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A New Trip and Maybe a New Home

by Jo Wilkie

South of the Austrian border by about 40 miles, nestled in the Pustertal Valley of the Alps, is the inspired vacation location that we visited. Although Hotel is on the Italian side of the Alps, let me tell you there is very little Italian happening there. In this part of Italy, you are really in Austria. Everyone speaks German and everything is clean, beautiful, and orderly. However, being very intelligent, the folks that live in this area- and the hotel we stayed in- have a tradition of fantastic food. So, the best of both worlds, yes?

Our room was comfortable and gorgeous. Simple, but elegant. Just like the hotel. And anything you might need? The hotel had it. The hotel has a mini-club (free, indoor childcare from 9am to 9pm everyday) and a great indoor play area. We tried to drop Susanne there one day and she was NOT having a bit of it. So, we did not have any Mommy and Daddy time, which was a little annoying, but in the end, it was great. We had a fabulous time together. And maybe next year, Susanne will be excited to practice her German with the other kids, but I digress…

In the mornings, while the dew was still fresh on the grass, I would sneak out to the Japanese garden for some Yoga while the sun came up over the mountains. On my return to the room, Mark and Susanne would be ready to hit the breakfast buffet, that consisted of fresh breads, granola, fruits, prosciutto, cheeses, not to mention the omelette bar (made fresh to order) and hot sausage.

After rolling ourselves out of the dining room, Mark would get ready to go on a bike ride in the mountains. I would start out with him, on a bike I checked out from the hotel, with a child’s seat on the back. There is a bike/walking trail that runs the length of the valley, near the train tracks, next to the river. Susanne loved whizzing down the mountains and seeing the farms, mountains, and animals.

Unbelievably enough, after a brief morning outing, it would be time for, what they referred to as a “light buffet lunch”. A huge, organic salad bar, with more fresh bread, and, don’t forget the four different kinds of pasta with sauce and a hot soup… after this “light lunch”, we were all stuffed to the gills and ready for some playtime!

The playground of the resort was amazing and honestly, I think Mark and I enjoyed it more than Susanne! But Susanne did love the pools- indoor, outdoor, a tepid “bubble tub” and a baby pool… every day, during pool time, I again would sneak away, but this time, heading for the sauna. Oh god, how I love saunas. And the resort has all the right stuff for the full sauna experience! The cold river water to dump over your head, an outdoor area to rest. Ahhhhh.

By the time we finished up with the pool and the sauna, it was time for a nap. Dinner was late: 7:30. So, we would take a little rest and then head out for more playtime or a walk before dinner.

Dinner, too, was a huge affair. And nothing could be passed up. It was all fabulous. Fish, chicken, beef, vegetables, fruits, desserts. I should mention here that the hotel completely accommodated my need for dairy and gluten-free foods and they didn’t shlep it, either. My food was prepared with just as much care and attention as Mark and Susanne’s…

We would stumble back to our rooms and fall into a deep, food-induced sleep, sleep in silence while the cool, mountain air drifted in the open window just to wake up and do it all over again the next day.

It was divine.

This area, the Sud Tyrol, is the most beautiful place I have ever visited in my entire life. Now, granted, I am from the Northwest, so I prefer a cooler, greener climate, but the architecture is amazing, the valley is full of industry and is obviously growing, but it doesn’t compromise the environment, there was NOT A SPECK OF GARBAGE to be found on the side of the road or in the waterways, and, from the bottom of the mountains, you could not see the roads and trails- just gorgeous forests…

This will not be our last trip to that hotel or to that area. Mark and I are drawing up a plan to buy some sort of property in that area at some point. THAT is how much we loved it. I have never been to an area that resonates with me more and I’m excited to explore the possibilities for a future there, as well as relax and renew at the resort in the meantime!

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