B2 High-Intermediate UK 4073 Folder Collection
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HI, I'M RICK STEVES.
THANKS FOR JOINING US AS WE SHARE
SOME OF MY FAVORITE EUROPEAN DISCOVERIES.
WE'RE STARTING ATOP THE ZUGSPITZE,
THE MIGHTIEST OF GERMAN PEAKS AT 10,000 FEET.
THE ZUGSPITZE STRADDLES TWO GREAT NATIONS.
I'M IN GERMANY.
I'M IN AUSTRIA.
DESCENDING THE AUSTRIAN SIDE OF THE ZUGSPITZE,
WE'LL SEE BUSY INNSBRUCK BUT STAY IN SMALL TOWN TIROL.
AFTER CROSSING THE ALPS OVER BRENNER PASS,
WE'LL TOUR MY FAVORITE MEDIEVAL CASTLE INTERIOR
AND MAKE OF KASTELRUTH OUR HOME BASE
FOR SAMPLING ITALY'S RUGGED DOLOMITES.
IN WESTERN EUROPE,
AUSTRIA AND ITALY SHARE A BORDER ALONG THE ALPS.
STARTING IN AUSTRIA,
WE'LL TRAVEL THROUGH INNSBRUCK AND THE TIROL
BEFORE CROSSING THE BRENNER PASS INTO ITALY.
THERE, WE'LL MAKE STOPS AT BOLZANO AND KASTELRUTH.
THIS CROSS MARKS THE SPOT
WHERE CLIMBERS FIRST REACHED THE SUMMIT HERE IN 1851.
WHILE THIS MARKS THE HIGHEST POINT IN GERMANY,
WE'RE HEADING INTO AUSTRIA,
WHERE THERE ARE PLENTY OF HIGHER PEAKS.
FROM HERE, THE ALPS ARC BEFORE US
LIKE A GRAND ALPINE SYMPHONY.
AT THE ZUGSPITZE SUMMIT,
AS ON SO MANY EUROPEAN MOUNTAINTOPS,
YOU'LL FIND RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, AND WELL-ENTERTAINED TOURISTS.
THE GERMAN SIDE IS SCALED BY A COGWHEEL TRAIN
AND CABLE CAR FROM GARMISCH,
ABOUT AN HOUR'S RIDE TO THE NORTH.
THIS SPEEDY TRAM IS TAKING US DOWN THE AUSTRIAN SIDE
TO THE VILLAGE OF EHRWALD, WHERE WE PARKED OUR CAR.
THE FAMOUS ZUGSPITZE ATTRACTS TRAVELERS
FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
ESCAPING THE TOURIST CROWD TAKES A LITTLE INITIATIVE
AND, TO REACH SOME PLACES, A CAR.
WE'RE DRIVING TO FALLERSHEIN,
A TINY TUMBLE OF LOG CABINS AT THE END OF A NARROW ROAD.
OUR GOAL?
TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF AUSTRIA
AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A CENTURY AGO.
FALLERSHEIN, AT 4,000 FEET,
REPLACES THE MODERN SCRAMBLE WITH A FLOWER-SPECKLED WORLD
OF SERENE SLOPES AND ANDANTE COWBELLS.
THUNDERSTORMS ROLL DOWN THIS VALLEY
LIKE IT'S GOD'S BOWLING ALLEY, AND BRACED AGAINST THE WEATHER,
THE TINY HAMLET CONTINUES TO SURVIVE.
DAILY LIFE AND THE VILLAGE ECONOMY
HAS REVOLVED MOSTLY AROUND THE COWS.
ORIGINALLY THIS WAS A SUMMERTIME-ONLY COMMUNITY
OF DAIRY FARMERS.
BUT TODAY, THE VILLAGE IS ALSO POPULAR AS A ROMANTIC RETREAT
FOR AUSTRIAN VACATIONERS WHO'VE RENTED CABINS HERE.
FALLERSHEIN IS FAMOUS AMONG THOSE IN THE KNOW
AS A RUSTIC GETAWAY.
HIKERS AND BUDGET TRAVELERS BED DOWN HERE
IN THE ALMWIRTSCHAFT FALLERSHEIN.
ABOVE THE MOUNTAIN RESTAURANT,
THERE'S A LOFT FILLED WITH MATTRESSES.
THIS IS A MATTRESS LOFT ORmatratzenlager.
THROUGHOUT THE ALPS,
"lager"IS A KEY WORD FOR "CHEAP BED."
THElagerAND RESTAURANT ARE OPEN MAY THROUGH OCTOBER,
WEATHER-PERMITTING.
AFTER FALLERSHEIN, INNSBRUCK,
A COUPLE HOURS' AWAY BY CAR, FEELS LIKE A METROPOLIS.
SIX HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THIS POPULAR TOURIST STOP
) WAS THE HAPSBURG CAPITAL OF THE TIROL.
BY THE TIME THEY GOT HERE,
THE HAPSBURGS WERE WELL ON THEIR WAY
TO BEING EUROPE'S MOST POWERFUL FAMILY.
THEY EXPANDED AND CONSOLIDATED THEIR VAST EMPIRE
THROUGH CLEVER ALLIANCES
AND POLITICALLY HELPFUL MARRIAGES.
THIS MUCH-OGLED GOLDEN ROOF
WAS BUILT BY HAPSBURG EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN IN 1496.
THE ROOF, WITH OVER 2,500 GILDED COPPER TILES,
REMAINS THE TOWN'S CENTERPIECE.
THE HAPSBURGS RULED HERE UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR I.
INNSBRUCK'S MEDIEVAL CENTER IS NOW A PEDESTRIAN ZONE.
LOOKING PAST THE CROWDS,
IT STILL FEELS LIKE AN OLD PROVINCIAL CAPITAL.
THE CITY'S FOLK MUSEUM IS A MEDIEVAL TIROLEAN HOME SHOW.
CRIBS WERE DECORATED WITH CHRISTIAN THEMES
TO BE SURE GOD WATCHED OVER THE LITTLE BABY,
BUT JUST TO COVER ALL THEIR SPIRITUAL BASES,
A PRE-CHRISTIAN DRUID PENTAGRAM WAS CARVED ON THE HEADBOARD.
AND OFFERING ANOTHER KIND OF PROTECTION WAS THIS MAN,
A SALTNER OR HUMAN SCARECROW
WHO GUARDED THE VINEYARDS FROM BOARS, FOXES, AND BIRDS.
THIS EXHIBIT SHOWS OFF THE REGION'S TRADITION
OF FINE WOOD CARVING.
WHILE THIS COULD BE ANY TIROLEAN VILLAGE,
IT'S BETHLEHEM IN THE ALPS.
BIBLE STORIES LIKE THIS NATIVITY SCENE
MADE MOST SENSE TO LOCALS
WHEN PRESENTED IN A FAMILIAR HOMETOWN SETTING.
ONE OF INNSBRUCK'S MOST FAMOUS SITES
IS ABOVE THE CITY, THE SKI JUMP.
THE SPOTLIGHT OF THE WORLD WAS ON INNSBRUCK
AS IT HOSTED THE WINTER OLYMPICS TWICE IN 1964 AND '76.
SPORTS FANS MAY RECALL MANY INFAMOUS CRASHES OFF THIS JUMP.
FOR SAFER SPORT,
HIKERS TAKE TO THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAINS ON FOOT.
INNSBRUCK'S WORTH A QUICK LOOK,
BUT I PREFER A SMALL TOWN, ONE WITH FEWER TOURISTS.
TONIGHT WE'RE SLEEPING FIVE MILES DOWNSTREAM
IN THE TOWN OF HALL.
BEFORE THE TIME OF THE HAPSBURGS,
HALL IN TIROL WAS A RICH, SALT-MINING CENTER
AND INNSBRUCK WAS, AS ITS NAME IMPLIES,
JUST A HUMBLE BRIDGE TOWN ON THE INN RIVER.
SO HALL'S MEDIEVAL CENTER
IS ACTUALLY LARGER THAN INNSBRUCK'S.
LAID-BACK HALL CRADLES ITS MARKET SQUARE.
HALL'S PASTEL BUILDINGS AND COBBLED STREETS
FEEL REFRESHINGLY REAL...
TOO REAL IF YOU'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING MORE
THAN A LEISURELY LUNCH FROM NOON TO 2:00,
WHEN EVERYTHING CLOSES.
AND IN SMALL-TOWN EUROPE,
MANY RESTAURANTS TAKE AN ENTIRE WEEKDAY OFF.
THIS SIGN SAYS"Heute Ruhetag."
THAT'S GERMAN FOR "TODAY IS OUR QUIET DAY."
DURING THE RULE OF THE HAPSBURGS,
HALL'S CASTLE SERVED AS THE LOCAL MINT.
FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THIS HOW YOU MADE MONEY.
TRADITIONAL METHODS ARE STILL USED HERE
TO STRIKE SHINY SOUVENIR COINS.
BACK WHEN SALT WAS MONEY, HALL WAS LOADED.
THE TOWN'S ELEGANT ARCHITECTURE AND RICH CHURCH
MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IN ITS DAY, HALL WAS A LOCAL POWERHOUSE.
THIS MUCH-APPENDED GOTHIC CHURCH IS DECORATED BAROQUE
WITH FINE ALTARS, GILDED STARBURSTS,
AND THE SKULLS AND SKELETONS OF SAINTS,
EERIE RELICS THAT LOOK BACK AT YOU.
[ bell tolling ]
THE OLD PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE LEADS OVER THE INN RIVER
AND TO OUR HOTEL.
IN EUROPE, I RELY ON A GOOD GUIDEBOOK FOR HOTEL LISTINGS,
MAKE RESERVATIONS BY TELEPHONE A DAY OR TWO IN ADVANCE,
AND RECONFIRM WITH ANOTHER PHONE CALL BEFORE SHOWING UP.
GASTHOF BADL IS A FRIENDLY PLACE RUN BY FRAU STEINER.
IT'S CONVENIENT AND OFFERS A WARM WELCOME.
AS IN MANY HOTELS,
TOURIST-INFORMATION BROCHURES IN ENGLISH
ARE READILY AVAILABLE IN THE LOBBY.
FRAU STEINER IS CHECKING TO SEE
IF THERE'S A TIROLEAN FOLK EVENING NEARBY.
[ speaking German ]
YES, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE FOR THIS EVENING.
GREAT, THANKS.
OKAY, SO TONIGHT IN THE VILLAGE OF MAURACH
WE'VE GOT A FOLK EVENING.
IT STARTS AT 21:00. EUROPE USES THE 24-HOUR CLOCK.
SO, ANYTHING OVER 12, SUBTRACT 12 AND ADD P.M.
2100 MINUS 12: 9:00 P.M.
ALL RIGHT, WE HAVE TIME FOR DINNER,
AND FRAU STEINER IS JOINING US.
THE CUISINE OF THE TIROL IS NOT TO BE MISSED.
GUEST HOUSES TAKE PRIDE IN SERVING LOCAL SPECIALTIES,
SUCH AS SPAETZLE, ROAST PORK AND SAUERKRAUT
YOU MUST LIKE DUMPLINGS.
YOU ORDERED THE DUMPLING EXTRAVAGANZA HERE.
I LOVE DUMPLINGS.
THEY ARE SPECIAL TIROLEAN...
IT'S A QUICK COURSE IN FINE EATING,
DUMPLINGS 101.
YOU DON'T WANT TO TELL US THE SECRET OF THE DUMPLING?
I THINK I HAVE TO KEEP THE SECRET OF TIROL
WITH THE DUMPLINGS.
OH, WELL.
WE'LL HAVE TO TAKE COMFORT IN THE APPLE STRUDEL.
OKAY, ON TO SOME MUSIC.
[ man whooping, accordion music playing ]
TIROLEAN FOLK EVENINGS, LIKE MOST FOLK EVENINGS,
MIGHT BE TOURISTY,
BUT A ROWDY DOSE OF SLAP-DANCING
OFFERS A LIVELY GLIMPSE OF TRADITION.
HOW DID THE CUSTOM START?
STRUTTING YOUR LEDERHOSEN AND SCHNAPPS
MUST BE IN THERE SOMEWHERE.
RATHER THAN A BIG-CITY STAGE SHOW,
WE'VE OPTED FOR A SMALL-TOWN HOTEL EVENING.
IT'S INTIMATE, LIVELY, AND RIGHT IN YOUR LAP.
[ whooping and music continues ]
[ music ends ]
SLAP DANCING IS A SNAPPY CAP
TO OUR FOLK EVENING IN THE TIROL.
WE'LL BE YODELING IN OUR DREAMS.
FOR A CAR-HIKERS' LOOK AT LIFE IN THE HIGH ALPS,
WE'RE TAKING THE TOLL ROAD
UP TO 5,000-FOOT-HIGH HINTERHORNALM.
Guten Tag.
Bitte. Weidersehen.
DETAILED MAPS SHOW THE TINIEST OF ROADS
LEADING TO THE GRANDEST OF ALPINE PERCHES.
THE MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING HALL AND INNSBRUCK
ARE A NATURE LOVER'S WONDERLAND,
OFFERING COUNTLESS MOUNTAIN LIFTS, HUTS,
AND A LIFETIME OF TRAILS.
WHETHER YOU'RE CAR HIKING, BIKING,
ROCK CLIMBING, OR PARASAILING,
THESE ALPS DEMAND ONLY AS MUCH EXERCISE
AS YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING.
FROM THE PARKING LOT AT THE END OF THE ROAD,
IT'S A LEVEL, 20-MINUTE STROLL TO THE WALDERALM FARM.
THIS IS ACTUALLY A CLUSTER OF THREE FAMILY-RUN DAIRY FARMS
SHARING THEIR MEADOW WITH THE CLOUDS.
[ cowbell clanging ]
SEVENTY COWS ENJOY RIDGE-TOP RAMBLES
SURROUNDED BY CUT-GLASS PEAKS.
TODAY, HAPPY HIKERS CAN SAMPLE WILD MUSHROOM SOUP FOR LUNCH,
AND MILK DOESN'T GET ANY FRESHER.
SO...FRESH!
THE BRENNER PASS HAS BEEN THE EASIEST WAY OVER THE ALPS
SINCE ROMAN TIMES.
NEARLY 2,000 YEARS AGO,
ROMAN LEGIONS FOLLOWED THIS ROUTE, THE VIA CLAUDIA,
ON THEIR WAY NORTH TO CONQUER MUCH OF EUROPE.
WELL-GROOVED SECTIONS OF THE ORIGINAL ROAD
ARE STILL PRESERVED.
TODAY, THE BRENNER PASS IS EASIER THAN EVER TO CROSS
AS DRIVERS ARC GRACEFULLY
ALONG ONE OF THE ENGINEERING WONDERS OF EUROPE.
FROM THE TOP, THE EUROPABRUCKE,
OR EUROPE'S BRIDGE, FEELS LIKE A FREEWAY,
BUT FROM THE WINDY OLD ROAD AT THE VALLEY FLOOR,
IT LOOKS LIKE A MIGHTY SCULPTURE.
THE FREEWAY ZIPS DRIVERS FROM INNSBRUCK
TO THE ITALIAN BORDER IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES.
HOW ABOUT PASTA FOR LUNCH?
THESE DAYS, CROSSING BORDERS IN EUROPE IS A WAVE-THROUGH.
[ man shouts indistinctly ]
[ laughs ] IT'S SO EASY!
THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB AT THE BORDER IS WORTH A STOP.
OKAY, WE'D LIKE TO GO TO SELLA PASS.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY?
AND YOU GO TO THE EXIT ON THE AUTOBAHN.
FROM HERE TO THE VAL GARDENA IN SANTA CHRISTINA
SELVA, AND THEN FROM HERE TO THE SELLA PASS.
SELLA PASS, IT'S HERE.
OKAY, GOOD. [ speaks Italian ]
WHILE THE AUTOBAHN IN AUSTRIA AND GERMANY IS TOLL-FREE,
THE ITALIAN AUTOSTRADA HAS PLENTY OF TOLLBOOTHS,
BUT THAT'S NOTHING NEW HERE.
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS,
TRAVELERS HAVE HAD TO PAY TO CROSS BRENNER PASS.
SINCE ROMAN TIMES,
THIS STRATEGIC VALLEY HAS BEEN LINED WITH FORTS,
ANCIENT TOLLBOOTHS.
IN THE MIDDLE AGES,
THIS WAS THE GERMAN TRADE ROUTE TO VENICE AND FLORENCE.
WHEN MEDIEVAL TRADERS REACHED THIS VALLEY,
CHANCES ARE THEY STOPPED, WILLINGLY OR NOT,
AT A CASTLE LIKE THIS.
REIFENSTEIN CASTLE HAS GROWN MORE WELCOMING WITH AGE.
WHILE IT USED TO TAKE A BATTERING RAM
TO GET THESE DOORS OPEN,
NOW ALL IT TAKES IS A FEW EUROS.
REIFENSTEIN OFFERS ONE OF EUROPE'S MOST INTIMATE LOOKS
AT MEDIEVAL CASTLE LIFE.
THE ACTUAL COUNTESS OF REIFENSTEIN
STILL LIVES IN HER PRIVATE
AND RUSTICALLY ELEGANT CASTLE QUARTERS.
HER AIDE, FRAU PLANK,
SHOWS VISITORS AROUND SEVERAL TIMES A DAY.
WE CALLED THIS MORNING TO CONFIRM OUR 10:00 TOUR.
FRAU PLANK GIVES THE TOUR IN BOTH GERMAN AND ITALIAN
AND SHE SQUEEZES IN WHAT ENGLISH SHE CAN.
SHE LET ME TRY AN INGENIOUS GADGET FOR A TIPSY LORD.
TOO MUCH TO DRINK?
A CLEVER FUNNEL...
GUIDES THE KEY RIGHT INTO THE HOLE.
FROM THE LOOKS OF THE SUMPTUOUS GREEN ROOM,
MEDIEVAL LIFE HERE WAS PRETTY COMFORTABLE.
SOME OF THE ORIGINAL PAINTED WALL DECORATIONS SURVIVE.
YOU CAN CATCH A VIEW ACROSS THE VALLEY
TO REIFENSTEIN'S SISTER CASTLE.
TWO CASTLES STRADDLING THE VALLEY
COULD CONTROL MUCH OF THE TRADE
PASSING BETWEEN GERMANY AND ITALY...
BUT TO EXERCISE HIS POWER AND COLLECT THOSE TOLLS,
THE CASTLE LORD NEEDED A SMALL PERSONAL ARMY.
THIS ROOM IS THE KNIGHTS' QUARTERS.
SIX TO EIGHT FIGHTING MEN SHARED EACH OF THESE BOXES,
COMPLETE WITH HAY FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT.
IMAGINE 40 SNORING KNIGHTS PACKED INTO ONE ROOM.
AND EVERY GOOD CASTLE NEEDS A DUNGEON,
USED MOSTLY TO ENFORCE TAXATION.
IF YOU COULDN'T PAY YOUR TAXES,
YOU'D SPEND EIGHT DAYS DOWN HERE --
NO FOOD BUT A LITTLE WATER.
ENOUGH TAXES, DUNGEONS, AND DUTIES.
WE'VE ESCAPED AND ARE ON OUR WAY TO RELAXING ITALIAN TOWN
SOUTH OF THE BRENNER PASS.
BOLZANO IS THE LEADING CITY IN THE ITALIAN TIROL.
EXCEPT FOR THE SUNSHINE,
IT FEELS MORE LIKE INNSBRUCK THAN ITALY.
THE ARCADED MAIN STREET
STRETCHES THROUGH THE MEDIEVAL HEART OF TOWN
TO PIAZZA ERBE,
WITH ITS ANCIENT AND STILL THRIVING
OPEN-AIR PRODUCE MARKET.
IN BOLZANO, EVERYTHING YOU'LL NEED
IS WITHIN A SHORT WALK OF THE TRAIN STATION.
[ speaks German ]
THIS ENJOYABLE OLD TOWN OF 100,000
IS THE MOST CONVENIENT GATEWAY TO THE DOLOMITES.
THE GREAT DOLOMITE ROAD LEADS
TO THE NEARLY 7,000-FOOT-HIGH SELLA PASS.
THE DOLOMITES ARE ITALY'S DRAMATIC LIMESTONE ROOFTOP.
THEY OFFER SOME OF THE BEST MOUNTAIN THRILLS IN EUROPE,
WHETHER YOU WANT TO STAY FIRMLY ON THE GROUND
OR SOAR HIGH ABOVE THE VALLEY FLOOR.
THE BOLD LIMESTONE PILLARS OFFER SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY.
THIS IS ROCK-CLIMBING COUNTRY.
THRILLING, EVEN FOR SPECTATORS.
THE VAL DI FASSA SKI COUNTRY
IS BUSY WITH HIKERS IN THE SUMMER.
THE MANY LIFTS DO THE CLIMBING FAST AND EASY,
DEPOSITING SWEAT-FREE HIKERS AT THIN-AIR TRAIL HEADS.
YOUR ENTERTAINMENT?
VIEWS OF THE MIGHTIEST OF THE DOLOMITES.
THESE GONDOLAS ARE FILLED WITH SKIERS
FROM DECEMBER THROUGH APRIL.
SPRINGTIME, THAT'S DEAD TIME IN THE DOLOMITES.
THE LIFTS ARE SHUT DOWN, HUTS ARE CLOSED,
AND THE MOST EXCITING TRAILS ARE COVERED WITH SNOW.
WE'RE HERE IN LATE SUMMER, AND EVERYTHING'S WIDE OPEN.
HIKING SEASON IS MID-JUNE THROUGH SEPTEMBER.
[ bell tolling ]
KASTELRUTH FEELS LIKE AN ALPINE VILLAGE
RATHER THAN A SKI RESORT.
I FEATURE IT IN MY ITALY GUIDEBOOK
AS THE IDEAL HOME BASE FOR EXPLORING THE DOLOMITES.
[ tolling continues ]
THE HYPERACTIVE BELL TOWER SEEMS TO SING THE WISDOM
OF HONORING LOCAL TRADITIONS, LIKE WOOD CARVING.
FOR CENTURIES, FARMERS AROUND HERE
HAVE PASSED WINTER MONTHS CARVING.
TODAY, THEIR DESCENDENTS,
MANY WITH INTERNATIONAL ACCLAIM,
CARRY ON THE TRADITION.
ERICH PERATHONER DECIDED BY THE AGE OF 6
HE WANTED TO BE A WOOD CARVER.
HE WAS INSPIRED BY THE LIFE-SIZE SCULPTURES
TOWERING OVER HIM AT SUNDAY MASS.
TRAINING UNDER HIS FATHER AND GRANDFATHER,
HE LEARNED THE TRADE WELL
AND DEVELOPED A PASSION FOR RELIGIOUS THEMES.
NOW MUCH OF HIS WORK IS DONE FOR THE CHURCH.
MANY EUROPEAN VILLAGES FIND THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE
FLEEING TO THE BIG CITIES TO JOIN THE MODERN PARADE,
BUT KASTELRUTH'S YOUNG GENERATION KNOWS
THEY'VE GOT A GOOD THING GOING RIGHT HERE,
AND THEY'RE STAYING.
WE HAPPENED ONTO KASTELRUTH'S bobbenfestOR "BOYS FESTIVAL."
ON THIS SPECIAL SUNDAY,
EVERYONE TURNS OUT TO CELEBRATE THE TOWN'S YOUNG BACHELORS,
DRESSED UP PEACOCK-PROUD IN THEIR TIROLEAN FINERY.
[ marching band plays ]
[ pipe organ playing ]
A TRADITIONAL RITE OF PASSAGE,
THE CELEBRATION INCLUDES AN ELABORATE SUNDAY MASS.
[ speaking German ]
LATER, THE VILLAGE GATHERS FOR A GRAND PICNIC.
I ASKED "WHERE ARE THE GIRLS?"
DON'T WORRY, I WAS TOLD.
THE PARENTS ARE TAKING CAREFUL NOTES.
A HARD-FOUGHT HISTORY
HAS LEFT THE REGION BICULTURAL AND BILINGUAL.
HERE IN SOUTH TIROL,
LOCALS SPEAK GERMAN BEFORE ITALIAN.
OVER THE CENTURIES,
THE REGION HAS FLIP-FLOPPED ITS CULTURAL ORIENTATION.
AFTER THE ROMAN EMPIRE FELL,
THE REGION'S ALLEGIANCE TURNED TO THE NORTH.
LATER, IT WAS FIRMLY IN AUSTRIA'S HAPSBURG REALM,
BUT BY LOSING WORLD WAR I, AUSTRIA LOST THIS LAND.
AUSTRIA'S SOUTH TIROL BECAME ITALY'S ALTO ADIGE.
MUSSOLINI DID WHAT HE COULD TO ITALIANIZE THE REGION,
INCLUDING GIVING EACH TOWN AN ITALIAN NAME.
KASTELRUTH BECAME CASTELROTTO.
TO WIN THE REGION'S FAVOR,
THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT
HAS WOOED LOCALS WITH ECONOMIC BREAKS.
THESE HAVE MADE IT
ONE OF ITALY'S MOST PROSPEROUS AND EXPENSIVE AREAS.
TODAY, WHETHER YOU PREFER TO CALL THE REGION "ALTO ADIGE"
OR "SUDTIROL,"
ALL SIGNS AND LITERATURE ARE IN BOTH ITALIAN AND GERMAN.
FROM KASTELRUTH WE'RE HEADING UP TO THE ALPE DI SIUSI.
VISITORS RIDE A FREE PARK SHUTTLE BUS
TO EUROPE'S LARGEST HIGH ALPINE MEADOW ,
A NATURAL PRESERVE AT THE FOOT OF THE SASSO PEAKS.
[ man shouts in Italian ]
THE BUS TAKES YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD OF YOUR CHOICE.
THE MEADOW IS THREE MILES BY SEVEN MILES WIDE
AND SEEMS TO FLOAT AT 6,000 FEET.
IT'S DOTTED BY FARM HUTS AND WILD FLOWERS,
SURROUNDED BY DRAMATIC DOLOMITE PEAKS
AND CRISSCROSSED BY MEADOW TRAILS,
IDEAL FOR FLOWER LOVERS, WALKERS,
AND EQUESTRIANS.
THE SASSO LUNGO MOUNTAINS,
STANDING AT THE HEAD OF THE MEADOW
PROVIDE MORE DEMANDING HIKES
AND A STORYBOOK DOLOMITE BACKDROP.
MEANWHILE, THE SPOOKY SCHLERN, HOME OF MYTHICAL WITCHES,
LOOKS BOLDLY INTO THE HAZE OF THE ITALIAN PENINSULA.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, THE SCHLERN,
STANDING LIKE A DEVILISH WINGED VICTORY,
GAVE SUPERSTITIOUS PEOPLE THE WILLIES.
BUT TODAY, THE SCHLERN WITCH IS WELCOME IN THE VILLAGES,
SURVIVING ONLY AS FOLK ART.
SHE'S BECOME A KITCHEN WITCH,
AN AMUSING SOUVENIR RIDING HER BROOMSTICK
INTO THE HEARTS OF TRAVELERS.
AND CHAIRLIFTS, NOT BROOMSTICKS,
PROVIDE SPRINGBOARDS FOR MORE ALPINE THRILLS.
THANKS FOR TRAVELING WITH US.
JOIN US NEXT TIME FOR MORE TRAVELS IN EUROPE.
I'M RICK STEVES WISHING YOU HAPPY TRAVELS.
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Alps of Austria and Italy

4073 Folder Collection
Jane published on April 17, 2015
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