Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sixth instalment

Something very different today! Following trips to Verona and Venice we joined an excursion to the Dolomites, to the north of Lake Garda. The area is extremely interesting from geographical and historical points of view; it's where Austria and Italy overlap in the magnificent South Tyrol. Last year we holidayed in Austria, and spent a week in the Tyrol region - I loved it there and desperately want to go back some time, and by taking this excursion we nearly did!

I don't have The Doctor to hand to confirm details as I type this so I'm relying on my memory of the history, but as I recall, this area was originally Austrian but was 'given' to Italy in some kind of deal during World War I. The fascist government tried very hard to impose an Italian identity here, banning the German language from being used in newspapers, school, administration, etc. It didn't exactly work! The region is now a complete mix of the Italian and the Austrian, and in fact some parts are tri-lingual, speaking Ladino in addition to German and Italian. There are separate German-speaking and Italian-speaking schools, and jobs in civic services are allocated proportionally to the number of people of each linguistic group according to the most recent census.

We saw evidence of this mix of languages and cultures all over the place - unfortunately we also saw some evidence of the rain that was due to hit later that day! But the low clouds added to the gorgeous views and we didn't get *too* wet... (Actually, not quite true! The Doctor and The Boy got soaked, but at that point The Girl and I had sensibly chosen to explore the shops instead of walking part-way up a mountain, so we had shelter!)

First stop was a little town called Ortisei:

This was an excursion which involved a lot of driving around to see the region (many hair-raising hair-pin bends and steep gradients!) We had frequent stops though to be able to take photographs like these:

Our driver had to avoid these goats at one point!

Another stop was the pretty town of Moena, and we were lucky enough to get a bit of sun breaking through here - a chance to enjoy some ice cream!

Then it was time to head back, stopping off at an amazing viewpoint along the way.

This was another really lovely day, it was great to be able to use a bit of my German after letting The Doctor take the lead with the Italian - and I'll always have a soft spot for the Tyrol region, so it was good to see another part of it :-)

While I was away I missed a challenge set by Rinda, to pair a photo and a haiku! I may have missed her deadline but I liked the idea a lot, so I had a little go:

Craggy limestone peaks
Reach up into the heavens -
I feel so tiny.

You know how you can have an idea in your head and it doesn't quite come out the way you imagined, especially after a delicious meal and half a bottle of wine as a belated anniversary celebration?! *sigh*... ;-)


Maria Ontiveros said...

Love the photos with the mists on the mountains and the village beneath. These towns really remind me of the ones along the Danube bend outside of Budapest.
And your haiku/photo are divine! Glad you got to play along.

JO SOWERBY said...

wow this area looks so beautiful. i am loving how ur pictures make me want to travel there.
Jo xxx

scrappyjacky said...

Have never been to this area, Mel....but your photos and description....make me want to add it to my list of 'places to go'...thanks.

Cheri said...

Dang girl - you really covered a lot of territory on your holiday! Can you see the hideous shade of green I've become??? LOVE the blown up photo of the rooftops. You really have the makings of a glorious vacation album!

Anonymous said...

I think your photos are really enhanced by the misty day. Such beautiful scenery! Your haiku and photo are wonderful!

Amy said...

I don't know ... I think the haiku turned out really well - perhaps that's the way to pen all poetry? ;-)
I'm so glad to see you have taken a photo of every ice-cream shop you have visited, it adds continuity to the photos! hehehehe
I'm off to get the atlas and to find where this town is, it is utterlt spectacular :-)

Amy said...

That last word is supposed to be utterly .... and I've had no wine at this time of the morning ;-)

jillconyers said...

The photos are all so beautiful. I continue to envy your trip :) TFS

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Gorgeous photos! Love the haiku

Liberty :) said...

gorgeous photos! very like the Alps. I'd like to visit the Dolomites so thanks for the inspiration!!!

Sian said...

Aha..the haiku!! Excellent. And gorgeous photos too.