Transalp stage 4: Meran (South Tyrol)
St.Leonhard - Meran - Ultental (50 km, 940 altitude metres)
A little calmed day with "only" 940 altitude metres and 50 km! Due to the stage of yesterday that was actually quite exhausting, we planned are rather tranquil day. We remain below 1000 altitude metres and plan to cycle unhurriedly to Meran and from there to continue to St.Walburg in the southern Ultental. We enjoy the tour in the sun, partly cyclng on very small and narrow roads located above the valley and later on the Passeier cycling path through some endless orchards alongside the Etsch. The idea of yesterday being on the way with cold temperatures, rain and snowfall, is unimaginable.
In Meran, we loaf a little through the oldtown and buy some fresh bruit and cereal bars for the next days. We also enjoy the South-Tyrolian flair in one of the many coffee bars. Many tourists are on the way but we still atract some attention due to our packed bicycles under the leave harvest.
After the capital Bozen, Meran is the second biggest city of South Tyrol. It is located amidst a basin, surrounded by some mountains (1500 – 3335 m), at the entry of the Passeier valley, the Vinschgaus and the Ultentals at is renowed as a health resort already since the 19th century.
Meran looks back to a long tradition as a health resort and tourist place and is consiered as one of the first tourist centres of the Habsburgs and has many named guests of politics and culture on a world wide level. Scientists and doctors specially appreciate the mild and Mediterranean climate and the pure and healing air of the health resort that specially benefits the healing of lung deseases. After the year 1945 it was possible to make Meran again to one of the most important tourist places of South Tyrol. Specially the oldtown with the renowed Laubengasse, the Power Tower as also the thermal baths of Meran are worthwhile seeing.
We make our way through the many tourists and find, after some unsuccessful trials, the small road aside the main roads that leads to St. Walburg. St. Walburg is the main place of the community Ulten in the Ultental in South Tyrol. The place named after the patron saint of the parish church, the holy Walburga, is located at a height of 1190 m above sea level and has approximately 2.200 inhabitants.
The place had been originated around the church that still today rises on a hill at the entry of the village. Beside the tourism and the mountainscape, there are some handicraft businesses, thereunder the bakery Ultner Brot that is renowed in the whole of South Tyrol and that exists since the year 1908.
Today, we have enjoyed the day a lot, specially the beautiful area all arund Meran and we took a lot of time to arrive at St.Walburg. The next day is theathening with 1600 altitude metres above the Rabbijoch and therewith we decide to visit the wellness area of the hotel in order to do something for our tired legs.
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Author: Kirsten Huber; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz