Saturday, 10 May 2014

Ice Cream and the Ice Man

Trento, Italy

Going further north, Trento still felt very Italian but had a more alpine feel, as though you could sense that Austria was close. The air grew chillier and I could actually wear jeans again, and even a stylish scarf (but not a scarf built specifically for warmth, the air wasn't Wellingtonian enough for that). 
The main square had an impressive fountain with a dude at the top sporting a trident. People would sit on the steps around the fountain, but when a sudden wind picked up someone would get splashed and make a little surprised sound, jumping out of the way. They would then find another spot, a dry one, and sit back down. Though this seems foolish, I did it myself once, because getting a little wet was a small price to pay when there were no other seating options. And boy was it refreshing. 

A large and impressive castle dominated one of the streets. We didn't go in, just admired from afar. 

We went up the cable car, which was far better than Wellington's. For one thing, it went much higher, and we took this photo at the top. Rather than trundling along a rail, it hung from a cable like a gondola. At the top, a road led to a small mountain village where kids ran around playing games and we got cheap drinks from the tiny supermarket. One euro! The quiet village was in stark contrast to Trento, which was bustling. We didn't see any people there except the children and the lady in the supermarket.

Not knowing where to take lunch, we walked around a few streets off the main square and found quite an authentic restaurant. The food was a melange of Italian and of more northern foodstuffs. Only knowing what one thing on the menu actually was, I ordered the carpaccio, which was nearly as good as the Venetian one. (For an entree I got speck, which I was about 75% sure was some type of cured meat like ham. It was. All in all, a very hearty lunch. There were also potatoes.)


As we wandered around the square, we stumbled across our favourite gelateria: Grom. Having tried every flavour of gelato and sorbet, that only left the granitas - sort of like a slushier sorbet. 
We got the Sicilian lemon one and the nut one, and then decided we should finish the menu, so went back twice to sample the two other flavours: coffee and blueberry. The lemon was the best.


Bolzano, Italy

This was our first adventure in German. Bolzano, while still in Italy, is a German-speaking town. Our attempts at the language included "guten tag" (but no one said it, they just used "halooooo", so we followed their lead), and "apfelstrudel" because we wanted some strudel. 

After the bakery came the real reason we went to Bolzano: Ötzi the Ice Man. This is a representation of what he may have looked like - first we got to see his corpse! It was strange in that the skin was still mostly intact. His body had been preserved in a glacier for thousands of years, and trampers who had gone off the recommended path found him, not knowing just what and how old he was. 

The trampers tried to dig him out, grabbing anything they could find - they didn't realise that they were using his own 5,000 year old bow as a glacier trowel. Tourists. Tsk.