Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hiking in South Tyrol -- Day 1

Meran/Merano, South Tyrol (Italy)
(Very important! If this post is cut off at the bottom, reload the page. This usually solves the problem.)

We head to the Dolomites and the surrounding mountains near Meran(o) at least once a year. I am a crazy hiker. I love trudging up a mountain--is it really "trudging" when you love it?--in the broiling sun. I love steep walks and narrow paths along 200-metre drops. I love nature! The sounds of little animals in the trees! The smell of freshly cut hay! A sudden cool breeze against my sweat-soaked . . . yeah, the first day in Meran(o) we ended up going shopping.

See, Andrew the mountain goat breeder had "grown out" of his only hiking shorts and needed an upgrade, if you know what I mean. I should talk. The shoulder injury that has plagued my last 12 months (that's a year!) has affected my workout schedule. Well, actually it has deleted it. I've also put on a couple of kilos, but thanks to genetics, I've kept the same waste size since I was 14 years old. My shorts will still fit me even when my belly is hanging a foot over them. Thank you, genetics.

Meran(o) draws us back every year for lots of reasons. A couple of years ago I published an article at Bootsnall Travel about the town, so if you want more information about this incredible place, go HERE.

 Here are my favorite photos of Meran/Merano (If you haven't figured it out by now, German and Italian are spoken in South Tyrol.)

I got up early in the morning to catch Merano sleeping.

The town is usually buzzing with people of all ages and lifestyles, but at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday I had Merano to myself.

Beautiful topiary. I have so many pictures of these.

The roar of the Passer River is a constant in Merano.

The best gelato in Merano
I hate shopping. I'd much rather be hiking. I hate any place where its concept is based on slow, aimless browsing. Museums and department stores are pretty much the same species to me; they're certainly in the same family. When I'm in a museodepartment store-type place, I can feel varicose veins spreading up my legs towards my soul. Moving sidewalks would be good for these places--to herd the tourists-slash-shoppers a bit faster. If it were possible to run through a museodepartment store, I might enjoy these places. But--sadly--I'd be arrested.

More sadness: Andrew the mountain goat breeder did not find a new pair of hiking shorts on our first day in Meran(o). And to make matters even sadder, we capped off our first day of "hiking"--we did take the stairs in the sportswear shops--with gelato and a drink called a veneziano (aperol, sparkling wine and a splash of mineral water). Well, this is what one does in Meran(o).

On day two of hiking in South Tyrol, we did end up eating our lunch on a rock at the top of a mountain. More about that next time.
Due veneziani

I must be off,