Meran, Italy


 

PHOTO CREDIT:  Allison Lloyd

PHOTO CREDIT: Allison Lloyd

Hi! Rylie here while my mother is hunched over her laptop typing another romance. Today, I’m sharing more adventures from my trip to Italy this past spring.

We walked up the hill from Brunnenburg to Dorf Tirol on a rainy morning, able to see where the precipitation turned to snow farther up in the mountains. Waiting for the bus, we shivered in the cold mist and snapped pictures of the snow-sprinkled farms. The ride down the mountain to Meran was fairly quick, certainly less death-defying than our first bus ride, and I was excited to see the market that we were told spanned much of downtown.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Allison Lloyd

PHOTO CREDIT: Allison Lloyd

The market – a strange, eclectic farmer’s market, cheap clothing mixed in with designer clothes and handbags – was pretty impressive. I bypassed the several food stands, selling everything from pastries and dried fruit to links of sausage and heaps of vegetables and fish, and headed straight for the clothing. The town square was somehow colder than Dorf Tirol, and I bought two scarves for three Euros each with the hope of maintaining some body heat. I was semi-successful, no longer shaking, so my friend and I wandered around the market looking at leather jackets and sundresses before heading back to munch on hot pretzels and chocolate croissants. Unfortunately, the rain continued, and we decided to cut our visit short and return to Brunnenburg where we could work on our writing assignments by the kitchen fireplace.

Trail to Merano

Trail to Meran

We were disappointed about not seeing more of Meran, so we opted out of a six-hour hiking trip to visit the town instead on another day, this time in bright sunny weather. We walked the entire way on a beautiful winding downhill trail, which took us about an hour to travel. There were plenty of streams and eroded rocks to hop over and around. We could see the vineyards and farms near Brunnenburg on one side, and between the thick cover of trees we spotted the yellow-painted roofs of homes on the outskirts of Meran. (I later learned many of those houses belong to North Europeans who vacation in Meran during the winter season.) My classmates and I became a bit mixed up when we ended up at a roundabout road, but thankfully, after about ten minutes of asking for local passerby directions, some joggers understood enough of our Italian/English jumble to point us in the right direction.

Meran

Meran

At the end of the trail, we were on a residential street and had to find our way to the center of town. We ended up weaving our way into a wide alleyway, and happened upon little souvenir shops clustered together. We attempted to find the bus station before we began our shopping, but were unsuccessful. Every sign was in Italian and we had no maps, so we decided to worry about that later.

An Antiques Shop

An Antiques Shop

One of my classmates was obsessed with the tea shop. There were all varieties of the beverage as well as tea-related dishware. She bought a tea strainer in the shape of a submarine. It was really cute!

My Woodcarved Purchases

My Woodcarved Purchases

There were antique stores with porcelain, painted dolls and handcrafted wind chimes. I especially liked the woodcarving shops, which interestingly, were the only ones in Meran that I visited with German-speaking shopkeepers. There was a forest display filled with wooden deer, rabbits, owls, and other adorable creatures. I wanted to buy the deer for my dad, but it was priced at over two hundred euros, a bit steep for my wallet. My parents have a few ceramic plates from past travels, so I was thrilled to later discover a shop with the towns’ famous clock-tower in a cherry-and-lemon colored glaze.

Hand-Painted Collector Plate

Hand-Painted Collector Plate

Of course, we stopped by no fewer than three gelato shops to find the best gelato in town!
I suppose a trip abroad is not complete without the travelers getting lost. After spending ten minutes trying to ask for directions back to the main bus station, and another half hour searching around town, we finally stumbled upon a tiny, deserted, out-of-the-way bus stop that we hoped would bring us back to Dorf Tirol. I was kicking myself for not having brushed up on my Italian more before the trip, but lucky for us, a bus did turn up at the time we thought it should. We always could’ve hiked back, but even as a newly-converted hiking lover, I wasn’t too sure how we’d manage wearing jeans and lugging armfuls of made-in-Meran purchases up the mountainside.

Amanda at Merano

What’s the most fascinating souvenir you’ve ever purchased? Have you ever gotten lost and begun to panic like I did?

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jill Weatherholt
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 11:48:19

    I’ll bet warming up by the kitchen fireplace felt pretty good. I can’t stand the cold. Your pictures get better with each post, Rylie. The antique shop looks beautiful. I would have been scared to go inside as my purse has a tendency to knock into things. 🙂 Like you, I got lost once trying to find the bus stop in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately my college level Spanish didn’t bail us out of the situation. Honestly, I don’t remember how we found our way. I guess we just kept wandering. Another great post!

    • Rylie Barnett
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 18:44:00

      Thank you so much, Jill! I had the same thought with my giant backpack, so I looked in through the windows for a lot of the smaller shops – I wasn’t ready to be yelled at in Italian for breaking something haha. I’m glad you weren’t lost for long, though! Those darn bus stops are hard to find, but it’s definitely an interesting experience being lost in a non-English-speaking town!

  2. Debora Dale
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 19:06:52

    What a fabulous post. You took me right along with you. Great pictures – for some reason, I especially love the antique shop photo.

    My husband and I got lost while on vacation once. We were in California and it was the night before his cousin’s early-morning wedding. We were on ‘Angel Hill’ or something like that, and we just kept going around and around, passing the same houses and cars – on the left, on the right – no matter what turn we made or direction we headed. We thought we’d never get off that hill but finally did – obviously. lol

    Loved this post. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Rylie Barnett
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 18:47:57

      Thank you, Debora! The shops were absolutely adorable, I’m so glad I thought to take a picture of one to share with you guys 🙂 That must have been terrifying – I was comforted by the fact that I knew we could always walk back, but I can’t imagine going in circles like that!

  3. Donna Coe-Velleman
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 19:26:22

    It is interesting but not surprising that the woodcarving shops were German speaking considering Meran is not that far from the Swiss and German borders and that they are known for such crafts. I would have loved to see those shops and thw antiques as well.

    Thanks for the glimpses of your trip.

    • Rylie Barnett
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 18:51:27

      Thank you, Donna! I wasn’t as surprised by the fact the woodcarvers spoke German so much as the fact they didn’t speak Italian very well, or at all! I knew being so close to the border that German was common – especially in Dorf Tirol, where we were staying – but Meran seemed so much more “Italian” that it threw me for a loop for a moment! 😀

  4. gailingis
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 22:10:38

    Fantastic, great photos, wonderful writing. Thanks for sharing. Your descriptions were clear and beautiful.

  5. Rhonda Hopkins
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 22:22:33

    Awesome photos! I am enjoying these posts a lot – getting a vicarious thrill through your trip. 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Rylie Barnett
      Jul 30, 2013 @ 18:57:01

      Thank you so much, Rhonda! I’ve definitely got more posts to share, so I’m glad you like them!

  6. Gwen
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 08:59:38

    Gorgeous pix Jolyse! I’ve never been, but I think every Italian has Italy in their blood! Ciao.

  7. Rylie Barnett
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 19:02:41

    Thank you, Gwen! As a German with a fascination for all things European, I definitely enjoyed staying in northern Italy where the cultures were so interestingly combined. But Italy was absolutely beautiful, and I highly recommend visiting, especially for Italians – there’s so much history to learn, even in the smaller towns! I hope you get to go someday 😀

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