by train to bolzano, ötzi and winter's end

a first for me last saturday: since the day we arrived in merano almost four months ago, i finally left my nearest environment by another mode of transportation than my own feet. till then actually, i went once by bus to the hardware shop a couple of stations away, and otherwise only walked in town and on pathways, and hiked on mountain trails – as for the furthest to something like 12 km outside the city limits.

so, it finally happened on saturday that we took the train in the afternoon for a short trip to bolzano. bolzano the capital city of south tyrol, and with a population of nearly 107,000 it’s also far the largest city of the province. there, we went to say hello to ötzi, the 5,300 years old iceman, at the south tyrol museum of archeology. cool thing. and to get back on our feet again after such a memorable moment, we choose the "stadt café città" for a delicious apfelstrudel, and a millefeuille as well because italian/south tyrolean dolci are just good and addictive!, with coffee and, well, a spritz, enjoying the fine blend of viennese charm and italian savoir-vivre.

in other news, a (for our standards) short winter is ending. last week, temps reached 10° and have been above since then. sunshine became stronger, days longer, some early plants are already blossoming yellow, birds are singing again, it smells like spring. how nice.

it’s been a dry and very sunny winter, the driest one since 75 years. without any heavy snowfall. merano got snowed after 7 weeks of sunshine on one single day. on friday 13rd january, would you believe. it stopped snowing after some hours and blue sky was quickly back. still it’s been the coldest winter of the last 40 years, an unusual dry and freezing cold period that has set local farming’s nerves on edge. as end of january some rain finally came, farmers, especially winegrowers, could breathe easier again.

to us, all that just means that we already took the worst of what winter is likely to be here. it hasn’t been too bad, either bearable. i know there is far worse than that, like rain for days and days. then it’s all good.

there a photo update.