South Tyrol: An upcoming Italian destination

South Tyrol.. It’s a very unique and special place for me. Ever since I can remember, we’ve been going here (between Bolzano and Merano) for a bit of hiking, nature and exploring.
Even though it’s in Italy, almost all people speak German because of its proximity to the Austrian boarder. Therefore it’s a very popular destination for German tourists/travelers.
But it should definitely not be ignored by all the other travelers from around the world since that area has so much to offer!
It’s a very famous wine region with vines all around and lots of opportunities to try and buy the most delicious wine. On top of that, it’s famous for its Schnaps, which can be tried and bought at a lot of places around there as well.

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Snowcaps on the way

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Bolzano

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Bolzano

 

Bolzano

Bolzano and Merano are Italian cities after all, so if you are looking to do a bit of shopping, come here and you won’t be disappointed. And with the beautiful combination of old colorful houses and mountains in the background, the scenery isn’t too bad either.

Merano

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Merano

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Merano

Me between the vines

But shopping isn’t the main attraction of that area, it’s definitely the nature and hiking. You can choose from so many different walks from easy to hard, in the mountains, around the lakes or through the vines and apple trees. Most of them lead you to a little restaurant (at one point) where you can eat the typical food such as bacon/ham, bread etc. and drink some apple juice or wine from that area.

Grape harvest

Grapes

Vines

Waterfall close to the “Kalterer See”

Kalterer See

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Apple Trees

So if you are into nature, think about coming to South Tyrol at one point. Especially around September the weather is great, we had a bit of rain one night but other than that the sun was out all the time and it was warm enough for just a leather jacket or sometimes even a t-shirt.

Things you need to know

  • Currency: It’s all in Euro, just like the rest of Italy
  • Language: Italian and German
  • Destinations: You can stay in Bolzano or Merano and just do day trips from there (it’s easy to reach by train or bus) or you choose one of the many hotels in the surrounding areas. Having a car is a plus.
  • Food and drinks you have to try: Try some wine of the area. Get a “Brotzeitbrett” which is full of cheese and ham and bread. And since you are in Italy, pasta’s always a good option.
  • Preparations: Definitely get a guide book for the best walks and hikes beforehand. The hotels also have maps of the areas, but it’s nice to choose the most interesting ones beforehand.

 

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Expectations vs Reality: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest… Whenever I tell people I’m from Germany, people tell me two things: 1. Aw, I love Berlin! and/or 2. I’ve been to Oktoberfest and I loved it!
Well, Germany’s more than just those two destinations, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is: It’s about time for our 4th season (that’s what people from Munich call Oktoberfest, btw) and because I’m sure there are a few people out there who plan a trip, here’s a bit of a reality check for you.

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On the last night of Oktoberfest, they hand out sparkling candles and everyone lights them up during the last song.

First and probably most important: Oktoberfest is NOT in October. Well, it is for a few days, but it usually starts in the middle of September. This year, the first day is September 16th and it goes on until October 3rd. Why does it end on a Tuesday? Because that’s our national holiday (Tag der deutschen Einheit). That’s why it normally ends around October 3rd (or after that, in case it’s a Friday or Satuday).

Let’s talk about tables. No, you can’t just walk into a tent and expect to get a table unfortunately. But you also can’t reserve a table a week before either. Or a month for that matter. Normally, tables are fully booked around 10-11 months before Oktoberfest. So if you want to go to Oktoberfest 2018, be quick and reserve a table on October 4th! *
That doesn’t mean that all tables are reservered inside and you have no chance of having a good time. There’s always quite a big amount of tables that are free to grab. Obviously you have more chance during the week than on weekends, but a lot of time it’s just luck.
A tip: Go and pick a table with older or really drunk people and let one or two people of your group try to sneak in. Usually those groups leave after a while and you have the table to yourself. But just to not be rude, always ask if you can sit down to order a beer or food first (they usually don’t serve you if you don’t have a table).
If you want to have a table completely to yourself, wake up early and be there when the tents open! On the first day, this happens between 7 and 8am, depending on the door you choose,  but beer isn’t served until 12pm, when they officially called “O’Zapft is!”. On weekdays, the first beer is served at 10am, on the weekends it’s 9am.  Unfortunately I can’t tell you which door is best to use because they don’t really have a system for that.
Beer is served every day until 10pm and the tents close at 11pm. You can either decide to head out to a Munich club, since they all have After Wiesn specials or you go home, sleep and be ready to do the whole thing again the day after!

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Hacker tent

 

Oktoberfest beer is strong. And I mean that quite literally, it’s a stronger beer than people usually drink. This means that when you think you can drink around 3-4 liters, you might not be able to, even if you normally drink that much beer on a night out. It just hits you harder.

I would like to give you a tent guide but I haven’t been in a while and I actually believe that you can have fun wherever you end up going if you’re only with the right people.

But one more thing (important for girls and boys): The bow-rule. Girls/Women wear a Dirndl with an apron. This apron and especially where they tie the bow has a meaning:
Left: Single.
Right: Taken.
Middle: Virgin.
Back: Widow.
There are people out there who say that you only tie your bow on the right when you are actually married, but I think we live in a time and day where some people never get married and are still in a committed relationship, so for me right bow means taken in any way.
So boys, be careful who you hit on, there might be a big strong boyfriend or husband waiting for you on the next table!

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* planning ahead is actually really important in general. If you are coming from somewhere else, book flights / busses / trains a good while ahead. Most importantly though, book your accommodation! Every hotel gets 100%-200% more expensive around Oktoberfest time and you just won’t be able to afford it the closer it gets. So book ahead!

7 Things I still haven’t done in Munich and around

I’m a true “Münchner Kindl” as people call it. Born and raised in Munich. Okay, fair enough, I left Munich when I was 20 and only came back when I was around 26, but since my parents live here, I’ve visited quite often in those 6 years.
But I guess all of us know that you tend to not really explore the cities you live in as much as you explore cities while you are traveling.

That’s why I’ve made this list of things I haven’t done in Munich and around. To remind myself to tick them off little by little and to give you an idea what to do in Munich, if you are visiting. A win-win so to speak.

#1 Schloss Neuschwanstein

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Looking back at an awesome time at the place where fairytales are born. I'm also stoked about my next road trip through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy coming up this October . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #exploreourearth #wanderout #feelthealps #stayandwander #theimaged #houseoftones #soft_vision #folkvibe #exploretocreate #presetcc #travelingourplanet #wekeepmoments #heatercentral #natureromantix #lifeofadventure #shotzdelight #folkgood #visualsoflife #globeshotz #roamourplanet #bealpine #thediscover #kellansworld #vicivisuals #modernoutdoors #awakethesoul #viewbug #theweekoninstagram @aroundtheworldpix @snapbyyou @theprotraveler @travelsearth @europeroamers @thealpinists @germanroamers @campingofficial @earthroamers @earthgrammers @createcommune @artofvisuals @moodygrams @vicivisuals @thedscvrr @viewbug

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Well, it’s not really in Munich and it’s a bit of a drive (almost 2 hours) but it’s something a lot of people do while they are in Munich. And I’ve lived here for quite a while and never have. Shame on me.

#2 Zugspitze

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Горнолыжный сезон не за горами! Вы уже выбрали, где будете покорять ⛷ снежные пустыни этой зимой? Поболтаем о трех популярных европейских направлениях: ✈️ Австрия — рекордсмен среди своих альпийских соседей. В эти Альпы едут все: новички и профессионалы, сноубордисты и фрирайдеры. Практически на каждом курорте есть зоны катания, как для продвинутых лыжников, так и для начинающих. Горнолыжный отдых здесь можно сочетать с оздоровительными процедурами. В Бад Гаштайне, Бад Хофгаштайне, Лангерфельде и других помимо великолепных гор есть также и термальные источники. ✈️ Франция. Здесь горнолыжные станции строились не в долинах, а прямо на склонах. Многие отели во французских Альпах и особенно гостиницы высокого класса построены по системе «Ski in and Ski out» — это означает, что подъехать к отелю можно прямо на лыжах. Зоны катания здесь соединены единой системой подъемников. И лыжникам рекомендуют всегда иметь при себе карту‑схему трасс, чтобы не заблудиться. ✈️ Германия. Главный курорт Германии — Гармиш‑Партенкирхен — большой город, куда удобно ездить большой компанией, в которой не все катаются на лыжах. Пока лыжники гоняют по трассам, остальные могут знакомиться с достопримечательностями. Например, посетить замки «сказочного короля» Баварии Людвига II — Нойшванштайн и Линдерхоф. За фото спасибо Виктории @vic_creations ✌️ Отели ищите в нашем приложении @hotellook_ru 😉

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It’s the highest mountain in Germany (almost 3.000m) and that’s why I feel like it should be a place on everyone’s list, especially when they are from around here. It’s actually just right next to Eibsee where I spent a lot of days already but I’ve never made it up there. But I mean, I’ve still got time.

#3 Deutsches Museum

Alright, this is one point that’s not fully true. I’ve been to the museum before, it’s our science museum and actually the biggest one in the whole world but I think the last time I went was about 20 years ago and I was really bored and didn’t enjoy it. Can’t wait to bring my little nephew and be a kid again for a day!
Actually done that now in October 2017.

#4 Floßfahrt

It’s a very famous thing to do in Munich: Go on one of those wooden boats as you can see on the photo and float along the river, while drinking beer, eating and listening to bavarian music. There are different companies that offer this way of seeing a bit of nature and that way you don’t have to do any hard work yourself. Perfect, huh?
Find one of those companies here.

#5 Surf the Eisbach

Alright, you got me, I suck at surfing so I will probably NEVER fulfil this secret wish of mine but everytime I bring friends to the river, I wish I could just jump right in and do it myself. But yeah.. Probably not gonna happen.

#6 Have breakfast at Viktualienmarkt

“Frühschoppen” is what we call it here. You drink a “Weißbier” (wheat beer) and eat some “Weißwurst” (a bavarian type of sausage) and just enjoy your morning. Sounds pretty peaceful, doesn’t it?

#7 Kocherlball

The idea behind the “Kocherlball” is, that back in the day servants weren’t able to really celebrate and “party” since they were working the normal party-hours. That’s why Kocherlball formed, which happened every Sunday during summer the servants had to start working (5am-8am). Since 1989, Munich brought back Kocherlball one Sunday in July (with a different background obviously) and invited everyone who was interested in dancing classical dances, eating, drinking and having a good time.
I haven’t made it yet but I’m sure I’ll go one day. It definitely sounds (and looks!) like fun!
Here’s a link to what is planned for Kocherlball 2018.