Saturday, June 6, 2009


We hiked in the Alpi di Siusi area of the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Northern Italy. The Alto Adige (or Sudtirol) is a German-speaking area, and in fact used to be part of Austria till the end of World War I. It's a mountainous region, and castles perch on cliffsides poised to tax the medieval traveler making his way through a pathway between the peaks. Romans passed through here on their way to conquer and spread the empire. As in all of Italy, the sense of place and history is palpable.

It's beautiful up here. The limestone peaks of the Dolomites rise above alpine pastures, and further north they will attain the splendid heights of the Alps. Maybe it's the thin air, but it feels dreamlike. Armed with sunblock and canteens, we hiked up the zigzagging trails to the highest meadowlands in Europe. The hills were alive with the sound of music...but no yodeling.

Yodeling is verboten here (to curtail avalanches) but if yodeling is against the law then only outlaws will yodel, so I put my hands on my hips and let loose a feeble warble. The earth did not move. Two shaggy mountain goats stopped chewing grass to give me the evil eye, what the Italians call malocchio. (I don't know what the Germans call it.)

After all that hiking and yodeling, we dropped down to Bolsano (called Bozen by German speakers) to soothe our sunburns and thirst at a friendly Paulaner Bierstube with outdoor tables and sun umbrellas. You can always count on Teutons for a great beer.


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