Tag Archives: Alto Adige

The sun’ll come out, tomorrow (Alto Adige, Italy – Day Three)

Thanks to the generosity of Franz Haas who put me up for the night in Ora, I didn’t have as far to travel both to and from my accommodation. Sleeping in a bit was blessed relief, as was the necessity to spend so much time in the car. Whilst it is nice to have a private room, a large bed, my own bathroom and general peace and quiet, it does get very lonely of an evening. It’s bad enough that I spend so much time in the car by myself, particularly on those long drives between regions. Travelling in Europe so far has been more difficult, as when I have been able to find hostels to stay at in the regions, they have been either empty, full of families/school groups, or the young people staying there are working or studying and not interested in socialising. The weekend I had in Vienna was fantastic, and staying with friends in Paris and Dusseldorf were great. This is one of the reasons I am so glad to be in Italy, because people seem so much more generous and hospitable and I am looking forward to sharing great times and meeting people here over the next eight weeks.

Protected viticulture in Terlan

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Italian generosity (Alto Adige, Italy – Day Two)

For I think the first day since I arrived in Europe, today I was able to go outside not wearing my jacket, as the weather was sunny and warm(ish). Alto Adige actually gets over 300 days of sunshine each year, which not helps for the ripening of the grapes, but also gives everyone here a sunny outlook. One of my hosts on the previous day actually asked me if I had brought the rain and fog with me from Germany. Part and parcel of this sunny outlook is their love of simple pleasures, such as good food and wine. On my first two days in the region, two wineries gave me lunch, and another offered to put me up for a night nearby. When you have been travelling for six months with another 10 to go, watching money steadily drain out of your accounts, these simple gestures have the biggest resonance. It also puts me in a really positive mood, and lets me overlook any difficulties I may be having with my travel. The great news is that I have some work organised in Germany and my visa is not far away, the problem is that I have to return to Germany to collect it in person. Ce la vie!

My first prosciutto crudo in Italy

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I say tomato, you say potato (Alto Adige, Italy – Day One)

Well I’ve finally made it to Italy, but as anyone who has crossed the border from Austria would know, it doesn’t quite feel like Italy yet. Alto Adige is also known as Sudtirol  or South Tyrol. This is because for centuries the whole area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up until the end of WWI. After this point the Italian border was set at the Brenner Pass on the Southern side of the Alps, but the citizens remained proudly Tyrolean. Hence they continued to speak German (albeit an Austrian dialect), ate Austrian food, and made many wines from German/Austrian varieties such as pinot bianco/weissburgunder, pinot grigio/grauburgunder, gewurtztraminer and muller-thurgau. During the fascist era Mussolini attempted to make Alto Adige an Italian speaking region like the rest of the country, by introducing southerners into the area. But the inhabitants are stubborn and proud, and now there is a mix of Italian and German spoken, almost on opposite sides of the narrow valley that makes its way south towards Trentino.

Pergola trellising at Tiefenbrunner; now I’m south of the Alps

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