A Travellerspoint blog

It's all Spanish to me

A photographers paradise (300+ shots taken)

semi-overcast 14 °C

Once again we chanced it with Ryanair for our trip to Seville. When the prices are cheap and it flies from Bologna the choice is semplice. However the lack of allocated seating slows down boarding, especially when the reluctant staff have to shuffle around even more reluctant passengers so children can (unfortunately!) sit with their parents.

We arrived in Seville at about 5pm and it was lovely to shrug off our coats, hats and gloves and enjoy the comparitively warm temperature of 14 degrees. It was (just) warm enough for us to sit outside for dinner on a roof top terrace overlooking the Guadalquivir river. We took our chances with the menu and somehow managed to order the right dishes despite our very limited Spanish.

dinner al fresco

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The next morning was a late start and a café con leche in the local Plaza Duque de la Victoria (not as good as Italian coffee - probably due to the lack of fresh milk) had our tour guide taking us to our first sight.

tour guide and conversation in the plaza

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A walk along the streets and we soon found our way to Seville Cathedral & La Giralda - the largest church in the world with an Islamic Minaret. After 500 years of Islamic culture Seville was reconquered by Christian forces, therefore much of Moorish culture can still be seen in the buildings. The Cathedral and La Giralda are stunning both from the inside and outside with a magnificent courtyard that adds to its beauty. It is easy to walk to the top of La Giralda because of the sloping floor, which was built this way so the muezzin could ride his horse to the top for the call to prayer.

La Giralda and Cathedral

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After our climb to the top it was time for lunch and we found one of the restaurants that Pedro (our apartment owner) had recommended. At 2pm we still had to put our name on the wait list. However we were shortly seated at a table and enjoying a range of excellent tapas, the restaurant buzzing with locals and the lovely staff managing keeping people happy with quick service. At 3.30pm when we departed the queue was even longer then when we arrived! Late meals are definitely the trend in Seville.

tapas lunch

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Feeling sluggish from all the food we slowly walked towards one of the University buildings (Fabrica Real de Tabacos - as the name suggests an old cigar factory immortalised in the opera Carmen) then on to Plaza de Espana. This plaza was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition. It is magnificent because it is almost completely covered in gorgeous glazed tiles depicting historic moments from the 40 regions of Spain. For Star Wars buffs it was used as a set in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The children loved playing here and in the Parque de Maria Luisa gardens nearby ... Gabi declaring that she loved Seville! I think the kids have been a bit deprived of greenery and parks in Bologna, plus the warmer weather certainly was a bonus. A walk back along the river and an ice-cream (not quite Italian standard) then a rest before dinner at 8pm. This time the taberna was just up the road from our Airbnb apartment. This Michelin star restaurant (Dos de Mayo) provided us with another wonderful dining experience, and when a family of four is fed for 35 euro we continue to thank our lucky travel stars.

Plaza de Espana

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Dos de Mayo

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The dry weather was not to last however and on Tuesday the rain was heavy. This resulted in a purchase of gumboots for the kids (I think I found the most expensive ones in Spain), however they proved to be invaluable over the next few days. Dan enjoyed some time off in the morning while the kids and I did some shopping. We then met up at Las Columnas, another brilliant tapas bar. The place had plenty of atmosphere and we managed to squeeze onto a tiny table. Our lack of Spanish was again a drawback, so Dan did the obvious thing and left it up to the waiter! After lunch we visited Real Alcazar; this amazing palace complex is a series of beautiful rooms, magnificent gardens and courtyards. The complex has many architectural influences but mostly it is the result of Pedro 1 (1350-69) who rebuilt it as a place of retreat for himself and his mistress.

Real Alcazar

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Our final tour of the day was to La Maestranza; one of Spain’s most famous bull-fighting rings. The ring and the museum were interesting and gave an excellent insight into this controversial but important Spanish tradition. We all did feel very sorry for the poor old bulls however.

La Maestranza

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Our plans for Wednesday were changed as a three-hour train ride to Granada (and back) with a 5am start was not so appealing. The shorter 45 minute trip on the fast train to Cordoba was the preferred option. Cordoba is a magnificent city set on a beautiful wide river with plenty of gardens. Our first visit was to La Mezquita (The Great Mosque). This amazing building has rows and rows of variegated columns and arches that are supposed to be like date palms. Unfortunately there is a massive cathedral placed in its centre constructed in the 16th century. According to the guide books Emperor Carlos deeply regretted his decision and it certainly is ugly compared to the beautiful flow of the columns.

Cordoba highlights

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Other highlights of Cordoba included a walk through the narrow white-washed streets of the old Jewish neighbourhood (La Juderia). Lunch followed in a little courtyard where the children were serenaded by a Spanish guitarist, and then a stroll across the Rio Guadalquivir on a magnificent arched bridge with Roman foundations. However for the children the highlight was playing in an amazing children’s park set on the hilltop with over 30 pieces of play equipment ... a far cry from our sad and sorry park in Bologna.

During our final day and a half in Seville we managed to visit Museo de Bellas Artes, Casa de Pilotos, and take in a free show of flamenco dancing that started at 11pm - a bit late for some! Also an enjoyable walk through Barrio de Triana, a quarter once home to Seville’s gypsies that is well known for it beautiful ceramics. We topped off the day with lunch at Dos de Mayo ... this time I'm sure our lack of Spanish resulted in a plate of crumbed brains rather than crumbed fish ... best not to think too hard about it!

final Seville photos

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We arrived home in Bologna to a foot of snow - what a contrast.

Bologna

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Posted by happellfamily12 01:40 Archived in Spain Tagged seville and cordoba Comments (0)

Castell'Arquato via Fiorenzuola d'Arda

Day Tripper's Heaven

semi-overcast 8 °C

We are loving our time in Bologna, but as we battle through this third month of a pretty long and cold winter, 'cabin fever' is setting in from time-to-time. We are therefore blessed to have so many options - almost right on our doorstep - to choose from to stretch our legs and minds, and renew our love affair with 'less-visited' Italy.

The region of Emilia-Romagna has a surfeit of beautifully preserved castles - especially in the northern provinces of Parma and Piacenza - so there is no shortage of choices for the curious. If you cross reference this long list with the shorter list from "I Borghi piu Belli d'Italia" (a guide that roughly translates as "the most beautiful villages of Italy"), you normally get a perfect match! The girls and I had already visited the awesome Castello di Torrechiara, and as a family we have also toured the enchanting towns of Dozza and Brisighella, so Castell'Arquato - helped by a recommendation from some Italian friends - got the nod last Saturday.

heading up the hill to Rocca Viscontea

heading up the hill to Rocca Viscontea

A pleasant enough regional train ride dropped us off at Fiorenzuola d'Arda - an unobtrusive town 25 minutes north of Parma - and after we tracked down the only taxi driver at the local bar (drinking espresso, not mojitos!), we were efficiently dispatched to Castell'Arquato ten minutes down the road. Like so many towns in Italy, the newer outskirts are entirely forgettable, but the ancient heart, higher up the hill, was beautifully preserved and memorable (and was apparently used in the filming of 'Ladyhawke' for those film buffs).

healthy again at last ... lovely to see the boss with a smile!

healthy again at last ... lovely to see the boss with a smile!


and again ... behind is the Chiesa della Collegiata - rebuilt 1122

and again ... behind is the Chiesa della Collegiata - rebuilt 1122

The town underwent many different rulers over the centuries until its annexion to Italy in 1860, and the highlight is the Rocca Viscontea - built between 1342 and 1349 by Luchino Visconti, a member of the ruling family at the time. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the well-reviewed Ristorante Stradivarius, including a typical plate of the local cured meats, and a glass of the very quaffable regional wine called Gutturnio, a slightly sparkling red wine made predominantly from Barbera grapes.

Ristorante Stradivarius - these amazing lunches will live long in the memory

Ristorante Stradivarius - these amazing lunches will live long in the memory


Rocca Viscontea from the other side

Rocca Viscontea from the other side


Piazza del Municipio showcasing Palazzo del Podesta (built 1293) and Chiesa della Collegiata

Piazza del Municipio showcasing Palazzo del Podesta (built 1293) and Chiesa della Collegiata


if there is any snow around, these rugrats are sure to find it ...

if there is any snow around, these rugrats are sure to find it ...

We had a jolly old time climbing the castle tower, then the kids amused themselves by pulling sheets of ice out of the nearby fountain. A leisurely stroll down the hill, a gander at the locals at play (some festa tied in with Carnevale we thought), followed by the obligatory gelati rounded out our visit. A snooze on the train home for some (Lisa came to the aid of some hapless German tourists who hadn't validated their tickets - go the parlo Italiano!), and we returned to chilly Bologna with renewed enthusiasm for the week ahead.

OH and S Italian style!

OH and S Italian style!


but Dad, did you see the size of Gabi's sheet?

but Dad, did you see the size of Gabi's sheet?


not quite Venice, but locals were having fun nevertheless

not quite Venice, but locals were having fun nevertheless


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Posted by happellfamily12 14:12 Archived in Italy Tagged parma romagna castello castell'arquato ristorante emilia fiorenzuola stradivarius Comments (0)

Perhaps we should have stayed in Hotel des Invalides?

Paris in the Winter

rain 2 °C

Dan was nearly a non-starter for our four day soujourn in Paris. A nasty cough and no sleep the night before had him suggesting I take the girls by myself. However I wasn't sure how well I would manage with two kids and only merci and au revoir in my vocabulary. Fortunately the 'usband managed to rally and we caught our Bologna flight to Paris as planned. Our journey from Charles De Galle airport to our apartment was slow with the usually efficient RER train service to Paris central out of action. A bus and stopping-all-stations train to Paris finally saw us exit at St-Michel Notre Dame ... and what a magnificent sight to have the River Seine below and Notre Dame towering above. A quick walk and we soon arrived at our AirBnB accommodation. AirBnB is an internet-only accommodation booking service where anyone can have a listing - from their sofa bed right through to a Palace. We were staying in a lovely little apartment that belonged to Parisian Ben and his family. The place on the 5th floor was bright, smartly decorated and had lovely views out the windows - perfect for our needs. Lunch at a traditional French restaurant next door (veal, quiche) helped to restore our energy. Returning to our apartment, Dan and the kids decided to stay and rest and I went for a walk around Notre Dame and the local streets. A quick dinner at the local Japanese followed and then an early night for us all.

Notre Dame, River Seine, and Apartment View

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The next day saw Dan pick up the pace, but I dropped behind as I succumbed to the dreaded lurgi. He and the kids went to see the Eiffel Tower; something Gabi was very keen to do after reading about it in one of her books. The sight was thrilling as they stepped out of Trocadero Metro and witnessed the Eiffel Tower in all its' majestic glory. A quick walk and they were soon standing under the famous structure with a handful of other brave tourists waiting to ascend to the top. Unfortunately strong winds and howling rain restricted them to the second platform (128m up). However despite the cold, the children and Dan had a very enjoyable morning. In their absence I managed to get out to the local shops and purchase baguettes from the famous local bakery and a range of hams and cheeses. Fortunately my lack of French was not too much of a drawback!

Eiffel Tower and the Metro

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A quiet afternoon was had by all, and then a surprise was in store for the children. Dan had booked tickets to Cirque d'hiver (Winter Circus) on the recommendation of a (French) parent at our school. This circus is held in a purpose-built building completed in 1852. The structure is an oval polygon of 20 sides, giving the impression of an oval building enclosing the oval ring, surrounded by steeply banked seating for spectators - very much like a miniature indoor Colosseum. A low angled roof is self-supporting like a low dome, so that there is no central pole to obstruct views or interfere with the action. Once inside it did have a very intimate feel, and although we were in the cheap seats near the back our view was still excellent. We were entertained for 2 hours with performing lions, dogs, horses, amazing trapeze artists, acrobats, knife thrower, juggler, pole dancer and clowns. The kids loved all the action, and Dan particularly enjoyed the singing & dancing girls that kept the show flowing.

Cirque d'hiver

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Monday saw an improvement in the weather and also our health. A quick walk along Boulevard Saint-Germain and coffee at the famous Cafe de Flore - meeting point for many French intellectuals in the post-war years. Today however it is a trap for the gullible tourist with 7 euros being charged for a coffee ... six times what we pay in Bologna! After our budget-breaking cafe, Musee du Louvre was thankfully only a short stroll away. I had forgotten how massive the building was as it stretches along the river. Once inside the outer walls the impressive glass pyramid leads you to the entrance of the museum, and we were straight in (one of the bonuses of travelling in winter is that there are no queues). The Louvre was originally a medieval castle, a royal palace, and since 1793 a museum. It was one of Europe’s very first museums, and is now one of the world’s richest. The collections are divided into eight major departments: (Oriental Antiquities; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Painting; Sculpture; Objets d’art; Graphic Arts; Islamic Arts). We managed to see sculptures and many of the paintings including of course the famous Mona Lisa. After a while the kids were starting to get restless, so lunch and a trip to the bookshop ensued, giving Dan time to visit Napoleon's apartment. We finished the day with a trip to Montmartre - home of many artists and the famous Moulin Rouge. These painters congregate in the Place du Tertre with the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur looming in the background ... Gabi was inspired by much of the work she saw and completed her own painting of the Eiffel Tower - a future Cezanne perhaps?

Cafe de Flore (ouch!) and Musee du Louvre

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Montmartre

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Many stairs to climb to exit Abbesses Metro station.

Basilique du Sacre-Couer

Basilique du Sacre-Couer

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Our final morning in Paris and although we were unable to take in all the items on Dan's packed itinerary we did manage to fit in Musee d'Orsay (for me), and Jardin du Luxembourg for Dan and the kids. Musee d'Orsay was once a train station and it was nearly demolished in the 1970's, but was fortunately saved and opened as a museum/gallery in 1986. It is a wonderful space - much smaller than The Louvre - and a fantastic place to see a range of paintings, sculptures and photography. It is an especially good place to view some of the great Impressionist works (although no photos are allowed). My timing was perfect as the crowds were minimal, but once I left the building at 11am the queues were starting to build. A quick walk back along the Seine and I met the cold and wet trio returning from the park. Fortunately this time the train to the airport was working and we arrived quickly, changed the kids into dry clothes, and had some surprisingly tasty baguettes for lunch before boarding our favourite airline Easyjet!

Musee d'Orsay and bye gay Paris

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Our time in Paris was wonderful even if it was marred by ill-health ... a city that effortlessly lives up to its very high billing.

Posted by happellfamily12 12:51 Archived in France Tagged paris Comments (0)

Big game hunting in the Middle East

Tracking Tiger, the Goose, and Wee-Mac

sunny 24 °C

Turkish Airlines (voted Europe's best airline for the last two years ... querying the strength of this form however) dangled the bait with cut-price fares to the Middle East, so with the blessing of the 'trouble & strife', I booked a return ticket to coincide with Abu Dhabi's annual pro golf tournament. Normal direct fares with Emirates, Qatar, or Etihad are around 650 euro return, but the TA ticket was 340 euro, the catch being a stopover in Istanbul each way. On the journey over the break was 6 hours, allowing a quick city visit, but only 2 hours on the way 'home'.

ISTANBUL

Upon arrival mid-afternoon, a very efficient metro train ride, followed by an equally efficient and interesting light-rail ride (I kid you not), deposited me right near the blue mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) in the city centre. It cost around $3 for these fairly lengthy rides ... can someone remind me again why this is so hard in Sydney and Melbourne? Anyway, the blue mosque is quite simply mind blowing - and that's just from the outside - so hopefully a return visit in the future will allow time for an internal tour.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque

A brisk walk (it was only about 8 degrees) takes you past the Topkapi Palace - home to the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years - and down to the Bosphorus. Ever since 007 cavorted with Tatiana Romanova on this famous strait of water in From Russia With Love, it has been an ambition of mine to visit, and what a frenetic, fascinating scene it presents. Cars, ferries, street vendors, fishermen, locals, tourists, mosques, neon signs, honking & tooting ... it has it all, and in the gloaming this evening was especially beautiful. A chicken shawarma and a local Efes beer provided an effective filler until the 8:30pm Abu Dhabi leg of the flight.

twilight on the Bosphorus

twilight on the Bosphorus

ABU DHABI

A 2:30am arrival time saw most passengers stagger off our flight, but a subsequent 130km/h taxi ride into town quickly blew away the dozy cobwebs. A prompt check-in at the Cristal Salam Hotel was followed by four fitful hours of sleep, and then it was off to the golf course (please see below).

Abu Dhabi fails to flatter on the city approach - the buildings, whilst modern, are uninspiring - and it is only when you get to the waterfront that you gain an appreciation of the development over the past ten years. The catalyst for the city's rapid ascent was the death of then ruler Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan in 2004, and the subsequent succession by his son Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan. Whilst not on the same scale as Dubai, it is still an incredibly impressive, albeit slightly surreal city, and has further ambitions with projects like the Louvre Abu Dhabi expected to be completed in 2015 (the Frenchies apparently receiving 500 million for allowing the association!).

wall of glass ... Jumeirah Etihad Towers etc.

wall of glass ... Jumeirah Etihad Towers etc.


Emirates Palace Hotel - self proclaimed 6 stars - after peeking inside, hard to argue

Emirates Palace Hotel - self proclaimed 6 stars - after peeking inside, hard to argue


world's first gold dispensing ATM (in the EPH lobby) ... it's a cliche, but what will they think of next!

world's first gold dispensing ATM (in the EPH lobby) ... it's a cliche, but what will they think of next!

The Al Nahayan family are said to be worth 150 billion collectively, and were instrumental in bailing out Dubai a couple of years ago when the Maktoum family ran into some strife. Our Dubai friends - see next section - said that the previous trend of living in Abu Dhabi and commuting to work in Dubai has now reversed, with Abu Dhabi living costs rising so rapidly that it is now cheaper to live in glitzy Dubai. Funny old world ...

looking north along Corniche beach

looking north along Corniche beach


popped this one in for the Dumas boys - quirky street poster worked well I thought!

popped this one in for the Dumas boys - quirky street poster worked well I thought!

DUBAI

A painless 90 minute bus ride on a luxury coach - for the very reasonable price of $7 - deposited me into Dubai, and onto a much anticipated catch-up with an old buddy from my Hong Kong days. I attempted to purchase some wine before our dinner, but at the carefully hidden liquor store (in the otherwise garish shopping centre), was told I needed to be a citizen to make the purchase - the only alcohol consumption for tourists has to occur in (hotel) bars and clubs. Nevertheless I somehow managed to gain a sore head from our dinner, and struggled a bit on the early morning trip back to Abu Dhabi for Day 4 of the golf.

looking back to the city centre from what (I think) is the new suburb of Ibn Battuta

looking back to the city centre from what (I think) is the new suburb of Ibn Battuta


from the apartment balcony of our dinner venue which is based in The Palm development ... massive and impressive

from the apartment balcony of our dinner venue which is based in The Palm development ... massive and impressive

ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

The Middle East is now a key part of the European golf tour, and always manages to attract strong fields with good prizemoney, beautiful weather for January (mid-20's), attractive golf courses, and well-run tournaments. Combine that with some serious appearance money dished out to the game's superstars, and you get a very attractive package for players and spectators alike.

What cannot be relied upon however, is for said superstars to play some decent golf on Thursday & Friday, and thus qualify for the weekend rounds. I was desperate to see both Tiger and Rory McIlroy (Wee-Mac, after compatriot Graeme McDowell was branded as G-Mac!), but fate intervened and sent them both packing on Friday night ... with their million plus appearance fees. Rory was not so surprising - he signed with Nike the week before for a reported 200 million - so had to contend with new equipment. Tiger actually made the 'cut', but was then later penalised 2 shots for an incorrect drop, so missed by one.

giant oversight : confirm that overpaid stars make the cut before committing!

giant oversight : confirm that overpaid stars make the cut before committing!

Five years ago this may have been a problem, but the Euro tour now has such depth that there was still plenty of good players to see. Without wishing to bore non-golf fans, I particularly enjoyed watching established stars Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Peter Hanson, and Martin Kaymer, and was also excited to see rising stars Thorbjorn Olesen (from Denmark), and Bernd Wiesberger (Austria), who is built like a brick outhouse, and hits it into the next postcode.

Jason Dufner ... The Doofster hails from Auburn, Alabama, and is one laid-back dude

Jason Dufner ... The Doofster hails from Auburn, Alabama, and is one laid-back dude


Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie play up 18

Peter Hanson and Paul Lawrie play up 18


sartorially splendid Matteo Manassero ... 19 years old and already three tour victories

sartorially splendid Matteo Manassero ... 19 years old and already three tour victories


SSP Chowrasia - India's golfing answer to VVS Laxman. 5 foot 'nothing'; comfortably last in driving distance; can play however.

SSP Chowrasia - India's golfing answer to VVS Laxman. 5 foot 'nothing'; comfortably last in driving distance; can play however.

Warm weather, attractive and tough golf course, not too many spectators, and good facilities made for a fun couple of days. In the end, the very likeable Jamie Donaldson from Wales triumphed, making it two wins in eight months after playing for 11 years and 255 tournaments without a victory ... dare I say there is hope for us all!

Paddy Harrington ... one of the true good guys on tour

Paddy Harrington ... one of the true good guys on tour


possibly one that got away from Justin Rose; Thorbjorn Olesen an emerging talent

possibly one that got away from Justin Rose; Thorbjorn Olesen an emerging talent


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Posted by happellfamily12 13:11 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged trains golf friends buses abu dubai dhabi modernisation Comments (2)

'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' ... Merano style

Buon Natale, or Frohe Weihnachten, 2012

snow 4 °C

The kids have long dreamed of a white Christmas, so it was with some anticipation that we set off for Merano, in the northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige, or Sudtirol as the (many) German speakers are more likely to say. Our Vermont friends here in Bologna - the aptly named Natale family - had recommended the town after an enjoyable summer visit.

Dolomites ... awesome

Dolomites ... awesome

Located at the juncture of three valleys, Merano is 325m above sea level, and is surrounded by the stunning Dolomite mountains. The town has a long history as a therapeutic spa resort (famously patronised by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, or 'Sissi', in the mid-1800's), and has been a focal point in conflicts between the French, Austrians, and Italians over the centuries. Merano is just south of the Austrian border, with German the most prevalent language spoken, and the cuisine and architecture is a pleasing combination of Italian, Austrian, and German.

Passer River at dusk

Passer River at dusk


Passer River looking back over Merano

Passer River looking back over Merano

There were so many aspects of the town and area that appealed to us : lively Christmas markets along the Passer River; gluehwein, apfelstrudel, and zuppa di gulasch coming out of the kitchen; beautiful pedestrian-only main street (Via Portici) with stunning Christmas decorations; three dedicated pathways (passegiate) around town which showcase the best Merano has to offer, which of course includes the chocolate-box views of the alps.

Lisa reviving in front of the Christmas market stalls

Lisa reviving in front of the Christmas market stalls


Steinerner Steg ... built 1617

Steinerner Steg ... built 1617


Via Portici - even more alluring at night

Via Portici - even more alluring at night

Travelling up to the snowfields was a fairly painless exercise. A 15 minute bus-ride from just near our hotel to the funivia, followed by a short wait, then a brisk 8 minute cable-car ride up to Merano 2000, the local ski resort. The resort is around 1900m above sea level, and whilst it would be classified as basic amongst accomplished skiers, does a great job in servicing families and beginners. Prices were reasonable, with a daily ski pass for the four of us costing around AUD100.

as The Cure would say, "just like heaven"

as The Cure would say, "just like heaven"


Nat on top of the world

Nat on top of the world


spot the confident skier!

spot the confident skier!


Snow bunny is all smiles ...

Snow bunny is all smiles ...

We booked the kids in for a couple of private lessons, and then let Gabi loose into ski school for the last two days. The slopes were surprisingly uncrowded on the days leading up to Christmas, but became a lot busier after that. We elected to go up on Christmas Day as well, and we're so glad we did, as the lunch in the traditional rifugio (mountain hut) was memorable. Blessed by lovely weather on most days, we actually sat outside frequently for our rejuvenating meals and hot chocolates.

Christmas lunch venue ... low key but high enjoyment

Christmas lunch venue ... low key but high enjoyment

Two other activities we undertook are worth noting : a 3-hour visit to Terme Merano - a massive new complex in town that continues on with the therapeutic tradition. With 15 pools (and another 10 available in summer), spas, saunas, solariums, salt-treatments, and a multitude of other indulgences, this place had something to offer hypochondriacs and big spenders alike. As it was we all enjoyed the experience, but at 55 euro for the pleasure it could hardly be described as 'good value'! And finally, the girls and I had a crack at ice skating on the local rink. Harder than it looks I reckon, so the determination of the girls was admirable. We were even treated to a guest visit by Carolina Kostner - 2012 ice skating champ who lives nearby.

concentration required ...

concentration required ...


... or not!

... or not!

For those interested, a short video showcasing (?) the Happell family skiing ability :

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Posted by happellfamily12 09:49 Archived in Italy Tagged snow italy ski white christmas northern german gulasch speakers Comments (1)

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