It’s raining today. There is something about rain and fog in cities that are as old as Salzburg and Florence. The weather carries the smells of years in a way that emphasizes their age and a certain degree of permanence. The city responds to the wet by saying, “I’m still here and won’t be quite so easily washed away.” In the mist, the ghosts of antiquity rise from the pavement in a drowsy sigh and pervade the streets once more, musicians at long last taking up their forgotten instruments, shopkeepers checking the store and sobbing gently at what has disappeared, and lovers renewing passions, so engrossed in each other that they are unaware of any changes about them. On some level I think it must have always rained in the Middle Ages (which explains why it always rains when I go to the Renaissance Festival).
Amongst this cacophony, I woke before sunrise. I had decided I wanted to get to Bolzano early, because Ötzi isn’t open on Monday. I don’t yet know what else I will do there, but I just couldn’t be this close and not step foot into Italy. And while I considered staying in Austria for the entire vacation as there is a lot left to see here, and limited time, I was never able to develop a great enthusiasm for Graz (or Munich, Gemany, which was also suggested).
To clarify the choice of Bolzano, I would have liked to venture further south, perhaps even to Sicily, but ultimately decided that there were no easy connections to get there from here. Further, although I would love to see Verona, I didn’t want to spend my entire vacation on the train, and the trip from Verona to Vienna is crazy long. Bolzano won out because it is relatively close, it’s a place I wouldn’t have otherwise considered visiting on its own, and given its heritage it fits the Austrian theme, so Bolzano it is!
Right now I’m on the IC, because the RailJet wasn’t leaving for another hour. RailJet is definitely a much nicer train, and avoids a number of unnecessary stops. But time trumps comfort in this instance.
I’m approaching Innsbruck where I will change trains and cross into Italy via the Brenner pass. The Alps are already rising about me, their snowy beards trailing down their ponderous frames. It is magnificent country and I’m glad I am here, even if only for a brief passage.