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A day in South Tyrol

Going to italy is probably the most typical german holiday. I’ve spent a lot of time on crowded beaches with my family when I was a kid and I remember exploring old, and charming cities. This time, my trip didn’t take me to the beach or big cities but into north Italy, an area that is mostly covered by mountain ranges. One of the most impressive places there is the UNESCO world heritage called Dolomites.

Together with Florian Wenzel, who perfectly planned our route, I took a two day photography trip to explore those rough landscapes. Our AirBnB room only cost us about 50€ and was in the heart of the Dolomites, a place called “Pozza di Fassa”. The place we wanted to take photos at in the morning was only about 60 kilometers away but what we didn’t consider was the fact that it easily takes 1.5 hours to drive this distance through the mountains. Getting up at 5am, I navigated us through quite scary serpentines and my car’s motor was howling through the night as we got higher and higher to our sunrise destination. The best place to set base in this area seems to be “St. Christina” as it’s directly in the middle of quite a few beautiful landmarks.

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Seiser Alm / Alp Di Siusi

The “Alp Di Siusi”, as the Italians call it is a plateau surrounded by a 360° mountain view. Getting there can be quite easy but we took the hard route. Like many times before, Google maps didn’t realise that i’m only driving a Skóda Fabia and not a fancy SUV. I ended up on a road that I wasn’t supposed to drive on and that led directly uphill into a forest. We tried to figure out the situation for a few minutes and then decided that this seems to be the only possible way to get there. So there we were, driving on a one way street through pitch black, sometimes on the edge of a river, sometimes I don’t even want to know what there was or wasn’t next to the road. Even though we didn’t know exactly which point on the Alp Di Siusi we wanna go, the road brought us to the perfect spot with a beautiful view towards the sunrise and a big field full of small wooden houses in front of us. Another thing that we didn’t consider was that the sunrise might be scheduled at 7:30 but it takes nearly another hour until it rises over the top of the mountain. After finding the perfect spot for taking our shots, we stood another hour in the cold, walking in circles to keep us warm just to capture that one moment.

On the way down we found out that there is actually an easier, bigger and “official” road to the Alp Di Siusi. So please, if you plan to go there: don’t take the scary route through the woods. Google Maps might tell you so because it’s shorter but if you drive through a mountain village called “Kastelruth”, it’s a bit longer but you’ll have a way lower heart rate when you arrive. Plus the village is the origin of a super awful german/austrian folk-music group called “Kastelruther Spatzen” so you also drive through a bit of embarrassing music history.

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Gardena Pass / Sella Pass

If you have a bit more time and fitness, you might wanna target two beautiful mountain passes called “Gardena Pass” and “Sella Pass”, just make sure you bring proper hiking shoes cause if you go there anywhere close to winter, some tracks will be quite slippery. And believe me, you wanna takes those tracks because they are the ones that bring you to really nice views. The upside of going there in winter is that there is basically no bad light for photography. On one of the mountain passes I photographed in midday sun and the light shaped the mountains in a beautiful, three dimensional way. It’s also quite safe to get there by car. Apart from the usual winding roads, you’ll have no problems and it’s a perfect area if you wanna go for a hike.

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