Tuesday, September 12, 2006

SUMMER HOLIDAYS, day 06: padlocks on bridges, poetry on benches

saturday, 19 august. it's good to have one's own personal tourist guide, especially one who knows quite a bit about the city he lives in (merano, in this case) as well as its surroundings. alex does a wonderful job that day, and he probably isn't personally to blame for un-cooperative mountains ("over there are many mountains that are over 3000m high, only you cannot see them right now, because of the clouds ..." - a sentence we grow rather fond of that day).

over there, the mountains over 3000 metres ...

first, we walk around the city centre where it becomes apparent that alex knows just about every other person who isn't a tourist. the place is packed. but quite beautiful. lovely arcades. parks. jugendstil buildings. brand-new thermal baths. the catholic church. padlocks on a bridge, left there by those who are done with military service, and happy about it.

we've left the army now!

a very inviting promenade along the passer river, that goes past the spa house. we're following in the footsteps of empress sissi here, and in the wandelhalle, a colonnade whose walls are decorated with paintings of landscapes in south tyrol. we follow the gilf promenade, quite a romantic path that leads up to the zenoburg castle. subtropical plants grow along the way, and on the other side of the promenade, the passer river has eaten its way into rock, forming a gorge.

what appeals to me is the benches along the gilf promenade - most of them are inscribed with lines from poems, in italian, german, and even in english. what a lovely idea!

one single specimen of eternity - each of us poets.

up we go until we have reached the pulverturm (powder tower). we climb the stairs, and yes, alex is right: what a great view of the city and the surrounding countryside and mountains! houses, churches, narrow streets lie at our feet. in every direction - mountains. though of course, those over 3000 metres hight, well ... those clouds ... *grin*

merano & surroundings

and although alex looks like a really nice guy, well, he can do things like this to unsuspecting visitors:

will you let us out if we do the washing up?

the gilf promenade joins the tappeiner weg, a high-altitude promenade that's actually about 4 km long and goes as far as the village of gratsch - which you will hear about again on another day. we follow the tappeiner weg as far as the serpentines to descend into merano's centre again.

live long and prosper!

i wish i could remember half of what alex tells us!

pretty soon we head back to the car and pay a visit to alex' parents before going shopping and getting changed at home. that evening, we join alex and several relatives at a pizzeria - an aunt and cousins, alex' parents and his sister martina whom we have not seen in far too long, and a cousin's cute little boy who is very fond of motor cycles. it's quite fun actually. afterwards, martina, alex and the two of us sit and chat over few drinks, and we don't go to bed till very late.

pictures of day 06


Sam of the ten thousand things said...

I'm enjoying the pictures. Thanks for the posts.

Lauren Mitchell said...

I love the photo of the bench. And of you "in prison"!