Picture this: Red folding tables and chairs made of wood line the exterior of a small pub. They sit on the evenly placed charcoal gray cobblestones that cover the ground. The air is crisp, fall has definitely set in in this part of the world. People stroll by on their evening passeggiata, looking in the boutique store windows that fill the streets. The waiter brings my German dunkel beer to my table-for-one while wearing a lederhosen. Behind me, a couple speaks with Canadian accents about the hike they took that day. To my left, four quintessential Italian looking men are speaking in German, but halfway through a sentence switch to Italian. Mountains can be seen rising up over the tops of the buildings, looming darkly as night is setting in. They appear now more as dark shadows against the sky as twilight approaches. A tall man with massive brown curls, frizzed out to his shoulders begins playing a bagpipe on the street corner and the sound begins to skirl through the air.
Bolzano. Bozen. This place is bizarre. Beautiful, and bizarre. I have lived in Italy for two years and this place contradicts everything I thought I understood about this country. Südtirol/Alto-Adige used to be a part of Austro-Hungary, so I shouldn't be that surprised, yet here I am, baffled by how different this part of the Italy is. At this point, I should know not to be surprised when places are different than my expectations. I definitely fall victim to the line, "I did not know what to expect, but it was not this." I've been here for a full 24-hours and I already have a list of contradictions growing in my head.
I am in Italy but everything is speaking German.
Signs are in German, the radio is in Italian.
I am in Italy, but the public transportation is reliable and on-time.
I am in Italy, but I ate spätzle and a pretzel today.
People speak to me in German, and I respond in Italian.
I actually look like I could be a local here.
Beer is cheaper than water.
I drank a German beer, at a pub in Italy, while listening to Scottish bagpipes.
The weather said it would be sunny and 60, so I decide to go for a hike in the mountains, but the weather decides to be 50 and foggy (pictured above).
I am 23 years old, working full-time, but I still get a week-long fall break.
I am a female, traveling alone.
I said I would write more, yet here I am 5 months since my last post.
Trump is a misogynist in the running for president (oh wait, that's the USA, I digress).
I love this beautiful town more than I thought I would. I could go on, but I'll stop here and fill in more later. I have day trips to the surrounding towns to plan. (Don't worry mom & dad, I've made friends and am being safe!) Thanks (danke? grazie?) for reading.