Change of scenery was much needed after 3 long days in Rome. But before we reached Bolzano, a travel day consisted of an assigned seat train ride for 4 hours (crammed with the smell of smoke, seated next to street hasslers heading to Milano to hassle some more and a slight case of claustrophobia) reaching Bologna to transfer trains. Then another regional train (we decided to take the cheapest train ride possible to save money...which means stopping at every little Italian town on the map) for 4 more hours. Finally reaching Bolzano with German speaking Italians and cuisine...a charming town but the language barrier, I realized, was greatly increasing. From Bolzano, the next day, we took a bus ride winding up the steep mountain cliffs to reach a cable car that took you up to Alpe di Siusi, the largest alpine plateau in Europe and layed out in between the Dolomites. We sang "Do, a deer, a female deer...." all the way on our trek up (even though we weren't in the Austrian Alps with Maria and the Von Trapps....it sure felt like it). In the sprawling fields of green grass we....skipped, ran a little, picnicked with cheese, skipped some more, jumped for some picture opportunities, and walked all day. Basically this is a place to do just that. This region makes its money from the cows....which we definitely got up close and personal with. In a day we went from Rome to some place as far from that as possible.
Other fun encounters include: rain, Burger King in Innsbruck, finding a hostel last minute in Salzburg, drinking beer on the streets (then gurgling all afternoon), grocery store roaming, paying to pee, getting on the wrong train, going from knowing a little bit of Italian and getting by to resorting back to plain old English and hoping they spoke it too (now we are definitely tourists), realizing Munich is known for being the beer capital of the world and then going to its famous beer gardens, renting bikes and wearing sweatshirts in the summertime.
Next stop: Gimmelwald, Switzerland.
Bolzano: Our home base for Alpe di Siusi.
Alpe di Siusi: Which way shall we go?
Alpe di Siusi: Dolomites....getting closer!