At 9:00 am, a warm latte arrived at my table along with a plate filled with breakfast goodies (scrambled organic eggs, flaky croissants, cherries, raw organic honey and cheese made from healthy cow’s milk). From my table, I had a fascinating view of a valley with many outdoor activity options.
Welcome to Dreikirchen, readers, located in the region of Südtirol (South Tyrol), Italy. Now although the region of Südtirol is technically located in Italy, I have yet to encounter one Italian. It’s a region that historically used to belong to the Austrian Empire and is still German-speaking. It is not only predominately inhabited by locals whose native tongue is German (although many also speak Italian), but most visitors seem to come from Germany as well.
One thing I learned is that people in Germany have a lot of respect for the conservation of the outdoors, and that is evident in the Black Forest. If you ever hiked in the Black Forest you would have noticed that there are no vantage points (like watchtowers) at all. Why, I once asked? Reply received: “We don’t want to intervene and destroy nature”. I was thrilled to see that in Südtirol the attitude is quite different when it comes to vantage points – meaning there are many, many glorious vantage points and I will post numerous photos in celebration of this fact!
I was extremely excited to start our 4 hour hike one way.
There was talk at my table of which hiking route will best suit everyone and what hiking clothes will be appropriate for the weather we will be faced with at high altitudes. My mind was elsewhere – I was drifting in and out of an immense enjoyment deriving from smelling the fresh air, listening to the birds, looking at the cloud formation, well, honestly there are too many to name.
Suddenly, I was jolted and we were to start getting ready for our hike to the top point of the Peitlerkofel mountain (2,800 altitude – meters, not feet!). From Dreikirchen, it’s about a 45 minute drive to Zanser Alm, and then a short comfortable walk until it’s all up hill (Side note: training before starting to hike or climb in Südtirol is necessary, I learned this the hard way). With each breath and sip of water the steepness well, let’s face it, kept getting worse before it got any better. The amazing vantage points kept my mind occupied, thank god. Welcome distractions came from: cows, horses, sheep, ravens, cute marmots (really hard to take pictures of) and mountain goats. And “wild” birds… We were about 45 minutes from the top when I had to face the fact that I could no longer go any further, plus the last 10 minutes to the top was pure climbing and my legs were shaky from the extremeness endured thus far in the journey. Sad from the fact that I wasn’t able to see the view from the very top, Felix and I embarked on our way down, slightly at a slower pace taking in all the glorious beauty this particular landscape has to offer.
Part two coming soon… (with a lot more pictures!)