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Merano - Beautiful pearl in South-Tirol! World Travel Blog Day 7-9!


It is about 07:00 in the morning when I wake up on this Wednesday. Some kind of school gong sounds outside and the city, as well as the street, become busier and hard to miss, since the window was open during the night. I start to wake up and feel that I am well rested. A glance at the sleep record on my watch confirms the feeling. Almost 9 hours of sleep and two of them deep sleep. I feel fit as a fiddle and I don't feel any of the nausea and weakness of the previous day. Jonas, my roommate also wakes up with me and we go to breakfast together. The buffet is quite decent for a cheap hostel, partly better than in some expensive hotels in which I have stayed many times. Due to my many years in trade fair construction and then in sales and as a traveler in general, I have quite good comparative values, ranging from phenomenal to absolutely grotty and underground. I ask Jonas a little about his further travel plans and his recently completed engineering studies. We talk animatedly about alternative energy solutions, high-voltage grids, battery buffer systems, the promising hydrogen technology and working abroad.

After breakfast, I go to the laundry room and start to wash my sweaty and slightly to strongly smelly laundry and then hang it up. I meet in the washroom Dana and Neil, two lawyers from Denver, Colorado and talk quite long and enthusiastically with them about the E5 and the wonderful nature in Switzerland, Europe and the USA. I get a few Colorado tips and we exchange contact information. Afterwards, I head into the center and pedestrian zone of Merano to find a nice little cafe where I can stay for a while to write and work on the laptop. I walk along the river called Passenio/Passer and take in the first impressions of the city in daylight. A beautiful path runs along the north side of the river.

Huge, strong and thus probably already very old trees (after a short research I learned that they are so-called poplars and/or silver poplars) line the path along the river at regular intervals.

Again and again works of art and sculptures appear between the trees, until I pass an old, small, Protestant Martin Luther Church. I stop for a moment at the church and try to remember when and how Luther crossed the Alps back then.

After a short walk along the river, I reach a bridge that crosses the river.

On the south side of the river, I can already see the huge spa and am looking forward to visiting it in the afternoon or evening.

However, I turn north, or left into the city center to visit the Cafe Pöhl, which was recommended to me by the receptionist at the hostel. On the way there I see many classic as well as historic buildings and am impressed how clean and well-kept the city is.

The downtown area is paved with cobblestones, adding to its charm. I marvel at the many, beautiful cafes with large outdoor areas and watch people soaking up the sun, the warmth, the city atmosphere as they enjoy their coffee, cake, ice cream or cool drink in serene togetherness. I philosophize in my mind that our lifestyle on the old continent does have a certain charm and raison d'être. We Europeans must have learned from our turbulent history and the challenges of the past that there is more to life than just working and fighting conflicts. There also seems to be good reasons to simply enjoy life and take pleasure in the world and the fact that we are allowed to be here. Merano's city center is a very suitable place for this, because the city definitely invites you to stroll and feel good. I snap a photo of the many romantic white benches that invite you to linger everywhere in the city, but especially along the river. I'm usually not the cities and sightseeing type at all and feel more of an affinity for nature than culture. However, I must confess that after a short time the city already impresses me a little. Maybe it's this beautiful city itself or maybe my attitude and approach have changed now that I've embarked on this great journey. I don't know for sure. I do know, however, that I feel a certain satisfaction and am grateful for the fact of being here right now and being allowed to enjoy and experience this moment. Arriving at Cafe Pöhl, I am absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed by the display of cakes and pastries. I express my admiration and appreciation to the people behind the counter for the loving work they do there and treat myself to a delicious vegan piece of cake and a cappuccino with soy milk.

I discover many, lovingly furnished regional delicatessens and am positively surprised by the attention to detail of the South Tyroleans.

I move again a little further along the river and move a little away from the city center to visit the cafe at the Wandelhalle. This is located directly on the river a little east of the city center and is, as the name already suggests, in the arcades of the Wandelhalle, the old cultural area of the city.

A lovely lush green of the surrounding trees gives the spacious outdoor area of the cafe a naturally relaxing flair. This ambience is accentuated by the rippling and constant sound of water from the river that runs right next to it.

A glance upward is rewarded by a yellow-gold sun shimmering powerfully but gently down through the green canopy.

On the horizon, the mighty mountains reach far up into the sky and I immediately feel, "this is where I spend my day and get inspired to write."

I order a large cappuccino, this time with almond milk, and let the pen in my hands glide effortlessly across the paper. I don't even have to think much, because the words just flow out of me. After a while, I decide to call my former work colleagues via Whatsapp Face Call and let them share this wonderful atmosphere here in Merano.

After this unique and successful writing session, it's already after 4 p.m., I decide that I've put enough on paper for today and head off to the thermal baths, or more precisely, the sauna in Merano.


A huge modern building right on the river with its spacious and open entrance area warmly invites people to relax and unwind. I walk purposefully into the sauna area and free my body from all clothes and hang a white sauna towel around my waist.

The sauna area is wonderfully cozy, modern, appealing and inviting. Soft warm passive light creates a feel-good atmosphere, enhanced by candles in creative containers and floor lamps. Dark stone slabs decorate the walls and floor, warm bubbling relaxation pools and a cool plunge pool simply blend perfectly into the interior of the sauna area.

On the opposite side, six different sauna experiences, such as steam bath, Finnish sauna, South Tyrolean organic hay sauna, snow room sauna, Trautmannsdorf steam bath and other experiences are waiting to be visited. The outdoor area is also beautifully landscaped. A large, cool plunge pool is located in the center of the outdoor area within short reach of the large sauna room, where all infusions take place.

Next to the plunge pool is a warm bubble pool on a raised pedestal. To the right of the central pool, a wide stepped staircase leads to another cool bubbling pool, which can be accessed transparently at the highest point of the steps.

A wonderful and extremely versatile arrangement of relaxation rooms, coyens, water beds, loungers, beanbags and much more can be found in every nook and cranny of the indoor and outdoor areas, providing perfect opportunities to rest after a sauna session.

A bar for refreshments and refreshments is also not missed in this lovingly put together sauna landscape. I meet Christian, his mother Rosario, Nicklas, Hannah and the Sauerlanders, whom I have met again and again on the E5 and we talk in a good mood and full of satisfied satisfaction after our accomplished feat over the Alps.

At 6pm it's finally time, the reason I'm here in the first place, as the first infusion for me begins.

It is a very large sauna room with a powerful sauna stove in the center, facing the large panoramic window. Wooden steps for sitting and sweating are arranged in a U-shape around it. Many guests stream into the dark room. The big sauna is getting full and at this moment it holds about 60-80 people. Outside it is already dusk and it is getting very dark as a thunderstorm is coming over the city. The sauna master dims the lights down almost completely and all you can see are shadows and silhouettes.

It is completely silent and no one says anything. He starts the infusion with the first pours from the wooden ladle and the music slowly starts, while an enchanting cedar scent spreads in the room with great heat. The song 7 seconds by Youssou N`Dour simultaneously enters our ears and takes us on a journey of sound and scent. He begins to wave the sauna towel over the hot stones of the oven and distributes the hot air in the dark room with dance and rhythmic movements that almost seem like an art form. His dark figure moves passionately to the music, around the stone stove. Outside in the sky, flashes of lightning twitch in the darkness, throwing short little pulses of light into the magical room, where we are all just enjoying complete silence and pleasant heat. Outside, the increasingly heavy rain pelts down, this sound and an occasional thunder accompany this experience and draw me into a very mysterious spell. I am touched by the spectacle, slowly close my eyes and breathe in the soothing warm scents. I love sauna sessions, this experience confirms it again. Following the infusion, we leave the sauna room and slowly cool down, as it should be from "outside to inside", take a short walk outside in the fresh air and then dive into the cold water of the central pool.

Sliced fruit is served in the outdoor area for the sauna-goers and then, exhausted, we all lie down somewhere on a lounger in the sauna area and rest. The heart is pounding, the pulse beat is intense and the breathing is deep. So I lie there, close my eyes and rest. I repeat this procedure two more times until 10 p.m. in the evening, chatting in between with the familiar E5`lers. All the infusions were great and I am glad that I invested the time and money in this evening. After the spa, we stand outside for a while and I exchange contact information with Christian and Rosario, for possible joint adventures after or during my trip in Germany or South America. We say goodbye to each other and look forward to a possible reunion. Whenever and wherever that may be. I look at my cell phone and see that Nicklas has written to me offering to join him and Hannah for dinner at La Bruschetta. I don't miss the opportunity for a great end to the evening and meet the two of them there.

We spend the rest of the evening together in the outdoor area of the restaurant and enjoy the now dry and still warm evening with good food, a pizza speciale and great, as well as stimulating conversations about the waywardness of mankind. Funnily enough, at the table next to us sit the sauna masters, who an hour earlier for us still waved the hot scent half-naked in the towel. The evening and thus the entire day is nearing its end and we go together back to the hostel and everyone lies down contentedly and well rested in his bed.

The next day I wake up well rested, top fit and lively. Jonas and I have breakfast together. Afterwards, I go to Cafe Rossini to continue writing and to record my experiences. In addition, I have to do some organizational work again, which does not tolerate any delay. The writing succeeds particularly well and I am still surprised how I find the suitable words without much consideration.

I drink as always after a mountain tour freshly squeezed orange juice. I do this now like a regular mountaineering ritual always after a successful tour, since I climbed back in the winter of 2013 the Toubkal and all other 4000er in the high Atlas in Morocco and then down in Marrakech have drunk the felt best, freshly squeezed orange juice of my life. This time, however, I'm not too productive because I'm mainly busy with data management and maintenance. I know sounds totally boring and sucks, but unfortunately it's necessary if you shoot a lot of pictures and want to capture and share impressions. Afterwards I go to Cafe Pöhl, because it was just so incredible and eat two pieces of vegan cake, which just blows me away.

I organize a cell phone tool to get to my SIM and memory cards, which need to be tidied up and organized for the future trip, because that is also part of data management. Two streets away I find a kebab snack bar and eat a falafel plate there. I now have to plan my onward journey and decide where to go from here. Whether I travel to Malta or Naples or whether I already head east towards Istanbul. To do that, I need to explore my options. It's all always a question of time and money, because I can't travel to any place I want for untold amounts of money completely at random without paying attention to my budget. I have to plan my trip smartly and wisely to be cost effective, but at the same time have fun and enjoy the trip to visit places my heart desires. So I go to the train station and research connections to Naples, because I hope to get to Malta cheaply from there. Why do I want to go to Malta? Actually only to stand there on the highest mountain or "elevation", because this is still missing me in the Europe's summit list. In case you don't know what exactly I'm talking about. I initiated a project called Hiking for Europe in 2019 and at that time I climbed almost all the highest European mountains of each European country with a local. I'll tell you more about that another time. (Oh, I realize... There's a lot to tell and report on besides this world trip).

I check the options at the train counter and had always remembered Italy as a cheap rail or train country. But somehow these options are all too expensive for me. I'm even cheaper by plane.

Back at the hotel, I notice that my laptop, which I had carried under my arm the whole time, is gone. Oh no... now that would not be good at all!

Sheer desperation breaks out in me and I hastily run to all the stations and places of the day to find my laptop. Nothing. It is nowhere to be found. None of the shopkeepers have seen it, or the stores I went to, like Cafe Pöhl or the gaming store where I organized the cell phone tool, are already closed. I prepare myself for the worst. My data, my pictures, almost my entire digital existence would be lost. I could cry and still keep my composure. Friends and family try to comfort me about my loss and speak encouragement to me. Completely dejected and resigned, I go to bed early and fall fitfully asleep. In this state it is no longer possible to think about further planning of my trip today. Only one thing helps. Lie down, close my eyes and sleep. That is sometimes the best strategy I have.

On the morning of September 09, 2022, I wake up. I am now the third day in Merano. I like it here very much, but I would also like to move on. But now I must first find a solution to my dilemma with my laptop. I wake up late and dejected and go to breakfast demotivated. I clear my room, because I want to move on today. So I pack up my gear, put on my rain jacket and slip the rain cover over my backpack, because it's raining outside. I check out at the front desk and head to the station to talk to the railroad police to see if I could get access to the camera footage and if maybe my laptop has been found in the meantime. It seemed like the joke of the century when the officer informed me that the camera was not working. However, he contacted any colleagues, cleaning staff or other station employees and was actually willing to help me. But even a few phone calls and relations with all station employees unfortunately do not bring my laptop to light. Also with the Carabinieri I do not find anything, just as little as the city police. So the last thing to do is to report it to the lost and found office and hope that someone will hand in the laptop there if they have found it. I accept the fact as it is and as a consequence I go to a Mediamarkt. There I buy a new laptop, a 1TB SSD hard drive and accessories.

After all, I have no other choice. I need these things if I want to report on them during my trip on the road and write a book about it. So I bite the bullet and accept the fact as it is and take appropriate measures so that it can continue. Complaining and regretting won't get me anywhere at this point, and I've done just about everything in my power. I am currently near the gaming store where I had organized the cell phone tool. I ask there again if I might have left my laptop there. The employee remembers me and said he couldn't even remember that I had a laptop under my arm, he probably would have noticed if I had. This statement seems contradictory to the statement the man in the kebab store made, because he said I still had the laptop under my arm. So I went again somewhat stubbornly to the Cafe Pöhl, where I had eaten the two pieces of vegan cake and which was already closed last night, when I panicked looking for my laptop. I step in the door and immediately the young lady behind the counter came to meet me and handed me my lost laptop with everything. I can hardly believe my luck and am close to tears. I had already no longer believed that I would find the laptop again and resigned myself to the fact that possibly a large part of my pictures will remain only as a memory in my mind. I thank you very much, am totally touched and let the ladies a small financial recognition as finder's reward and gratitude for their honesty. Completely relieved and happy, I can now think clearly again and decide that Naples and Malta are too inconvenient and too expensive. So, since tomorrow is my birthday on September 10, I decide that I want to spend my birthday in Rome. So I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, book myself a ride on Flixbus from Bolzano to Rome.


I get on the train from Merano to Bolzano to get to the bus terminal and get on the night bus to Rome.

I stow my bulky backpack at the bottom of the bus, find a seat, get comfortable, listen to an audiobook on Audible, and fall asleep as the Italian countryside and cities pass me by in the darkness.


Rome! I'm coming!!!

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