Saturday, January 19, 2008

Guten Tag from...Italy, of course!

A few weekends ago we went to a village called Sesto. It's nestled in the Italian Alps (Dolomites) in a region called Alto Adige. Also known as South Tyrol. Also known as Bolzen. Oh, and Bolzano.

Confused? You're not alone. One skiiable mountain divides this Italian region from Austria. After WWI, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire lost this zone to Italy, even though over 90% of its residents spoke German. And still do. They speak German at home, in school, in shops, and will switch to German-accented Italian only when pressed. Signs are both in German and Italian. Here's a local bakery run by the Happacher family. Note which language takes first billing.Reflected in the window is one of those gingerbread-looking houses that are scattered up the mountain-sides and throughout the villages of this region. (It appears that I'm quite the photographer here, doesn't it? But I must say that I didn't even realize there was anything reflected in the window until I looked at the photo a few days later...).

Here's the house where we always stay when we go to Sesto:

The paintings around the windows are also very typical here. Here's a close-up of the front door:

Two things to notice here:

1. Above the door, in German, it says that the house was built in 1698, and rennovated in 1973.

2. The chalk writing on the top of the right-hand door was for the Epiphany--villagers dressed as the Three Wise Men come to everyone's door and leave their initials: G+M+B surrounded by the numbers of the new year, 2008.
It feels like you've stepped into a story book. With good food.

Skiing is the main industry in the winter, and that's just what we did. Although, I use the term "we" loosely. My husband learned to ski in this village when he was a boy, he skis like poetry-in-motion. Whereas I ski more like a third-grader's-essay-on-momentum-in-motion. Which means I hang with our two-year-old while our girls ski with my husband. Usually. Here's a shot from the gondola:

This is my favorite part of skiing...the rifugo at the top of the mountain where you can drink hot chocolate or warm vin brule.

They also had this snow sculpture at the top next to a playground (My kids are the three dressed in snowpants and jackets):

Arrivederci...and Auf Viedersehen!


Susan Sandmore said...

What a gorgeous place! Thanks for sharing. The shot from the gondola thing made jump. I don't think I could take it in real life, if I can't even look at a picture!

Were the snowmen real?

C.K. said...

Beautiful! And I love the snow sculpture (the snowmen definitely do look real!). If I were there I'd be hanging out with you and your two year old rather than skiing though. I'm all for roller coasters but uncontrolled speed and sharp drops without the track, a cart and a harness to keep me from falling out -- um, I'll just sit here and enjoy the scenery, thanks.

Natalie said...

Hi Susan! Yes, the snowmen were real. It would have neat to see how they were made. Thanks for stopping by!

Hey C.K.,
Come over anytime and you and I will take our seats outside the hut with our warm drinks (I'll have my husband take all three kids). :-)

C.K. said...

That would be lovely, Natalie! :)

Rose Green said...

Wilkommen! Awesome pictures. They look just like "home." (Well--no skiing in Nurnberg, but the rest of it is the same.)

Awesome snowmen, too!

Julie_c said...

Well, the only photo that came up for me was the one of your kids and the snowmen - but what BIG snowmen they were!!! I will try to view the rest on a different browser.

Sounds like a fun trip.

Natalie said...

Thanks, Rose! I'm sure you'd feel right at home here, and your 4 kids would love this place...more than enough snowmen to go around.

Julie, sorry you couldn't see all the Mac user, you. ;-)

Angela said...

Hey Natalie, you should also check out Sauris, another German village in that part of Italy. We visited in summer and spring and loved it. Nice weather, beautiful view, lake for swimming and the food- oh the food!