At the beginning of May, I had a short, slightly unexpected, vacation in Northern Italy (specifically the Trentino-Alto Adige region). Originally I was supposed to go there for a meeting and I decided to get there a few days earlier to stay at the Grawand hotel.
But then the meeting was cancelled, so I had the choice to either cancel the trip or to take a couple of additional vacation days and turn it into a mini-holiday.
So I had some time to spend in Northern Italy without much of a plan. This is the reason why there's not much of a story to tell on this page and it's mostly a bunch of images and a few place descriptions.
The one thing I did plan in advance, though, was staying at the Grawand hotel. The main claim to fame of that hotel is that it is probably the hotel at the highest altitude in Europe.
At least it claims to be the hotel at the highest altitude in the Alps. There might be a hotel at a higher altitude where in the Caucasus mountain range, but I couldn't find any specifics.
The Grawand hotel is at 3212 meters altitude, so it's pretty close at two miles height.
My first impression was somewhat unfavorable, since I looked out of my window and my view was like this:
It seemed slightly cynical to have an information sign right next to the window, showing the panorama and naming all the peaks that could be seen in good conditions.
Fortunately, when I got up next morning, the view was more like this:
Since I don't ski (shuffling around on skis on the arctic icecap none withstanding), there wasn't much for me to do, so I just had a relaxing day, reading, typing and enjoying the scenery.
The weather kept changing quickly. While at noon the cable car going down from the mountain could be seen until it made its final descent down to the valley, the next one, half an hour later, was lost in the fog almost the moment it left the upper station.
After spending two nights at high altitude, it was time to get back to the valley and head on.
The first stop was a small artificial lake called Lago Vernago. Parts of it were still frozen and there is a nice path leading around the lake, which was perfect for a walk.
After that, I headed to the area north of Merano and took some pictures of a waterfall near San Martino. I got reasonably lucky with my timing. The waterfall is in a narrow valley, but I happened to be there when the sun was just in the tight position to light the valley and even create a little waterfall rainbow.
Then it was time to head further south again. First to the village of Tirol (which gave the region of Tyrol its name) for some more hiking and waterfall watching.
Then heading essentially to the other side of the valley to the mountains to the east of Merano.
If Merano ever gets attacked by giant vampires, it's well prepared...
On one of the hills close to Merano is an unusual view point. Instead of a bench, they have rows of "cinema chairs", inviting people to enjoy the changes in the scenery and the weather as an ongoing movie (though someone remarked "it lacks a director").
The next stop after Merano was Levico Terme, located east of Trento in a valley next to two lakes, which are separated by a small, longish hill.
The smaller of the lakes is very calm and gives great reflections of the surroundings.
The region also has photogenic castles.
And colourful, but still well camouflaged, salamanders.
Some more walking around in the hills and mountains, looking at the scenery and relaxing for two more days and then it was time to head home again after this short, unplanned, vacation.
A short trip to the area near the Arte Sella at Armentera mountain
Onwards to the Le Grave biotope, close to Santa Colomba lake.
And finally, a visit to Cima Vezzena.
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