So while I was on my work trip to Heidelberg, I thought of meeting some friends in Northern Italy. It was a tricky travel but I still thought to go for it. I looked up for the best possible train combination, which meant 3 connections to Innsbruck and then another train to Brixen – the final destination. Although I was a little sceptical, I thought to book this option, which had just a 4 min gap for the next connection. To my horror, I missed it and found myself stranded on a very small station. Combined with a bank holiday, there was nobody to even inquire what to do next. But I found a very kind lady who helped me. Being a German herself, she jokingly said – it is quite common to miss connections in Germany. Only Swiss and Austrian trains run on time. 😀 😛
So finally I got the final train to Innsbruck via Munich. On reaching Innsbruck, my lunch plans got cancelled. The whole town was closed due to a bank holiday. Finally, after spending a full day trying to reach Brixen, I was there at 6 pm – to this view.
My dinner was a typical delicacy from the region: Canederli, which are dumplings made with cheese and leftover bread. It is classic from South Tyrol which felt like a comfort food. With a round of chai with my hosts, I dozed off to sleep.
So primarily, apart from stuffing myself, I went to three touristic places:
Pragser Wildsee lake
Next morning was a bright sunny day, a perfect day for some hiking! We went to the very gorgeous Pragser Wildsee lake. It is a good 15 mins walk from the parking and a narrow pathway will take you to the beautiful crystal clear turquoise water enclosed by lush green forest and mighty mountains. It is approximately 3.5 km trail around the lake with lots of ups and downs. It is a good place to spend even an entire day during summers. This was the most beautiful lake I had ever seen.
With spaghetti and some pizza for the lunch, we headed to Bruneck for some more food therapy. Bruneck is the largest and quite old town in the region. It is a charming place with lanes of Cafes and stores.
After coming back to Brixen, I also got the opportunity to see the ongoing water light festival which was a treat to the eyes! Lighting installations and performances at the city’s water sources drew attention to the precious resource of water. I had so much fun till midnight watching the light installs and drinking some very good wine at a winery.
Cathedral of Brixen
Next day morning I went back to the downtown again to walk around. It was another beautiful day. I spent quite some time looking inside the Cathedral of Brixen, especially at the cloister. It is a symbolic place for the roman and gothic style of art in the region. You can also buy handmade wooden watches in the town.
After spending some time in the town, I went to see franzensfeste fortress. It is a masterpiece of Austrian military construction, and it’s absolutely shell proof. Unfortunately, it lost it’s significant even before it got inaugurated in 1838. While it was still under construction, war techniques changed which made the whole initiative look meaningless and just a costly affair. Being the largest in the Alps, this is a very interesting place to visit. At the departure of the army after 170 years, it is finally open for public since 2005. Now, it hosts; a lot of permanent and sometimes some temporary exhibits too. The 451 steps stairway, officer’s mess, Emporer’s villa and a chapel are some things to look at. It even has an artificial lake at the back. Overall, it is a great place to know the strategies of the Austrian army under Emperor Franz which eventually fell in the Italian army region without any war!
After so much of walking around and historic overload, some pizza again came for rescue. It is interesting how many toppings and variant the pizza can be served with, along with some chilli infused olive oil which I never knew before. Somehow this trip actually became so much about food and chilling out with friends.
But with these three days that I spent in south Tyrol made me realise that it is surely very much under-rated for tourism. Wherever I went, it was absolutely scenic and gorgeous views of the Alp mountains, apple orchards and vineyards. After all this sightseeing, food therapy and laughter, I took a flight back home to India from Munich which is 3 hrs drive from Brixen.