South Tirol: From the Valley to the Mountains

An idyllic place in the mountains, a lake nested in a green valley between rich vineyards: the Kalterer See in South Tirol. Overlooking the lake is an old castle ruin. A place to dream, to relax and enjoy food, wine and nature.

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Kaltern is a village at the famous Wine Road in Northern Italy. We went there for a camping holiday in summer 2016. There are several camping sites around the lake – we picked one that is quiet and in the middle of the biotope. That means peace but also mosquitos. 😉

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A beautiful door handle in Kaltern am See.

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Kaltern am See – a pretty village at the Wine Road in South Tirol, Italy.

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The iron gate to the vineyard in Kaltern.

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Fresh green grapes.

The biggest city to visit at the Wine Road is Bozen, a touristy city where Italian and Austrian architecture is mixed in a beautiful way. But the most impressive thing we did was a hike on the ridge of the mountains. We took the funicular railway “Mendelbahn” from Kaltern to the top and then walked up the Mount Roen (2116 m).

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On top of the world.

It was an exhausting hike because of the heat, even if it wasn’t as cruel as down in the valley. But the view and diversity of flowers were worth everything!

For a day trip we drove to Kurzras in the north of South Tirol, in the Ötztal Alps. You can take the cable car up to the Grey Wall (“Graue Wand”) at a hight of 3212 meters. It is a popular place for skiing in winter and they found the mummy of Ötzi the Iceman not far from there.

Now in summer the hotel at the top was a like a ghost house and the mountains were covered in clouds. No spectacular view into the valley, but a surreal world of fog, rocks and damp cold air. Like another planet. Stunning!

Viva Andalusia

Many months passed – and many journeys, small and big. Now I finally found the motivation again to sit down, go through all my photos, edit and share them with you. I have to catch up on everything because I travelled a lot since my last blog post. So let’s start our little journey through time and go back one year, to March 2016. I travelled to beautiful Andalusia in Southern Spain and explored the Costa de la Luz.

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The bullfight arena in Málaga.

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My Bucket List

I am determined to do or see these things before I die – or do something that comes as close as possible to what may be unrealistic. 😉

(Side note: I decided very early that I wanted to see the whole world once. So I don’t include countries that I want to visit in general, but only specific locations and activities to shorten the list a little.)

  • Learn to fly like Peter Pan – close: Tandem Hang Gliding (in Australia)
  • Do another Tandem Hang Gliding Flight in Rio de Janeiro
  • See the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
  • Learn to speak at least a third language fluently
  • See the Statue of Libery, New York
  • Interview with Barack Obama (I admit I am fascinated. If this happens I’ll probably die of a heart attack.)

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A Thousand Lives

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“‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies’, said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered.'” (George R. R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons)

I love Bremen – although…

I have a confession to make: I have been a bad blogger. I didn’t write anything for a long time, but one of my good intentions for 2016 is to change that. By the way: Happy New Year 2016! 🙂 Looking back on 2015 I think it was a quite a successful year. I got a job (yay) and started working 40 hours a week (not so yay) – which is basically why I didn’t have time to travel and blog anymore.

I start into the new blogging year with a post that reflects a littly my mood at the moment. I do love Bremen, but right now I feel a littly grinchy about it. And winter in general. Snow may be nice when it is fresh and pure and glistening in the sun. But not after christmas and not in cities…

“I love Bremen” – Part Three: …although it shows the ugly face of winter

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This is what happens when they finally get to clear the streets.

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Someone rescued the little girl’s cap.

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They did this to the tallest christmas tree of Bremen. Murder.

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But here’s a wonderful thing about Bremen in winter: The homeless people can use public transportation (trams, busses) for free to warm up.

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This is typical German. Everyone has to make sure that the sidewalk in front of his house is clear of snow so that nobody falls. But real Germans take this seriously: They stop right where their property ends.

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Don’t you catch a cold… 🙂

I love Bremen: Refugees Welcome

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Inside one tent of the refugee camp at the University of Bremen.

Now this is something else than what I originally intended with my little “series” about Bremen. But I never had such a good reason to love this city before because it is literally overflowing with helpfulness for the refugees who come here.

“I love Bremen” – Part Two: How Bremen welcomes refugees

Since a few weeks – I think it may be about one month – there is hardly any other topic on the news than the arrival of refugees in Germany. Suddenly they were not in Greece or Italy anymore – they were here, on our doorsteps. They are also in my hometown Bremen.

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A new blog is born!

Breaking News: I finally found the time and courage to start a second blog!! 🙂 A while ago I noticed that some of my more controversial and serious posts don’t really fit into “Wonderland”. Sometimes I like to write down my opinion about politics, media and society, and this blog works best as a photography and travel blog. From now on I will (roughly) split the two topics. So let me introduce you to my new “opinion blog”:

“Schweigen im Walde”

It is written in German because I feel more comfortable to talk about difficult topics in my mother language. I am very sorry to exclude my readers who only speak English, but the decision had to be made. They had to be two entirely different blogs.

Don’t worry, “Wonderland” will stay the same: Photos and travel stories, insights about the life in Bremen and German customs. If an opinion piece fits into this profile, you might find it on both blogs.

I hope you stay with me – and see all the German-speakers at “Schweigen im Walde”! 🙂

Cheers,

Alice

3 things I learned in: England (London/Bristol 2015)

Change of Guards Buckingham Palace London

1) The English call everything “pudding” – and it just doesn’t make sense. So the word “pudding” in general means “dessert”, correct? When I was in school the teacher told us about Christmas pudding or plum pudding, which – albeit being a weird dish – still fit into my world view because it was something sweet. But now I went to England again and everything I believed to know about puddings was turned upside down! There is for example also black pudding (not sweet at all, soaked with blood, uuurrrh) or Yorkshire pudding, which is again something entirely different and reminds me a little of a Hungarian Lángos. Even the English people I asked couldn’t explain this mess. Sigh.

2) Driving on the wrong side of the road (the left side) is actually ok. As long as you don’t stop, turn or do other things – we got into the approaching traffic THREE TIMES – but hey, we are still alive!

3) Bristol is a special city. It actually has its own currency, the “Bristol pound”. It just looks like play money, but this is no joke: You can exchange one normal pound for a Bristol pound at some points in the city (like the tourist centre). You can also pay with it – but only in Bristol. And it expires. Erm, yes. 🙂 Bristol is also apparently very proud of “Shaun the Sheep” – the animation studios that produce the serial is seated there, and at the moment they have Shauns in different colors standing everywhere for charity… Kinda cool.Shaun the Sheep BristolRead more about my trip to London, or have a look at the photos I took in Dartmoor and Wales.

The Beauty of Wales

Wales totally bewitched me! Green mountains, romantic ruins and endless beaches – for once I feel words are not enough to describe this wonderful spot on earth. You have to see it with your own eyes, breathe the wind and see how it creates rustling waves in the sea of green grass. I spent one day in South Wales, driving around in the Brecon Beacons National Park and then made my way down to the coast. Join me on a photographic round trip and indulge in the rough beauty of Wales!

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The beautiful ruins of Llanthony Priory.

We started our little journey at the Eastern corner of Brecon Beacons National Park at the ruin of Llanthony Priory, an old Augustinian priory from around the year 1100, which is located in the peaceful green Vale of Ewyas, seven miles north of the town of Abergavenny… Continue reading

A Small Theory

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“People observe the colours of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colours. Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues. Murky darknesses. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.” (Markus Zusak; The Book Thief)