Before I start making my longer posts again, I wanted to post the tail end of my pictures from my Venice trip. I always meant to, but I forgot. It’s just a bunch of pictures I took out the train window, but hopefully they will serve to show (1) how fun it is to travel by train in daylight, (2) the landscape outside of cities with the castles and things, and (3) how the Alps differ from American mountains.
It was so cool to travel straight from the coast of (northern) Italy, through the lowlands, then up through the Italian and Austrian Alps (the region of Tyrol), and down again to Munich — though it was pretty much dark out by the time we got to Innsbruck (in Austria).
Here I am again, leaving Venice on Ash Wednesday.
Here is an inspiring shot of the mountainy cliffs in the part that still looked like Italy.
After a while they start to look more and more like mountain foothills, and you can see a snowcap behind.
There’s still lots more bare rock at a low altitude than I am used to in the Cascades. Sometimes it reminded me of Utah.
The bell towers, and the general look of these (modern) houses still looks more Italian than German… and oh yeah, there’s a castle on the hill, no big deal.
The same castle, a little closer.
Yup, that is Trent, of the Council of Trent. It also means we’re really in South Tyrol. You can read some history of the region here or here. It’s interesting in that it’s a region with a more or less related culture that spans two modern nations, and has historically been rather independent from the surrounding countries. In parts of South Tyrol (the Italian part) they once spoke an indigenous (Romance) language called Ladin. And in this area, all the cities are marked on Google Maps with their name both in German and in Italian…
These are all new houses, too, though from this distance I would guess that the church is older.
Sorry for the yucky picture — here we get into houses that start to look more Alpine/Austrian/Bavarian, although most of what you can see here is new. I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the old-fashioned mountain huts perched on the steep mountainsides. On the one hand, it’s sort of like the way we build houses on the hills around the lakes back home — but this was literally in the mountains. Like the mountain-steepness felt like being halfway up Mt Baker Highway, even after you pass Glacier, but there was all this evidence of human habitation that had been there for a long, long time. It was like out of “Heidi.”
Blurry but dramatic. Notice how nobody misses an opportunity to build a church on the highest place around, so it can always be seen. The city planning of a Christian civilization.
This is a different church — those red roofs with that shape are typical to Germany (or in this case Austria) — but we are still in Italy.
We crossed the Alps through Brenner Pass. The Romans built a road crossing this pass in the 2nd century.
More blurry pictures, but…