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Last Call before the Frost

November 3, 2016



Last weekend was a glorious, four-day weekend.  The sun was out and the skies were crystal clear.  Perfect time for a roadtrip!  We decided to head up to the Timmelsjoch pass between the borders of Austria and Italy.  This pass is the connection between the Ötztal valley in the Austrian state of Tyrol to the Passeier Valley in the Italian province of South Tyrol




Since the nearby Brenner Pass is the most-heavily used pass for travellers to get to Italy, Timmelsjoch is often called 'the Secret Passage'.  Used frequently by smugglers back in the days of the Stone Age, people, including other shepards and travellers, used this pass to bring food and resources into the Ötztal Valley.  You can even hike along some of the same paths they used, if you are so daring!

The Timmelsjoch Pass Museum was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the high Alpine road. There are several architectural structures that are set up to give you more history of the Timmelsjoch Pass. You really get a feel for what it must have been like to live and travel through this area.  We first came upon the 'Smuggler'.  Inside was a display of a few things likely to have been smuggled - tobacco and animal furs.







 





Back outside, the land is quite barren.  The first frost has not arrived yet.  It's gotten colder now.  And the overall feeling is quite immense... the barren landscape, the expansive space that surrounds us so high up...


 


A lonely house, high up on the mountain tops...

 


Warm greetings...




The view back towards the Austrian side... Winter is coming!



Ahh, at the top!  We are now at the 'Walkway' structure...






 Many stone piles dot the landscape...



Lily had to add her own, of course!



View looking down into the valley...



On the way to Italy!



The (literal) doorway to Italy...

 


Ciao, Italia!



A first time look at a mountain paraglider taking off!


video


Mountain goats!



 


The Italian Alps are on fire!











Back down in the valley, we are entering South Tyrol now... Old castles...



Beautiful landscapes...



 Cable cars...



Gorgeous farm lands...  endless miles of fruits and vegetables still on the vines!



 Old Architecture...



South Tyrol is one of the wealthiest areas of Italy and the European Union.   Rich with history, this area needs more than just a quick drive through.  I'd like to check out more of Bolzano and Merano next time!



 But, before then, two little passengers needed some fun, too!  
Thank goodness, we found this little playground! 











Last stop on our road trip: Rechensee.  This is an artificial lake that includes two sunken villages - Graun and Rechen.  The structure rising above the water is Graun's 14th Century church tower.  Only divers are able to access the 163 remaining buildings under water.  Totally cool!




Ahh, back in Austria!  
Hope you had a fun weekend with Halloween and All Saints Day!  

Servus!