20 June 2010

Trip to Bolzano

Saturday, we all expected rain--but when I got up and checked the BBC weather for the region, the prediction seemed much better--partly cloudy and a 30% chance of rain--so when the girls across the hall asked me if I wanted to go to Bolzano--a beautiful alpine village--I decided it was the only chance weatherwise. We had a 30 minute window, but the fates smiled on us. We caught a bus to the stazione and got the 9:09 train for Bolzano. The scenery en route was beautiful, increasingly mountainous as we sped north along the Adige. We arrived in Bolzand to find . . . fairyland! Italy, but very different from Verona. Rococo buildings plastered in pink, green, and bright yellow, with elaborate ornamentation. The Renaissance happened, but somewhere along the way, Tinkerbell came along and flicked her magic wand and spread fairy dust all over the city. Even the Duomo was transformed into a high gothic masterpiece with a multicolored tile roof.
We wandered around, admiring everything, especially the pastries, and feeling the influence of Austria on northern Italy. After a quick trip to the Info Office, we learned that the Iceman has been laid to rest in Bolzano's Museo Archaeologico dell'Alto Adige. Ötzi, as he is known, was discovered in 1991 by two German hikers and is one of the oldest mummified corpses ever found. Also, Ötzi was a "wet mummy," which meant that his body could provide a great deal of scientific data about his life and context. He lived around 5000 years ago and today reposes in a refrigerated exhibit case in Bolzano for all the world to see. We loved the museum, but had more to see. We wandered through town and made our way to the cable car that carries commuters up into the mountains to a little village called Renon. The view from the cable car was spectacular, as was Renon. We took a little walk, after filling our water bottles at the "Trinkwasser" spring (German is the primary language here). By the time we were ready to stop for lunch, it was 2:30 and all restaurants were closed--so we went to the local pizzaria, where the proprietor proposed that we sit in her garden and enjoy a plate of local meats and cheeses and some wine. Perfecto, followed by cake--chocolate or apricot, both slathered with whipped cream. Serendipity, once again. Totally enjoyable.
After lunch, we made our way back down the mountain via cable car and caught a train home to Verona. We had a date for the Opera that we did not want to miss.

Here's a slideshow of our day:

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