Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day Trip from Bolzano to Caldaro

Our first day in Bolzano, we decide to explore the region outside the city and head out on a day trip to Caldaro, about 16 km (10 miles) away.  Caldaro (Kaltern in German) is famous for its lake and wineries and we plan to see some of each.

Bolzano is the capital of the South Tyrol province in Italy, but many residents are more comfortable speaking German than Italian.  Bolzano was part of Austria until 1919 and most signs, maps, and names are in both Italian and German.  As one resident told me, "I speak a little English, ok Italian, but best in German."

It's threatening to rain today as we head over to the central Bolzano bus station.

 Piazza Walther on a weekend morning, rain on the way

We purchase tickets at the bus station and hop on the next express bus to Caldaro that gives us a tour of Bolzano on the way out and soon winds through the mountains and vineyards surrounding the city.

 Vineyards on the routs to Caldaro

As we arrive in Caldaro, we see a map of the city and wander in to the main square.  When we spot the tourist office, we ask for direction to Lake Caldaro and start our hour-long hike through the vineyards to the lake resorts.

 Map at the entrance to old town Caldaro (Kaltern)

 Caldaro main square

The path to the lake winds down narrow lanes, through vineyards and apple orchards, and, occasionally, on the main road.

 Starting down the path

 Through vineyards

 Apple orchards

 Approaching Lake Caldaro

It's quiet at the lake, the tourist season is winding down and there are a few hikers from town, a tour bus or two, and people settling in for lunch at the lakeside resorts.  The docks are quiet and the sail boats, row boats, paddle boats, and other water toys are all waiting for a sunny day or next spring, whichever comes first.  The lake is beautiful!

 Quiet at Lake Caldaro

As we start the walk back up to town, it starts to rain heavily.  We hide under an apple tree for a while (note:  young apple trees do not actually provide much shelter from heavy rain), but eventually just head out and walk in the rain.

Shelter from the rain

We meet several wet people hiking down from town and, as we approach town, an express delivery truck stops and offers us a ride.   We're wet already and decline, finishing the walk in lighter rain as the mountain storm moves on.  The mountains are radiant and beautiful in the storm and sun that peers through.

 Walking back to town in the rain

As we trek into town, we're wet, but it's time for lunch and that should warm us up.  Especially with some local wine.  We stop at a restaurant in the square and share a bruschetta with tomatoes and mozzarella, a plate of speck and a bottle of local wine.

 Bruschetta, speck, and wine 

After lunch, it's time for wine tasting and we head over to the edge of town where we try a few local wines, purchase a bottle for consumption later, and look for the bus stop to catch our ride back.

Wine tasting here!

Our ride back to Bolzano

 More great scenery on the trip back

The bus returns us to the Bolzano central bus station and we walk back into the old town, watching the markets wind down in the rain.

 We're back, it's still raining

 Markets coming to the end of the day

We stop for an aperitif, then wander a bit until we choose a pizza restaurant for dinner and settle in with a carafe of wine and pizza (no pictures, we must be really hungry!).

 Aperitif with view outside (still raining)

As we walk back from dinner tonight, we find that Piazza Walther is full of cars from a Porsche rally.  We stop to admire, not realizing that they will be leaving a little after midnight and our hotel is on the square.  Noisy if your room happens to be facing the square!


 Rally cars fill Piazza Walther

 It's been a great first full day in Italy and we wind it up and go to sleep to see what tomorrow will bring.

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