Thursday, October 10, 2013

Don’t Mention the War!

We are in a brilliant campsite in the Alto Adige in the shadow of the Dolomites – but more commonly known as Süd Tirol. This bit of the world has only been a part of Italy since WW1, and it shows. The first language here is always German, rarely do we hear Italian spoken. The architecture is pure Tyrolean with a touch of Bavarian. I have to remind myself that we are still in Italy.

Local town of Seis


The campsite itself is full of Germans. There are about 3 Swiss, 1 Austrian, 1 Italian, us, and around 300 Germans. The standard greeting is ‘Gruss Gott’, which always makes me chuckle, as I think “what’s God got to do with it? Maybe He had a hand in building the bathrooms which are the best we’ve come across in our travels so far – really luxurious. In fact the whole site is fantastic - location, staff, views, facilities – 5 star all round.

The weather has been hit and miss – more ‘miss’ really as I was wondering if the Dolomites actually existed, being covered in clouds most of the time. One would teasingly poke its head out occasionally only to disappear again. Even the valley below would play tricks on us. We did some low level walking to neighbouring towns, etc waiting for the cloud to lift.

The walking trails here are wonderful – well signposted and easy to follow, so we have made the most of it. Day 4 we were rewarded with a fine day so took the opportunity of taking the cable car up the mountain to 1800 metres to start our walk.

The ‘Dollies’ really showed off that day – absolutely stunning scenery all around. Our 13 km walk was mostly at around 2200 metres, and being very Austrian, a café or a restaurant when you needed one.

Our high mountain walk
We stumbled on a wine and food festival in one of the towns, so naturally joined in the fun. Plenty of food and winetasting stalls, complete with oom-pah bands, lederhosen and dirndl skirts.

Band member taking time out!
The towns here are all impossibly neat, with balconies groaning under the weight of geraniums and petunias. There’s barely a leaf out of place or a deadhead to be seen. Firewood is obviously cut with a tape measure to hand.

The food is fusion Italian/German – and it kind of works. It’s not a food marriage that would normally spring to mind, but red wine risotto with speck tastes OK!

Today we did some serious wine tasting in the heart of the Alto Adige wine region. The cellar door bloke at Alois Lageder winery really knew his stuff and we must have tasted about 30 wines – such variety. Lovely cool climate Chardonnays, Pinot Blancs, Gewurtztraminer and quite a few indigenous varieties of variable appeal. Foolishly we bought a case of wine that I of course had to stuff into nooks and crannies – might never find it again.

Sadly, we leave tomorrow. The forecast is poor (snow tomorrow night), and we have been told that the Campsite at Lake Bled in Slovenia is not to be missed. It closes on October 15, so we’ll head straight there. Will spend about 10 days or so in Slovenia.

Photo of campsite bathroom entrance for Maggie!!

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