Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hiking in South Tyrol -- Day 3

The Maiser Waalweg near Merano
I've forgotten to tell you about our holiday apartment. Zea Apartments in Merano is a great, friendly place with a nice pool and plenty of places to rest in its beautiful garden (which we never had time to use, but hey). I did, however, go swimming every morning for my shoulder. Who knew? Swimming actually helps.

So I'm up early--way before Andy the goat guy--and eager to get my swim in before the hike. One problem: bending my legs is not happening. My calves are shot and my knees are shotter. For a few minutes, I think I've screwed up the whole trip. I hobble to the bathroom. I hobble to the balcony where my swimsuit is. I hobble to the kitchen and make coffee. I hobble.

Tempting
After a few minutes of hobbling, my legs actually start to feel a bit better. Maybe life is good after all. I head for the pool. Hmmm. See, we're on the third floor of the apartment house, and we usually take the stairs--as a matter of principle. My principles hurt like hell after the first three steps, so I climb back up and take the elevator. Shhhh. It's our secret.

The pool feels good.

When I return to the room, Andy (goat breeder), has already found "the perfect" hike. "We're going to stay in the valley today. I've found the perfect trail."

"You mean a granny trail."

"Yep." Andy stands up with difficulty and hobbles to the bathroom. "Yep."

Annoying water wheel clunker
The Maiser Waalweg is truly beautiful. We started walking from the apartment, through the streets of Merano, leading to a path into the apple orchards. A Waalweg always runs along the ancient--but still working--irrigation channels of the orchards and vineyards. An interesting fact: This water wheel to the left clunks with every rotation to indicate how much water is flowing through it. Supposedly, this was a way to see who was getting how much water. It's an annoying, loud clunk, and this one is about ten meters from someone's home. I would go nuts.

The path was easy but long. We still hiked over five hours but always along a moderately level path. Granny trails have their place.

A little "Jausenstation" (refreshment stop) on the Maiser Waalweg.
And their rewards. At some point we happened upon a little Jausenstation with a bottle of red wine. You throw some money in the can and take a cup of (fairly awful) wine. We threw two euros in and had a couple of cups with our lunch. Later we even picked an apple, which I paid for of course. Right now there must be over 10 million apples ripening on the trees of South Tyrol. Does the world need this many apples--all at once? These are the issues one thinks of on a Granny Waalweg.

Next time Day 4.

I must be off,
Christopher