As an American from the northeast, I know all about traffic, but it was a surprise to encounter so much of it on the stretch from Hohenschwangau, Germany to Castelrotto, Italy. Then again, it was a beautiful Saturday morning and the world seemed to be going on holiday. Chalk it up to poor planning on my part. If there was a silver lining, the drive was stunningly beautiful and all that sitting at a standstill allowed me to look around.
When we finally got to Castelrotto, we weren’t inclined to jump right back into the car and leave this lovely little town. A brief walk after dinner revealed the character of the place, which prompted an early morning walk before the bell tower started its daily ritual of marking time beginning at 6 AM. The magic in any place is revealed on the edges of the day, for me that time before the world wakes up is most special. And so it was that I fell in love with this little town that seemed impossible to get to the day before.
There are three languages spoken here, and the locals seem to know a few more than that. Italian, German and Ladin are the core languages, which reveals both geography and a history of land grabbing. World War I settled the border, but the locals seem to roll with it and pivot quickly to whatever language you’re speaking. After my brief stumbling with German, that generously included English. No matter, the beauty of the place transcends my words anyway.