June 21, 2018

I am always on the look out for new bird sightings!!  This trip did not disappoint me. There was a small park in Bolzano, Italy  and, seriously-  there was a bird house of some sort in every tree.  Most were occupied  by,  what we call in the USA, house sparrows.  But if  I didn’t  keep looking, I  might miss someone new.  Or a surprising  picture like this…

where Mama  bird  is practically   sticking her whole head down  baby bird’s throat!  Or…

I might have missed my  only sighting of a chaffinch, which is supposed to be very abundant in Europe.  But  I only saw one.   Maybe it was because I have never fed the birds hot dog pieces before.   :  )

This white wagtail was in a park in Munich, very busily searching  for bugs in the grass.  It must have been a lucrative spot because he was there for a long time and  could have cared less about me taking photos of him.

In Austria, I saw dozens and dozens of house martins, in the sky and flying  to and from their nests. Martins, like swallows,  spend most of their time in the air and only eat bugs.  They can mate and feed their young in the air.  House  martins  make cup-shaped mud nests, usually below the eaves of buildings.

“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”   by Saul Bellow

Family portrait of  barn swallows  in Italy.

This shot really shows off  the forked tail.

Feeding time.

This barn swallow’s  nest was under the awning of a gelato  stand/store but she didn’t seem to mind all of the  gelato-loving people  traffic.

Hope you enjoyed this final and all  of my posts from my  Germany/Austria/Italy trip for 2018.

Thanks for reading!









June 20, 2018

The last adventure of the trip was a day trip to Ortisei, about  an hour’s bus ride going up the mountain, from Bolzano.   Very  picturesque and relaxing to explore.

The Italians love their olive oil !!!

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!


EARTH PYRAMIDS, South Tyrol Province of Northern Italy

June 19, 2018

Seeing the Earth Pyramids was another adventure  while visiting Bolzano, Italy.  I  took the Renon cable car from Bolzano  up  to  Soprabolzano, on the Renon plateau.  It was a not-too- scary  12 minute ride with beautiful scenery.   Then I took  the Rittner railway to Klobenstein and  walked (following  the signs)  to  the Earth Pyramids. Here is a sample  of the  scenery   from the cable car to the  pyramids destination….

The  earth pyramids are a phenomenon caused by erosion. They consist of cone-shaped pillars formed by deposited clay and a boulder on top – often times  in bizarre shapes. Earth pillars started forming from moraine clay soil left behind after the last Ice Age when the glaciers  covering the valley melted away. In dry conditions  the soil is hard as stone, but, as soon as it rains, it turns into a  muddy mass, starts sliding, and so forms 10 to 15-meter-steep slopes. With more  rainfall, these slopes erode.

However, where there are rocks in the muddy mass, the clay soil underneath these rocks stays protected from the rain. So, while the surrounding material is continually carried off with the weather, the protected pillars literally rise out of the ground to form  earth pyramids.  The biggest pyramids  develop over thousands of years.   But once the boulder falls off its peak, an earth pyramid is  exposed to the rain,  shrinks  with each rainfall and  quickly  erodes from sight. Although while  one pyramid vanishes, another one  starts to form.

This is the picture perfect,  stunning  scenery  beyond the pyramids.

One last tidbit  to the  story – while standing and looking  at this gorgeous view – I heard a cuckoo bird!!  It sounds just like the clock!    Talk about perfect timing!!!     ( no pun  intended)

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed!










OTZI, THE ICE MAN, Bolzano, Italy

A model of  Otzi.

June 18, 2018

If you do nothing else in Bolzano, you must visit  the South Tirol Museum of Archaeology.  This  is the final resting place of the glacier mummy,  Otzi, the  Ice Man.   The museum  walks you through  the unbelievable story of how his frozen body was discovered high in the Otztal Valley Alps by  some hikers in 1991.  Originally he was thought to be that of a lost hiker, but,  after discovering  his pre-Bronze Age hatchet, they realized he was 5300 years old.    Otzi was almost perfectly preserved  along with some clothing and personal  effects.    You can see his  clothing  pieces and gear on display and  also view Otzi’s  still frozen corpse through a window of a cold cell that simulates glacier conditions.

Aside  from the whole  discovery, I  found it  fascinating   how  scientists  could determine that   Otzi  had  common  medical complaints such as  mild osteoarthritis,  was lactose intolerant,  his right knee was almost worn down and the lateral meniscus was damaged.  He had bad teeth,  an intestinal parasite,  atherosclerosis in the blood vessels of his necks and at the base of his skull.  His fingernails  have transverse ridges indicating his immune system was under stress before he died and possibly he had a chronic disease, not yet identified.     The scientists could also determine  there were grains and goat meat  in his stomach at the time of death.   Otzi was approximately 45 years old when he died.  It is  believed Otzi was  murdered  due to the  fresh arrow wound in  his shoulder and a brain trauma from  an impact injury to the head.  But it still is not clear if he was hit on the head or he fell.

If you are interested in learning more about Otzi, his clothing or gear,  there are many sources online, along with pictures of  his body.  Photos of the body were not allowed at the museum.

Thanks for reading!!







June 17, 2018

I am back  home  but I look forward to enjoying my trip a second time by sharing my postings  of the interesting places  I visited.

Leaving Penk, Austria and the wonderful time we all had at the wedding festivities  was bitter sweet but boarding the train with this incredible  landscape behind it,  how could I not  look forward to the next week?

We were on our way to Bolzano, Italy.  Bolzano is the doorway  to the Dolomite Mountains.   Dolomite is a sedimentary rock and gives these mountains  their shape and color.  This region  is bicultural  due to centuries of history – the land was  Austrian during the Hapsburg Reign and becoming  Italian after WWII.  Today all the signs and literature  are  posted in both languages.  The architecture is  mixed – some areas definitely Austrian influence, other areas Italian.

Most of Bolzano can be enjoyed  in a day but in  all directions, one can span out to  many  small towns for  sightseeing and/or  nature loving adventures.  Sit back,  relax and enjoy scenes  of Bolzano from the comfort of your own home….

Piazza Walther –  the statue honoring and the square named after a 12th century German  poet who stood up to the Holy Roman Emperor.

Also part of the Piazza Walther and the home of heavenly  pizza…

Walking down  the narrow side streets, alluring architecture is everywhere….

Along with eye catchings tidbits….

Flower stands in the market…


Wrought iron guild signs still identify shopping and eating favorites…..

Distinctively European / Italian  painted buildings…

A  plaque in the doorway  of a home is a somber reminder that a victim of WWII was taken from his home and  lost his life in Auschwitz   –   lest we  forget…..

A beautiful statue outside a 13th century  Dominican Church – art to some, a reminder to others that with prayer there is hope…..

Lastly  – a humorous modern reminder that many McDonalds in Europe sell beer – you can find it next to the salads and orange juice.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed!!







June 15, 2018

Landgut Moserhoff is a “working farm/ petting zoo, /resort” in Penk, Austria, and the destination wedding  location  for my  dear long time family friend.   The  place has  a main house and several  guest cabins, along with a spa room, a chapel and a play house.  There is also a playground,   swimming hole and a hot tub.  Being a working farm there was  also  2 barns, many horses to ride, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and  cats to pet, chickens to chase, and  goats  and  sheep  to watch.  Besides all of the wedding festivities, there so much  to  see and do , that  there was never  a idle moment.

Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful…..

Homey spots to sit and relax…..

Interesting  and ingenious  home crafted items….

This was the main house  and our apartment came with the top balcony you can see that is lined with flowers.

My alpine bedroom  also came with a full kitchen,  sitting area and balcony.

There was a swift  creek swollen with the melting  mountain snow  running  behind the property.

The mountainous scenery, the sound of the creek and the perfect weather was a perfect way to melt away any stress.

The peonies were just starting to bloom….

Farm necessities…..

Blooms and hidden treasures…..

More beautiful scenery…..

Our chariot  awaits  to take all of us  up the  mountain for the  wedding!  Sometimes a  spine tingling ride if you dare look out  and see the drop offs, but  the  smell of the genuine  pine trees was the best aromatherapy  ever.

This was the incredible  setting for the wedding.

Zooming in past the tree tops at the wedding setting…..

Last but not least, meet the newlyweds, Corrinney  and Christian!!!

Thanks to the new husband and wife for such a fun weekend!!

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed!




June  15, 2018

Summer adventure  2018 started  with a  brief couple  of days in Munich before moving onto Austria for a wedding.   The weather in Munich, however,  was not co-operative for vacation sight-seeing. Rainy, rainy and storming was the forecast.  But while dodging  some of the raindrops,  I managed to  walk around the city a bit and take some  random photos of snippets that caught my eye……

The 1st thought of many people when they think of Germany :  sausages.   And, rightfully so because they are  everywhere.  Germany will sausage you to death and Munich is no exception.

Lions – they are everywhere in Munich.  Why?  Because the  lion is the Bavarian heraldic charge  of the former ruling family, the Wittelsbachers,  since the 12th/13th century.  Today – still a symbol of  Munich and Bavaria.

Even fragments of the massive New Town Hall  can tell a story .

A larger fragment of the New Town Hall  and the gray skies that loomed.  Plus a shiny gold  Virgin Mary that sits high above on a column.   Mary is seen as a protector of Bavaria.

Shopping opportunities  are  abundant and bordering  over- whelming.  The Queen, in particular,  likes  to shop at Munich’s  Crabtree  and Evelyn  and takes a moment to greet passersby.

The Hofgarden’s flowers are just beginning to show off their beauty.

The Old Town Hall

Interesting  art on the grounds of one of the universities.  Though in this age of technology – I  think he should be wearing a Fitbit.

The city is also full of beautiful and interesting churches.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!

Stay  tuned for Austria…..





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