Friday, September 22, 2006

SUMMER HOLIDAYS, day 08: ultimate valley

monday, 21 august. while alex has to go back to work today, sepp and i take archie for a ride. or the other way round. from lana on, the road winds its way towards st gertraud in the val d'ultimo (ultental / ultimo valley). alex has recommended this valley because there aren't that many tourists, it's famous for the old farmhouses, and there is a hiking trail which takes you from one village to the next, and back.

we leave the car in st nikolaus and make our way towards the trail in the direction of st gertraud, at the back of the valley. the weather is lovely, sunny and warm. just what we need. the farmhouses we pass on our way are indeed gorgeous - old wooden houses with traditional roofs, usually a lot of flowers on their balconies and in beautiful gardens.

the pastures surrounding the farms are exceptionally steep - working here must be incredibly tiresome as everything has to be done manually.

we're both amazed at cows that are grazing even further up on those steep pastures. whatt if they lose their footing? do they land on unsuspecting hikers' heads? or has it, quite simply and quite amazingly, never happened?

at st gertraud we stop for lunch, at a restaurant across from a small mill. it's rather quiet here, and quite beautiful, with a fantastic view of mountains.

we take a different way back to st nikolaus, on the opposite side of the valley. pretty soon we get to the ancient larches ("urlärchen") - a few imposing trees well over 2000 years old and thought to be europe's oldest conifers. even though they are not the oldest trees i have ever seen, it is quite awe-inspiring to think that they were already there during the rise of the roman empire, and already quite old when charlemagne was still charles the little one.

for a while we enjoy the sunshine sitting on a bench with a lovely view of more farmhouses and the valley below, then we make our way back to st nikolaus.

alex was right though - very, very scenic valley, and if you ever make it to the area, do pay it a visit.

tonight it's bruschetta and pasta time. talk about delicious ...

pictures of day 08


Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Wonderful view. Thanks for posting--

SarahJane said...

love the pics. really a wonderful place for hiking.