Subject: Travelogue of our Northern Italy trip in October
Hi Ziners,

Like almost every year we went to South Tyrol in Northern Italy by car. Because of the very long drive we decided to do it in two segments and to stay overnight in Fssen where we arrived in the late afternoon. Our room in the Hotel Hirsch was very nice, the bathroom had been renovated recently and was wonderful. At the reasonably priced Restaurant Zum Schwanen we had one of our best Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Kraut ever, you know, it is the national meal in Bavaria: roasted pork with dumplings and slaw.

Next morning we continued our drive to Italy via the Fernpass, the Brennero pass, the fantastic wide and charming Eisacktal/Valle Isarco and arrived at our usual place in Deutschnofen/Nova Ponente early in the afternoon. In South Tyrol [Suedtirol/Alto Adige] most places have names in two languages, I will write them that way: German/Italian. Deutschnofen can be reached through two spectacular roads: either through the very narrow canyon road of the Eggental/Val d'Ega or either through the Dolomites road starting at Auer/Ora ascending higher and higher the walls of the red rocks on the Eastern part of the Etschtal/Val d' Adige and exposing ever more fantastic views upon the Etschtal as seen from an airplane. We decided to take the Eggental road as it is closer if you arrive from the North and our car climbed 1,100 meters to reach our place at 1,350 meters above sea level. It was raining when we arrived.

Deutschnofen offers a splendid view upon the Dolomites and other mountains, all of them of different geological origin and type and therefore made of different material, different colors and forms: the Schlern/Sciliar, the Rosengarten/Catinaccio and the Latemar group, the Zanggen/Monte Pala, Schwarzhorn/Corno Nero, Weisshorn/Corno Bianco, the Dolomites of Brenta and the Adamello group, the Ortles and the Texel group. If the weather is clear, the horizon is limited by mountains in a distance of up to 90 kilometers.

It was that clear and we had gorgeous views on the mountains when we left on Sunday morning for Padova where we were going to meet Paolo Maietta and his wife for a GTG. After a nice lunch at the great Prato della Valle square we visited together Padova's main attractions: the Basilica di Sant' Antonio, the main streets, Piazza delle Erbe, Palazzo della ragione, Piazza della Frutta, Café Pedrocchi and the Eremitani museum. Unluckily the Capella degli Scrovegni was accessible for people with reservations only and we could not enter to see the wonderful Giotto frescoes. But nevertheless we had a wonderful day together and we were very happy to see two very nice people, our moderator Paolo and his wife Gabriella!

In my opinion this necessity of making reservations kills a lot of spontaneity. How do you know as a foreigner which places will need a reservation? Paolo's wife told us about the fantastic Gonzaga exhibition in Mantova. Sonja and I would have decided to visit it, but then we saw on TV that there were already 500,000 reservations for it.

Back to Deutschnofen the weather changed but it was still good enough for hiking. You can do everything here from easy walking to strenuous mountain biking and hiking, surrounded by great views on the mountains. The Rosengarten and the Latemar group, the Zanggen, Schwarzhorn and Weisshorn with its Blaetterbach Canyon are just a few kilometers away and can easily be reached by car for hiking and climbing. This year we remained in our mountain village for hiking because it was quite cold outside and therefore we didn't go higher up in the mountains. In South Tyrol you can choose the temperature you want by choosing the height above sea level. Last week we had during daytime 18 degrees in the valley, 10 degrees at our place ad 3 degrees Celsius at 2,000 meters above sea level.

We like that little village which is directly at the language boarder and the cultural boarder to the Ladin part of South Tyrol and the Trentino and not too touristy. A car makes sense if you want to stay here. At Deutschnofen excellent food is offered at Restaurant Adler at very reasonable prices. The Adler is, in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in Italy! The cook and owner of the Adler, Walter Zelger, had been working in great hotels before he started his own business. He offers refined Tyrolean and Italian specialties at great prices, starting at 5 EUR. We were lucky that he was actually running a week with fish specialties and we had a few great meals with excellent wines at his place! The Adler offers a good selection of South Tyrolean and Trentino wines. We like also the Restaurant Stern/Stella in the Hotel Stern where we discovered a few years ago the Soup with beef and noodles, a South Tyrolean specialty which they do great.

From our balcony we could watch huge clouds, driven by western winds, sailing like huge ships through the Brantental valley, rising from the valleys below to our little mountain village. If you love nature and the mountains, you might like it as well.

We left Deutschnofen very early in the morning to drive home. When we passed over the Brenner pass it had been snowing and it already looked like Christmas.

Kind regards, Johannes Haltern am See, Germany