views down towards Merano. There was also the occasional odd sculpture. And we had a view of Trauttmansdorff Castle itself, the yellow building in whose gardens all this is housed. We were climbing upwards towards the rather spectacular viewpoint we'd spotted from down below. It was quite strange to stand on; it wobbled slightly and you could see a long way down when you looked through the floor! It gave us some nice views though. After the viewpoint, our route continued along a very green path. We were walking towards a rather unusual aviary. There were multiple birds inside, including some rather colourful parrots. I wasn't a massive fan of being inside an aviary with birds, but once you walked through it you could get to another viewing platform. From there you could see down towards what was advertised as the palm beach, although that didn't look like it was going to be the most exciting part of the gardens. We decided not to go to the palms but to retrace our steps downhill to the main restaurant to get some lunch. I had some dumpling soup again and also an affogato which came in an actual coffee cup. I was very impressed! As we left the restaurant I realised we could see up to the precarious viewpoint we'd been at earlier. It's not too easy to make out in this photo, but it's between the lefthand branch of the tree and its trunk. It looked quite high from down here! Our plan was now to explore the second zone of the gardens, which was called Forests of the World. The first sight we came to when following the forest trail didn't involve trees, though. Instead, we found ourselves looking at a rice paddy! That was unexpected. The path continued past small waterfalls... ...little palm trees and all sorts of ferns. At one point there was some artificial steam adding to a jungle atmosphere. Towards the end of the forests trail we came to a large glasshouse. There were some beautiful flowers in here. I was excited to see a coffee plant. There were all sorts of other exotic plants in there. Look at these baby pineapples! Once we'd completed the forests trail, we moved on to the Water and Terraced Gardens zone. I think we maybe took a wrong turning on the route at some point because rather than arriving at the large pond we had been expecting, we found ourselves in what seemed to be more like a cactus zone! There were all kinds of different cactuses here. I loved these little round ones! Although I saw a lot of cactuses in Arizona last year, I'm not sure I've ever seen so many different types of cactuses all in the same place. It was also just such a strange setting to see them in, with Alpine views behind. It was all really pretty though And some of the cactuses were even flowering! I may have taken just a few photos! Once we'd finished admiring the cactuses, our path continued down towards a more flowery part of the gardens. There were so many different displays to look at that it was hard to take everything in. I loved these bright red flowers though. Eventually we got down to the water lily pond we'd been expecting. It was really gorgeous here and the rain was just about holding off for us. We saw what looked like enormous water lilies... ...and turned out to be lotus flowers. There were also some giant water lilies where the leaves had edges. Plus lots of more normal water lilies, of course. It was a really spectacular place and there was so much more we could have seen if we'd had more time. Unfortunately, it was around 4pm by this point and we needed to get to the bus stop, to start our journey back to Merano. It was a lovely day though and I'd definitely come to the gardens again if I was in this part of the world
  3. After celebrating Dad's birthday last night we had a slow start to the morning before deciding to catch a train to Merano. Tim and I had been to Merano when we first came to this part of Italy in 2015, but couldn't remember too much about it beyond a general impression that it was a really pretty place and that we'd walked in some sort of garden with sculptures of animals. Merano is only around 40 minutes away from Bolzano on a regional train, so before too long we'd arrived at the train station there. The first thing we saw when we came out of the station was this statue of Andreas Hofer, a local Tyrolean folk hero. From the station it was a walk of 20 minutes or so into the centre of Merano. The river Passer flows through the town and it's a gorgeous river, with beautifully clear water. Merano used to be a spa town and there's an impressive Kurhaus building down by the river. The flower display in front of it was really lovely. I also loved this square, complete with a few little palm trees. And I was particularly impressed by this flower display of a peacock! The river is crossed by lots of different bridges. We were actually trying to stay on one side of it, but every time we got to a bridge I couldn't resist walking across it to see the view. As we made our way along the river we could see that in some places it was flowing incredibly fast. After a while we reached an old stone bridge. The views were really good from here too. Before too long we'd reached the park we remembered from our 2015 visit. I definitely remember this colourful woodpecker! This hairy snake looked familiar too. We ended up crossing the river here and following a trail on the opposite side. From where we were walking we could see what looked like ruins of a castle high on a rock above the river... ...as well as a more modern tower in the distance. The path we followed took us through the forest, which was nice and shady on a hot day, though didn't give us many views of the river. At one point we passed this slightly concerning sign! Luckily we didn't encounter any explosions, but continued on towards some beautiful orchards. After a while we emerged in a clearing, where there seemed to be a picnic spot beside a small lake. We were feeling peckish by this point, so decided to turn around and head back to the centre of Merano. We found a nice restaurant to get some lunch and then explored some of the bookshops in the centre of Merano. Then there was just time for a final stroll up and down the promenades... ...and a final look at the views of the mountains... ...before catching the train back to Bolzano
  4. After updating the blog last night, we went out in Bolzano to try and find something to eat. Bolzano seems to be a place where a lot of restaurants are closed on a Sunday evening, so we weren't wholly successful. Tim and I ended up in McDonalds, which perhaps wasn't the classiest of establishments. But we did get a nice view of the main square in Bolzano by night. The next day was Dad's 70th birthday, so we had a slow start to the day as we went round to give him his cards and presents. Afterwards we took the cable car up to Soprabolzano, from where we then caught a little train to the little village of Klobenstein. Last time Tim and I were here was winter 2019 when everywhere was covered with snow. Today was so different - brilliant sunshine. Back in 2019 it was so cold that this pond was completely frozen over. Today, not only was it not frozen but we had a fantastic view of all the fish swimming around inside it. We'd come to Klobenstein to do a walk towards the earth pyramids, an unusual geological formation. But on the way we had some amazing views of the mountains. Before too long we caught sight of a little church, which looked very familiar. When we came in 2019 this one was almost completely obscured by clouds. From this point we were able to get our first glimpse of the earth pyramids. These unique structures are formed when there are large, hard rocks in the soil. The soil below the rocks is protected from erosion and over a long period of time it forms a pyramid, complete with rock on top. Not all the pyramids still have their rocks on top, but we saw some that did. There were some particularly good views of them from the viewing platform. And there were some great views of the mountains from here too. The benefit of being here in summer was that more of the path was open, so we were able to walk further than we had done before. Eventually we came to a restaurant where we stopped for lunch. I had Speckknödel which were very tasty Then it was time to retrace our steps back towards the train station in Klobenstein. Unfortunately, when we got to the cable car station we found that the cable car was closed for some sort of maintenance this afternoon Some replacement buses had been laid on but there were nowhere near enough for the volume of people trying to get down the mountain. We ended up having to queue until 5pm, at which point the cable car started working again. It was a slightly frustrating end to what was otherwise a lovely day
  5. To celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday, my family decided to book a trip to Italy. Tim was already going to be in Italy, attending the World Esperanto Congress in Turin, for the first part of their holiday. I decided to fly out to meet them in Verona towards the end of their time there, while Tim made his way across Italy from Turin to meet up with us all for the second part of the holiday in Bolzano. My journey started on Friday morning, walking into Nuneaton to catch a train to Birmingham International for my Ryanair flight to Verona. Having heard that there is a bit of chaos at Birmingham airport this summer due to renovations for a new security terminal, I decided to turn up three hours ahead of my flight to make sure I definitely got through security on time. Imagine my disappointment when I got to the Ryanair baggage machines, only to be told that I wasn't allowed to use them until two hours before my flight. That was annoying, but I managed to pass an hour in Costa and then come back for a second attempt. It turned out that I needn't have worried about getting to the airport early; it was a pretty quiet time of day and I whizzed through security in less than 10 minutes. Unfortunately, my flight then ended up being delayed for no clear reason, but luckily only by around half an hour or so. The flight to Verona is a fairly short one and before too long I was queuing for passport control on the other side. By the time I got through that, my bag was already waiting for me on the baggage carousel which was a relief; I'm always nervous about flights where I have to stick my own label onto my bag! I emerged into a rather humid Verona, where it looked like it was soon going to rain. Getting the airport bus into the centre of town is theoretically straightforward, but in practice turned out to be complete chaos. Lots of passengers didn't understand how they were supposed to buy tickets, then once people had bought tickets and managed to get on board there was more chaos as it's one of those airport buses that don't have any space for luggage. I spent the entirety of my journey balancing in the bendy part of the bus, where the floor moves every time you go round a corner. Once I made it to the main station in Verona, it was just another short bus ride to the part of the city where my family were staying. My sister met me and led me to their apartment, where I spent the night. The next morning, after a breakfast of croissants and coffee, we headed back to the main station to catch a train to Bolzano. The journey took less than two hours on a regional train, which was surprisingly busy; we were lucky that we were at the station early so that we could jump on the train as soon as it arrived and find space for our luggage. We arrived in Bolzano around 13.30 and I set off towards the apartment I'd booked, where someone was waiting to check me in. It's a nice apartment, in a residential block not far from the cable car station in Bolzano. We've got a kitchen... ...a living room... ...and a bedroom. Best of all there's air conditioning, although it did take me a while to figure out how to get the temperature to go below 25 degrees! I unpacked for a while, then set off back to the train station to meet Tim, who had had a nightmare 9-hour bus journey across Italy from Turin. Once we'd all made it to Bolzano we went out in the evening for a pizza. The weather forecast had been looking a bit mixed for the following day, but when we woke up on Sunday morning it seemed surprisingly sunny. Our first plan had been to go up the cable car to Soprabolzano, but when we all met at the cable car station we found that there was an enormous backlog of people queuing to go up the mountain. We're not sure whether it's always like that at this time of year or whether it was particularly busy today thanks to the good weather, combined with the fact that it's a Sunday. We decided to leave Soprabolzano for another day and instead go with a back-up plan to visit Runkelstein Castle, which is about a 40-minute walk away from central Bolzano. We started by walking through the town, where we got a glimpse of the controversial victory monument erected by Mussolini. From there we turned off and walked along a pleasant trail through lots of greenery. We could hear, although not always see, a fast-flowing river. Every so often we also got glimpses of mountains in the distance. We walked past vineyards... ...and several buildings which looked like castles but weren't the castle we were going to visit. The views of the mountains here were fantastic. As we continued on, everywhere looked so green that it almost felt like we were in the Azores. We passed another building which wasn't the castle we were looking for... ...found the river again... ...and then eventually got our first glimpse of Runkelstein Castle. It was an impressive castle, but quite high up; we still had a bit of a climb to get to it. It was rather steep but we all made it to the castle gates just before a torrential downpour began! Luckily the castle has a nice restaurant, where we were able to sit inside until the weather improved and get some lunch. I was slightly disappointed that they'd run out of apple juice, so couldn't make me the Apfelschorle I was craving, but I managed to console myself with an Aperol Spritz. After lunch, my family stayed to explore the castle which has some impressive frescos. Tim and I are philistines as far as frescoes are concerned, so we decided to walk back to Bolzano via a slightly different route. The weather had massively improved by this stage, which was good. The path led us uphill towards vineyards. There were so many grapes! We could see down towards Bolzano in the distance. This part of the route was relatively flat, but there was a lot of uphill to get to it, followed by a lot of downhill at the end. The views of Bolzano were superb though... ...and as we got towards the end of the walk I was amazed to find that there were cactuses growing by the side of the path! Definitely not what I expected to find in Bolzano The path brought us out not far from our apartment, so we were able to head back there for a while to cool down (and catch up on the blog ).
  6. When we woke up on our final morning we found that it was actually sunny outside for a change We had breakfast and Tim managed to track down the owners of the hotel to pay for our room. Once we were all settled up, we set out for a final walk to the cable car station. It felt warmer in the sunshine and the snow had thawed to some extent, but the paths were still slippery in places. I found it difficult not to keep turning around as we walked, because there were some beautiful views behind us. This was definitely the clearest day we'd had, and I was hopeful of some good views from the cable car too. Luckily we managed to catch one which wasn't too busy and had plenty of space for our suitcase, plus managed to get a seat on the side with the best views The views were indeed spectacular. We've been up and down in the cable car lots of times over the course of the past few days, but a lot of the time we just travelling through clouds, and even on the slightly clearer days we couldn't see all these mountains. As we got further down we could see the lower slopes which would be covered in vines during the summer. Soon we were down in Bolzano. Because we were staying up in Oberbozen, we hadn't actually seen very much of the main part of Bolzano, so we'd decided to come for a walk around before catching our train back to Verona. We bought our train tickets, left our suitcase in the left luggage office at the station, and set off for a stroll around town. I was keen to get over towards the river which I remembered as being really pretty when we were last in Bolzano in 2015. Even in winter, the countryside looked really lovely We passed the victory monument, controversial because it was erected by Mussolini after Italy acquired South Tyrol from Austria following WW1. There's a good network of footpaths and cycle paths which criss-cross the river here. Once we were on the far side of the river we had a good view back towards the snowy mountains We walked alongside the river for a while. We knew we couldn't afford to walk too far, because we had to back at the station for our train at 12.31. We were catching the last possible train to the airport for our flight at 16.40. With views like these it was definitely tempting to keep going rather than turning around though Eventually we had to turn around and head back to the town centre. We had a final walk through the main square and made it back to the train station with plenty of time to collect the suitcase and catch our train. We've had a wonderful holiday in Bolzano and would definitely like to come back to this region again one day
  7. One thing we hadn't done during this short break is visit the Christmas market in Bolzano in the evening. We'd got back to the hotel early enough today to be able to go out again in the evening, so after night had fallen, we put our coats and boots on, and headed out the door. Soprabalzano was pretty in the dark. It had its own Christmas market outside the cable-car station. It appeared that we were going to be the only people taking the cable car at the point we boarded. Yes, the doors closed without anybody else coming through, so we had it to ourselves. About 7 minutes into the journey. an illuminated Bolzano appeared in the distance. There were two very handy landmarks standing out. There was a Christmas market alongside the Big Wheel, and another in the main square, which had the cathedral on one edge. The first cabins were enclosed by trees with beautiful fairy lights and large red baubels. And the street had lovely lights suspended above it. The edge featured reindeer and lights. The cabins happened to be closing at the point we arrived, so we said goodbye to the reindeer and walked towards the main square. We knew we were nearly there when the cathedral appeared. Each side of the square featured a light show of moving stars. We were really pleased to see that one of the cabins housed a nativity scene. There was a beautiful tree at the side of it and a lovely view of the cathedral and its roof above it. We stopped beside it to have a small mug of Glühwein. Although it was time to head back home, we decided not to take a direct route, leaving the square from the end opposite the cathedral. It took us up a street we'd already seen in the daylight. We knew where we were going. We'd seen that the nearby streets had decorations up, and wanted to see them at night. There were plenty of trees in the nearby square, surrounding some more cabins. And some Christmas lighting guiding our way back home. It was a fun evening to a fabulous day, before we fly back home tomorrow.
  8. The weather forecast for today had been really positive, consistently stating that it was going to be sunny. I was quite surprised then when Tim opened the curtains this morning and found that it was snowing outside When we stepped out of the apartment after breakfast, we were the first to walk in the fresh snow The plan for the morning had been to go and see some different earth pyramids near Oberbozen. The path towards them started just outside our hotel. When we attempted to follow the route though, we found that the path was quite steep and slippery, with rocks just about covered in snow. We made it part of the way and I was hoping that the path was going to flatten off after a while, but it continued to go quite steeply down, so in the end we gave up and climbed back towards the road. The road itself was beautiful; we were the first people to walk in the fresh snow here too We decided to walk up to the station and catch the train to go and revisit the earth pyramids we'd seen at Klobenstein on Friday instead. It seemed like a good idea to stay high up, because if it had been snowing up here then it had probably been raining down in Bolzano. The walk to the station was very scenic in the snow We walked past the cable car to the train station. It was a lot busier than it had been on Friday; there seemed to be a tour group of Italians. We managed to squeeze on and get a seat though. The whole landscape which we travelled through was covered in snow and when we got off the train in Klobenstein, this was the view that awaited us. Wow. We hadn't been able to see these mountains at all when we were here on Friday! We walked on snowy pavements towards the pyramids. A pond which we'd passed on Friday was now almost completely frozen. The ducks looked rather cold! I was excited to get to a roadside viewpoint where the entire view had been covered in clouds the other day. There was still a bit of cloud today, but we could see a lot more We could see the church in the distance more clearly too, and now it was completely surrounded by snow We'd had no idea that all these mountains were here when we'd walked along the path the other day It didn't take long to get to the viewing platform for the earth pyramids. They looked really cool with snow on top of the stones that sit on top of them The views of the mountains from the viewing platform were amazing too. We were lucky that the cloud was just in the right position not to obscure the mountain tops. We even caught sight of some mountain goats in a field below us. They must have been rather cold! Then it was time for us to head back towards Klobenstein. It was nearly lunch time by this point, so we walked back towards the village to see whether there was anywhere we could get food. There didn't seem to be a lot of options, so we caught the train back to Oberbozen and the cable car down to Bolzano, where we ended up going to the same restaurant (and having the same meals!) as we did the other day. The food genuinely was really good! Bolzano itself seemed really busy, with lots of people out shopping. It all looked very festive though and there were some lovely Christmas decorations. We decided to go back up to the hotel for a while, then head down to Bolzano in the evening to see the Christmas lights switched on There was still a fair bit of snow in Oberbozen once we got back up on the cable car. The roads had been gritted though, so it was easier to walk back to the hotel. Once back in the hotel, we were able to watch a beautiful sunset from our window
  9. 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
  10. The weather forecast for today hadn't promised great things, and it was a little bit damp when we stepped out of our hotel this morning. It was also quite misty, and we couldn't see any of the higher mountains in the distance. We walked up through the village, which looked pretty with its Christmas decorations. We could see that there had been a reasonable amount of snow here in the not-so-distant past. Our plan for today was to catch the Ritten train, which travels along the plateau towards a town called Klobenstein (Collalbo in Italian). The journey was free with the travel cards we bought yesterday, which was a bonus We had a pleasant journey in a train that was nearly empty, and it wasn't long before we were stepping off the train in Klobenstein. We had come here in search of earth pyramids, and it wasn't long before we saw a sign pointing towards them. We walked past a house which had some enormous gnomes... ...and then down through the village. One of the hotels had a rather unusual nativity scene outside Signs led us to the the neighbouring village of Lengmoos/Longomoso, which looked like a really pretty little place. From there we passed what looked like it was supposed to be a viewpoint, but there wasn't much of a view today. Before long we caught sight of a little church in the distance. It looked like it was in danger of being obscured by the clouds... ...and soon it actually was! We were following the path that was supposed to lead us to the earth pyramids, but I was starting to get a bit worried that once we got there we wouldn't actually be able to see them with so much low cloud! We also passed a sign which said that the path was only open as far as the first viewing platform, so we weren't sure how much we were going to be able to see. We reached the viewing platform and it was indeed rather misty! It looked like this might be the best view I was getting of an earth pyramid When we looked over the railing, we could just make out something which might be earth pyramids behind the clouds. It was very atmospheric, but I had hoped to have a clearer view! Luckily, once we'd been standing there a while, the cloud started to move The church became visible again and we even got a glimpse of the higher mountains in the distance. Now we could see the earth pyramids better too! Once we could see them properly it became clear what unusual structures they are. The info board explained that earth pyramids were formed by rainwater eroding soil which contains large rocks. The soil under the rocks is protected from the erosion and - over the course of thousands of years - a pyramid of earth is formed beneath the stone. The process requires a certain type of soil, as well as periods of heavy rains followed by drought in which the earth can solidify. All of this makes the earth pyramids which are found here quite rare. Seeing the stones balancing on top of the pyramids is really cool - it doesn't look like it ought to be possible! By the time we were leaving, the weather was an awful lot better than when we had arrived. We walked back towards Klobenstein, to catch the train back to Oberbozen. The return journey wasn't quite as peaceful, because the train was full of children on their way home from school! Once we got to Oberbozen, we caught the cable car down the mountain to Bolzano. It was so cloudy that we could barely see a thing! It was around 2pm by this time and we were rather hungry, so we had come down to Bolzano with the aim of finding lunch. I expected there to be lots of restaurants in Bolzano, but somehow we struggled to find one. There was a restaurant near the main square (but the prices were quite expensive) and a couple of pizza places (but we had pizza last night, so were hoping for something different). There was the added complication that we'd missed the official lunch time, so not everywhere was still open and serving. We walked around for what felt like quite a while, before eventually finding a restaurant that seemed promising Tim had Wienerschnitzel with potato salad and cranberries. ...while I had a turkey schnitzel with fried potatoes The food was really delicious While we were eating the rain in Bolzano seemed to become a bit heavier though. We had a brief walk around, finding the cathedral with its colourful roof. The centre of town was looking quite festive. There was a little Christmas market in the main square... ...a beautiful Christmas tree... ...plus a ferris wheel in the distance. As we walked back towards the cable car station, we passed some more lovely decorations. There was a tree covered in red baubles beside an ice rink... ...plus these rather cool reindeer The cable car back up to Oberbozen was very cloudy again and the rain seems to have got worse this evening. The forecast for tomorrow isn't very promising, but we've certainly made the most of the weather today and had some fun
  11. We haven't been away before Christmas for several years - not since 2013 when we last went to the Christmas markets in Ljubljana and Zagreb - so booking a trip to Bolzano before Christmas this year was something that happened quite spontaneously. We were watching the Eurovision song contest... or, at least, I was watching the Eurovision song contest... and Tim was sitting in the same room watching it under sufferance... and somehow he managed to get so bored that he started playing around on Skyscanner and found cheap flights to Verona in the week before Christmas. Admittedly they were from Gatwick and would require quite an early start, but the temptation of a cheap flight was too much for us to resist. When researching where we could go, Tim found some pictures of Bolzano in winter which looked really pretty, and so we soon had a plan When the alarm went off at 02.30 this morning I was admittedly slightly less excited by the concept of an early flight from Gatwick We had a smooth journey down though, arriving at the airport by 6am and with plenty of time to have breakfast at Wetherspoons. Our plane boarded quite early too, but unfortunately it ended up taking off around 50 minutes behind schedule. Unbeknown to us, there is some sort of industrial action going on in France at the moment which includes French air traffic controllers being on strike. Because of that, lots of flights were being rerouted to avoid flying through French air space, and that was causing congestion. I ended up falling asleep before we took off, although take off itself did wake me up because it felt like the plane was being blown from side to side as it raced down the runway! There was a bit of turbulence during the flight itself and overall the skies seemed quite cloudy. We didn't have much of a view because we had middle and aisle seats, and the person next to us had the window blind closed for a lot of the flight. It was around midday by the time we touched down in Verona, where the pilot announced that it was a rather mild 12 degrees! It certainly didn't feel freezing cold when we stepped off the plane and I started to regret having brought so many cold weather clothes with me. We've been to Verona before but never to Verona airport, and first impressions were that it seemed pretty small. We had to queue for ages at passport control because pretty much the entire flight had to pass through three automatic passport control gates, but the upside was that our luggage was already coming round the conveyor belt by the time we got out There is a frequent bus service from the airport to the main train station in Verona, with tickets costing €6. There was a bus outside the airport when we arrived, but there was quite a big queue and it already seemed pretty full. We decided to give it a miss rather than try to push our way on and wait for the next one instead. That turned out to be a good decision; the next bus came within 15 minutes and it wasn't more than half full, which was good because it was one of those airport buses that doesn't have anywhere to put your luggage. We arrived at Verona Porta Nuova around 13.15 and went to a ticket machine to buy our tickets to Bolzano. It cost around €15 each on the regional train, which didn't seem too bad considering it was a journey of nearly 2 hours. The next train was leaving at 13.50, so we purchased tickets for that and then had a look around the station to see whether there was anywhere we could get a quick lunch while we waited. The eating options in Verona's station turned out to be a bit limited, and so we ended up getting a snack from Burger King (I know, this sounds like a dreadful thing to do when you've just arrived in Italy, but we were hungry ). All the signs and railway announcements said that our train was running late, but confusingly it actually turned up early and we were soon on our way towards Bolzano. Once we had left the outskirts of Verona behind, the journey quickly became really scenic. Although it was quite a grey and cloudy day, the mountains still looked beautiful (The photos aren't very good because there was a lot of reflection in the train window!) We passed through lots of interesting little places, and within half an hour or so we were getting our first glimpses of little bits of snow on the mountaintops. We arrived in Bolzano just after 15.30 and made our way from the main train station to the station of the Renon cable car. Our hotel is in the village of Soprabolzano/Oberbozen, which sits on a plateau above the main city of Bolzano at an altitude of around 1200m. Because we anticipated that we might be travelling up and down the mountain quite a bit over the next few days, we invested in a Mobilcard; this cost €28 each for 7 days and allows us to travel on most of the public transport in the region. The choices are 1, 3 or 7 days and it made sense to buy for 7, even though we aren't here for that long, because it was only €5 more than for the 3-day pass, and a single journey on the Renon cablecar would otherwise cost €6 each. This is the first time we've ever caught a cable car to our hotel and so I was quite excited As we got higher up we could see more snow in the distance. Soon we were at the top and only had a walk of a few hundred metres to get to our hotel. There were tiny little patches of snow on the grass, which suggested that there had recently been snow up here but that it had now thawed. We found the hotel without any difficulties but it was all shut up and there was a sign saying that reception would be open again at 18.00. Luckily, the owners had left us a note with our key... and luckily we were able to read German to follow the instructions We found our room and it is really beautiful It's more like a studio apartment than a hotel room. And the views out the window are fantastic I was in definite need of a nap by this point, so it was early evening by the time we set out to find some food. Everywhere was looking very festive There aren't loads of restaurant options up here, but we found a little pizzeria and shared a four cheeses plus a salami pizza. Then it was back to the hotel for an early night! The weather forecast isn't great for the next couple of days, but rain-permitting I'm definitely looking forward to exploring more tomorrow
  12. Today we didn't need to travel anywhere for a change, so we opted to have a relaxing day in Bolzano. We spent the morning exploring the town centre, which is really beautiful. The patterned roof of the cathedral looked lovely against the clear blue sky. Turrets seemed to be a popular feature on many of the big buildings. The centre of town is quite compact and so before long we found ourselves walking in a park alongside the river Talfer. We saw an enormous castle, surrounded by vineyards. The weather was so clear that in the distance we got our first glimpse of the spiky Dolomites. The views of the countryside surrounding Bolzano were gorgeous... ...and we spotted even more castles in the distance. After a few miles we crossed the river and walked back along the other side. We were aiming for the Siegesplatz, where there is a controversial victory monument. The monument was erected on the orders of Mussolini following the annexation of South Tyrol, to celebrate the victory of Italy in the First World War. Its construction was seen as extremely provocative by the German-speaking population at the time and it continues to be a source of tension, to the extent that it is permanently fenced off to stop people defacing it. We walked back into the centre of town, towards the archaeological museum. We don't often visit museums when we are on holiday, but this one is the home of Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy of a man who lived around 3000 BC and who was found in the nearby mountains in 1991. There is an interesting exhibition in the museum featuring his tools and clothing and what they have allowed scientists to deduce about life at the time. In the afternoon we decided to take the Renon cablecar to Oberbozen, which is situated on a high plateau above the town. The cablecar is extremely modern and is apparently the longest cable car journey in the world at 4km. It certainly felt like a long journey and there were some beautiful views. When we got off the cablecar it was a bit tantalising, because the flat nature of the plateau meant that it was difficult to find a good vantage point to get views over the mountains. The shape of this mountain was particularly striking. Some of the other mountains looked very spiky too, but it was difficult to capture them clearly in photos. The Italian maps and path markers weren't quite as easy to understand as in Switzerland, but we eventually found a nice path to walk along towards the village of Maria Himmelfahrt. There was a lovely restaurant there where we stopped for a late lunch and didn't hear any Italian spoken at all. Pudding was distinctly un-Italian anyway! We could have continued our walk down to Bolzano, but unfortunately by the time we had finished eating the afternoon storm clouds were starting to gather. We decided to walk back to Oberbozen and take the cablecar down again instead. We managed to get down just before the rain started. It was another lovely day in beautiful surroundings
  13. Today was the second leg of our journey to Bolzano. We woke up in Zernez and after a lovely breakfast in the hotel took the short walk to the train station, from where we were due to be catching a postbus across the border to Mals in Italy. We were booked on a bus at 09.46, but having arrived at the station a bit too early, we ended up accidentally getting on the bus departing half an hour before that one instead. The destination was the same, so it didn't matter, and although it later transpired that we'd ended up on the slow bus which stopped at every single village rather than the express bus which went almost directly to Mals, it was actually rather fun to see all the villages en route. As we left Zernez, the bus took us first through the Swiss National Park towards the Ofen Pass. The route was quite hair-raising at times as we travelled alongside a river gorge. From the top of the pass we had a view towards another snowy peak... ...before we started descending into Val Müstair. There were some beautiful little villages in the valley... ..and they had an impressive backdrop. Shortly after Müstair we crossed the border into Italy. We were now officially in Südtirol The postbus terminated in Mals, a little village where almost the entire population is German-speaking. The entire province of Südtirol (or Alto Adige in Italian) was originally part of Austria, but was annexed by Italy following the First World War. At that time it was a completely German-speaking region, but following attempts to "Italianize" it during the Fascist era, both languages are now widely spoken. After the Second World War there was a brief terrorist campaign to liberate the area from Italian rule, and following intervention from the United Nations the local population ultimately secured significant autonomy from Italy. These days both German and Italian are official languages and all public signs are billingual. From Mals we were able to continue our journey towards Bolzano (or Bozen, as it is called in German) by train, first travelling to Merano. The scenery was just as attractive this side of the border, the mountains dotted with rather impressive castles. We arrived in Merano around lunchtime, so decided to make a quick halt there and grab some lunch. It took us a while to find the town centre, but when we did we were amazed to register quite how un-Italian it felt. Almost the first thing we saw as we left the station was a fastfood van selling "Würstl und Kraut"; this menu sign was obligingly translated into Italian too, but it didn't sound like a meal most Italians would be impressed by We eventually found a slightly more upmarket restaurant in town, where the menu featured Wiener Schnitzel, Gröstl and Apfelschorle. From Merano it was only a further short train ride to Bolzano, the regional capital. We are staying here for four nights in total, so were relieved to find that the apartment we had booked was extremely nice. After settling in, we set off for a preliminary stroll around Bolzano. The first sight we came to was the cathedral, with its pretty tiled roof. The cathedral is situated in the main square, Waltherplatz, where there is a big memorial to Walther von der Vogelweide, a twelfth century German poet. Although this is the centre of town, the mountains aren't far away. From the short walk we had, it seems like Bolzano is full of beautiful buildings. This is our favourite view so far, though. Tomorrow we hope to explore Bolzano in more detail and perhaps try the cable car above the town
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.