Another great egg-and-bacon hotel breakfast before getting back in the Polestar to head through the Brenner Pass to Bolzano. There is a distinct change in driving style as we enter Italy. Gone is the German discipline and arrogant strictness. Now it’s more freestyle and spontaneous as we manoeuver one roadwork after another.
We veer off the autostrada and take the smaller roads to find the Eisacktaler Kellerei, a winemaking cooperative that we have been recommended. Google literally leads us up some narrow mountain paths but at last we get to the winery, do some tasting and buy some bottles to bring back home. The heat is intense and it gets hotter as we approach Bolzano.
We have booked an AirBnB apartment quite central near the railway station. We are early, it’s stinking hot, so we decide to find somewhere in the hills to have some lunch. Tripadvisor guides us to an old castle ruin called the Haselberg. It’s a couple of degrees cooler but it’s till hot. The restaurant is open but shaded with a magnificent view over Bolzano. We’re almost alone, there’s only a couple of older men having lunch and talking loudly. Lunch was expensive but very good, well worth it. We take our time to enjoy the great food, cold beer, the shade and the less hot mountain breeze.
It’s still too early and too hot to go to the apartment so we drive to Lago di Caldaro a little further south. Anna and Mathilda take a swim but there is nowhere for Cooper to get in the water. The bitumen is scorching and we worry that Cooper will burn his paws so we go to a café and sit in the shade. In the meantime a thunderstorm rolls in over the mountains. When we get back in the car to head to Bolzano it’s a full on storm. The rain is coming down hard and the wind is tearing down branches, blowing off roofs, and pushing around dustbins.
By the time we’re back in Bolzano the worst is over and we make our way to the apartment. The temperature has dropped significantly. The apartment has a long balcony with two doors and the draught clears the worst of the hot air. Once we have settled in we take a walk down to Piazza Walther and have drink outside at one of the restaurants. It’s a very warm, pleasant and exotic evening and now it really feels like we are on holidays.
The Haselberg castle and restaurant.