Saturday, August 14th
We slept in our modern hotel room a little too late, and got started a little too late. It was really hot already. Mark was having caffeine withdrawals by now
due to no coffee. They don’t really serve coffee as we know it, so we went to a little café and tried to order some coffee anyway, and some apple juice for
me. Mark held up one finger for one “café”…and got 2 espressos. Italians think the thumb is the first finger to count…so everytime we would hold up 1
finger, we would get 2…and every time we would hold up 2 fingers, we would get 3. We finally figured it out, but it took us about a week. Then I wanted to
order juice and pointed to a granny smith apple and squeezed my hand. So she took the apple and cored it and then put it in a juicer. I had fresh granny
smith apple juice! It was SO good! But that is sure not what I expected! Of course, the whole time she is serving us she is waving her hands and talking
½ Italian and ½ German about “stupido Americanos”.
We walked around our hotel grounds……the piazza and church……and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Then we began to look “up and out” and discovered the rest of the town.
The town of 100,000 and stores surrounding the town were definitely geared toward skiers and their outfits. It was still a
party-town even though it was the middle of summer.
People that live in Bolzano seem to dislike Italians
even more than Americans. There has been an
ongoing tussle with Austria over control for
centuries…and its still evident today in their attitude
towards each other. Being right on the Austrian
border, a lot of people speak German instead of
Italian. As if it wasn’t difficult enough to talk to
people in our own special language of English-
learning-Italian. Oops. I did not bring any German
translation books. But, oh well, we point a lot and
shrug even more. We had lunch at a little outdoor
café, Mark had “cuattro formaggi macaroni”…4
cheese macaroni. It was soooo good.
Italian Tirol, sits
right under the
“Alpe de Siusi”
And then we took a tram, the Ritten lift, to the top of Bolzano to a city called Oberbozen. They speak even more German there. We walked along a little
trail and looked at the beautiful countryside before catching a train to another town. It was almost cool outside! So refreshing! Church bells were chiming
all over town and echoing everywhere. It was so green and Austrian and German. Everyone drives very fast. There were hills everywhere dotted with
white Swiss-chalet type homes with dark brown shutters.
It was still about only ½ way to a terrific view of the “Dolomites”…Swiss Alps. But just seeing the Alps in the distance was pretty amazing. As we were
arriving by “tassi”…taxi, the driver said we could spend 10 days in Bolzano alone. Now we understood why she said that. This was my favorite place in
Italy. I would go back and live here if I could. There was something about it that I could easily call home.
We finally caught the train with 200 of our other closest friends who were all squashed in this hot, sweaty, stinky train. Mark was literally hanging out of the
door. But we finally arrived at Collabo. We tried to get a drink at the café, but the lady’s cash register broke. And we waited like very impatient Americans
for her to get it fixed. PHEW. Finally got it taken care of and “dove il bagno”…where’s the bathroom? We walked for quite a while.....
We walked for quite awhile…
…and we finally arrived at the “earth
pyramids”. They are funny pointed things,
where the soft dirt wears away below and
leaves a harder rock sitting on top. They
looked incredibly silly next to all these
beautiful green hills.
And then 30-40 minutes walk back to the train…and on to the tram for the ride back down to Bolzano.
We picked a different outdoor café to eat at when we arrived back at the piazza. They had a piano
player on a baby grand. Various customers would get up and sing their favorite songs in Italian along
with the piano player. It was fun and very special.
We started getting the hang of Italian meals by now…and why it takes them so long to eat. They
order several courses. The first is “antipasti”…appetizers. 2nd is the first course pasta dish. 3rd is
their second course (usually a steak or other meat dish). 4th is a salad or mixed vegetables. And
next is something sweet. And last is coffee or tea. How they can even think about drinking coffee
when it’s so hot, I’ll never know.
We tried “frisulli”…a hard bagel type round bread, that had been soaked in olive oil and then covered
with tons of chopped up tomatoes and basil. And “gnocchi”…a small potato-type dumpling with a
typical pasta sauce on top. Yum. And of course! Gelato as we walked about the town and sat at the
fountain in the piazza.