Family Vacation in South Tyrol, Austria

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Unless you’re not following me on Facebook or Instagram, you already know I just had an amazing week exploring South Tyrol with my family. It was a ‘weird’ company indeed – me, my boyfriend Alle, my sister and her boyfriend, my mother and her husband, my grandma, and Cody!

We left last Monday headed to Matrei, in South Tyrol, on a van crammed with bicycles and luggages, and arrived at Goldried Hotel some 6 hours later. The place was huge, with a variety of sleeping options: my grandma had indeed her lovely double room at the hotel for herself, and the remaining six plus Cody stayed at a small flat – with its own sauna in the bathroom!

On the first day we walked around Matrei and some of us started hiking already, up to a 1,500m refuge… It was cool, but it made me realize how I am not cut for this kind of activity, unless it’s once every few months (and I recently went up Pasubio and Spitz too!). On top we had lunch Krauterwirtshaus Strumerhof and ordered Canederli, a typical Austrian dish which involves potatoes and either cheese or speck or veggies all smashed together in a ball. Looks funny, tastes good!

As it was the first day, but even though we trekked for only few hours, by the time we got back to the hotel we were dead. Especially me, as recently my biggest sport activity has been running from the beach bed to the sea on burning hot sand.
And so I slept…. And slept….

Suddenly, the second day arrived. I decided to take an early but well pondered break from hiking, leaving my sister and her boyfriend Gabri to that. Me and Alle went cycling instead, one of the few activities that I can actually physically stand fairly well. Well, in the plains of Modena at least… I never struggled so much to cycle for 6km – it was all freaking uphill!! It was a cool challenge, but I have my limits, so yes – I did walk a good part of it.
Once we got there, me and Alle had a wonderful picnic in the middle of nowhere by the Isel River, and even left our bicycles to trek a bit further down the National Park.
We got back to the hotel fairly early, and decided to take Cody to a nearby waterfall for a walk… He’s so much better than me hiking up! Damn four feet.

The day after it was our National Holiday, Ferragosto, and it was biking day again. We drove to Sillian and got off with all the bikes to ride the last 30km of the famous (and oh-so-beautiful) route from San Candido to Leinz – which all together is 60km long. Shortly after we started however, we had to make a very important stop to me: THE LOAKER FACTORY! Yes!
You don’t really get to see any dwarf cooking special wafers, but you do get to shop so many different types of products at their store, and all for a very special price too. Definitely a recommended stop if you are around!

When we arrived in Leinz one and a half hour later, we relaxed and explored the little town for a while, even though all the shops were closed and we didn’t need too long to see it all as it’s so small. Yes, there is also a H&M in Leinz, something I don’t really get. Why on earth there’s one there and not in Modena?!

From Leinz it is also possible to cycle back to Matrei for another 30km, but differently from the Sillian-Leinz route, this one is all uphill. Only the sportive ones went by bike, and the others by car – can you guess whom?? 😀 (I’m awful, I know.)

On the fourth day, Alle tricked me. Badly, and twice. Well, he didn’t really do it on purpose as I knew the plan for the day and agreed on it – but I just wasn’t expecting it to be so hard!
First of, we took the cable car to go up Goldried mountain at 2,200m. Fine, you might say, I saved the struggle of hiking up. If only it wasn’t for my terror of cable cars and anything involving me hung in the air on a “breakable device”. I closed my eyes, and 25 agonizing minutes later we were up. We hiked further up until we arrived at 2,300m and had the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen in front of us.

Then, the second part of the trick, what I didn’t consider: going down. My worst enemy, my nightmare, the most hated thing.
To me, it makes sense struggling while walking up as you’re then rewarded with the view and the setting. Not to say, usually you arrive just in time for lunch, and you have a great excuse to get a huge pint of beer, and eat typical super fatty alpine food without regrets! But walking down, is seriously a pain in the ass. You go through the same path (most of the times), and cannot even look what’s around you because you’re too focused on watching where you step on – destroying knees and ankles all at once.
Also, in the meanwhile we joined forces with Gabri, who unlike us walked up the whole distance. And so I was left with the two most sportive persons of the group, trekking down a 2,200m mountain. I will spare the details, but it included me going a bit crazy after Alle kept on telling me our hotel was JUST THERE! (but with no sign of it getting closer), and me sitting down refusing to move anymore. Only about 100m to the hotel. Yeah…

The day after was much better, we finally did what I wanted to do: rafting! Me, Alle, my mom and the husband Dario went to Adventure Park after booking the rafting session at the reception, and ended up doing both rafting and canyoning! I really fought my fear explained above there, but the thrill was worth it! You can read all about it in my other article (coming soon).

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Sunday arrived way too fast, and it was our last day in South Tyrol. The boys made the terrible mistake leaving us girls together, and so we did… well, basically nothing all day. We relaxed by the lake of Bruck Castle, and then had a picnic by the Isel river, eating some tasty chickens we bought on the way in Leinz. Can you guess what were the boys doing? One hiking and the others cycling, of course!
At dinner we were all my grandma’s guests at Alte Muhle (which means Old Mile) Restaurant, in Matrei. I definitely suggest you going there, they have great for food in huge portions affordable by even the tightest budget travellers.

Monday was the departure day, and so off we went towards the West. We had a short break in Brunico, Italy (even though it doesn’t look like it), which offers some interesting architectural sights, typical of the Alpine area.

Few hours later we were home, me and Alle missing our daily sauna which I promised I would build in my future dream house.

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