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Walking along the Via Romea Germanica from Stade, near Hamburg, in Germany south through Austria and Italy to Rome.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Tiles / Tils – Day 62 on the way.

I have had wifi hassles and so this blog has fallen behind again.  I will update as soon as possible.  I am now heading into Bolzano.

It was a bit of a marathon day today, due to accommodation availability. I ended up using the train to help me as time was marching along faster than I was and I wanted to spend time in Bressanone / Brixen, before heading another three kilometres to my Gasthaus.

The path is still heading generally downhill, though the day ended with a VERY steep up hill to the village of Tils.  It was hard at the end of the day having to plod up to the village, past the church of St Cyrillus / San Cirrilo.  This church was documented as far back as 1283, though it is thought that is was built on a pagan site.  It was a lovely place, with a modern statue of Thomas, servant of Heinrich Volls near the entrance.   In 1334 he arranged for bread and cheese to be distributed to the poor on each St Lawrence Day. 

 St Cyrillus - inside and out
 The statue of  of Thomas distributing his bread and cheese

 The view of Bressanone from St Cyrillus
 Going up the hill to St Cyrillus - exposed tree routes made for a tripping hazard.
 Looking back to St Cyrillus......
.....and up to Tils

I initially made good progress along the cycle path, negotiating the preparations for a festival in Campo di Tens, as I detoured to look at the Sanctuario di Maria di Trens.  It was a lovely place, and while I was there I heard the organist practising.  As I was leaving I had Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus ringing in my ears – one of my favourite pieces.  After negotiating the debris from the previous night’s celebrations, and the setting up of the days activities I then followed a path which had about a dozen signs about bees, their habitat, and honey production.  It was pretty, shady, and relatively easy to negotiate – until I got to the floor of the valley.  Here I had to follow the main road for about 500 metres – not a pleasant experience.  From there it was following the cycle path yet again, running next to the River Isarco and the Railway.
Santuario di Maria di Trens

 Leaving Campo di Trens
The highway to negotiate (right) with no verge - and the safer route a few metres later.

Later in the day I met Alain and Veronique, wanderers from France, heading in the opposite direction from me, over the Brenner Pass ultimately to Germany.  I spent a pleasant half hour chatting to them, before heading off again.  However, it was several hours later that I decided that it was time to hop on the train.  This got me into Bressanone mid afternoon and gave me quite a slab of time to wander around and explore the city, particularly its magnificent Cathedral, before heading off on the steep climb to Tils.

 Alain and Veronique
 The Cathedral in Bressanone, and ints cloister (below_)

Hoffburghaus, Bressanone
A pleasant, interesting, and tiring day with my night’s accommodation high above the valley floor and with magnificent views of the mountains.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Campo di Trens – Day 61 along the Via Romea.

I awoke this morning to a magnificent view from my bed, and on heading to breakfast had a delicious start to the day.  While I was in Austria the breakfasts had reverted to light, white bread rolls, and no cereal.  Today I had muesli and wonderful grainy brown bread rolls.  A very good start to the day indeed.
Lying in bed - this is what I saw.
My Gasthaus, also the young river that has kept growing all day.

I set off in the early morning cool, heading along the old railway track that has now been converted into a cycling path.  It was shady most of the way, and the further I went the wider the valley became and the further away the trains and autobahn got, though the began with them within easy ”lobbing” distance.  The descent was very gradual, until I got to the turn off to Colle Isarco.  It was here that the descent became a steep zig zag.  A cold drink energised me for the next stretch which was up hill and across the valley to go under the autobahn.
The narrow valley - autobahn far left (the train line is on the left of that), the main road, and the cycle track.
 Looking back to the mountains
 ........and looking forward - the path even goes through the old tunnels .......
... and has the old station buildings along the way.
The rock had the markings from the drills.
The valley got wider.
Looking down on Colle Isarco, before descending.

From there the path went through some lovely woods, passing a wonderful waterfall, to Vipiteno, though  as is my wont, I somehow lost the proper path and followed my own route the last couple of kilometres.  I stopped for lunch there, and enjoyed watching the locals, and the tourists,  as I consumed a delicious bowl of macaroni bolognese.
Leaving Vipiteno

With only 4 – 5 kilometres to go I headed off to my destination.  It began ambling through the outskirts of the town, past an aerodrome where I paused to watch a glider take off.  But then one of those “when will this end?” moments arrived.  The path was sandwiched between the river on the left, and the main road on the right.  It was fenced on the road side, and the fast flowing river was around 2 metres deep – so the gauge I passed showed, and so there was no escape.  It went on, straight as an arrow, for around three kilometres and believe me, I was very glad to get to the hotel and put my feet up.
 Heading to Campo di Trens
 The river is widening and now about 2 metres deep
Will this ever end?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Terme di Brennero (Brennerbad) – Day 60 on the Via Romea.

Today I had a ride in a Paddy Wagon!!  I had trundled up and down hills and was on the last one, on what turned out to be a very busy road, and the only way up as far as I could tell from the information I had.  I was getting more and more nervous as heavy trucks were passing and when a police van stopped I decided that the only way out of my predicament was to ask them for a ride up to Brenner See, about 1½kms away.  They agreed and dropped me where I could pick up the path, away from the road – “there is the bridge, and the path is on the other side of it”.  I thanked them profusely, got out of the wagon and headed off!
 The path around the Brennersee
Today dawned sunny and clear, though as usual by about lunch time the clouds had started to gather.  The forecast was for 23 degrees, with a “feels like 29”.  I don’t know why there is such a marked difference in the actual temperature and the “feels like” one.  I am thinking it might be something to do with the humidity, which is much higher than at home.
Leaving Steinach am Brenner
A little chapel on Siegreith (left), and looking back towards Steinach am Brenner (right)

I had good views of the mountains and the valleys as I ascended.  As I walked I kept taking photos of the autobahn bridges, little realizing that one of them was one that I would have to climb up to and cross under.  The path was very steep, and I had considerable trouble actually finding the starting point of that hill climb.  There was an arrow pointing the way, but I couldn’t see the path.  I was on the point of resorting to a bus to the next village, when I found it.  As I slowly trudged up the hill I was passed by a man with some lumps of sawn timber in his hand, and when I eventually got to the top of that part of the hill I saw him in a house.  He obviously lives up on the mountain and had gone down to the village to get what he needed.  The path eventually joined a rough vehicular track, which I am assuming is the track he uses if he needs more than a handful of stuff.  One way to keep fit though!
Views along the way - towards where I'm headed
The bridge that I climbed up to.

I am now in Italy, about 6 kilometres in.  I stopped at the top of the pass and had a salad for lunch and another cold dirnk, before heading through the village of Brenner and beginning the downhill walk to my accommodation.  The path down the hill thus far is a cycling path following a former railway line.  The valley is still narrow and so there is the autobahn on one side, then the railway line that crosses the Pass, and then an ordinary, but very busy, road, and the cycling / walking track. 
Terme di Brennero / Brennerbad
The last Kirche I visited in Austria - note the graffiti on the pew below.  Gries am Brenner

and the first Chiesa in Italy (in Brenner)