If you are the one in your friend group who obsesses over finding the obscure, the unusual and the undiscovered – come here close, closer, as we let you in on our hot travel tip for 2018; South Tyrol. Now, take that secret to your grave.
Just kidding, there’s more than enough of this bewitching region, where Austrian meets Italy, to go around. That said, with 300 days of sun a year, 17,000km of walking trails, 400 manor house and an eco friendly approach to being (South Tyrol produces twice the amount of electricity it needs, mostly through hydroelectrics), they may find an invasion on their hands soon enough.
You may have read about our adventures in the South Tyrol region back in Volume 5 where we explored the land with a collective of thinkers, artists and creatives but, for our most recent experience of the land, we didn’t even go there. It transcended miles and miles to reach our ears, eyes, mouths and noses over a lively evening fuelled by local sparkling wine.
Our hosts for the evening were Michelin starred chef, Egon Heiss and ‘Chevalier of Cheese’ Gregor Wenter from ‘South Tyrol’s hidden jewel’ restaurant Bad Schoergau. Cured meats brought mediterranean Italian flavours which were then bolstered by earthy beetroot appetisers and tart horseradish that danced us over the Austrian border. The meal was beautifully exciting, with particular highlights in a luminescent green ‘Pine Risotto’ and a delicate dessert to celebrate one of the region’s prized product; apples.
Between courses we were whisked away to a real South Tyrollean forest – not physically of course but through a guided meditation from Martin Kiem, a psychologist from the area, aided with a brand of a pine tree we took in a ‘Forest Bathing’ session. While this is traditionally a Japanese wellness activity named Shinrin Yoku, Martin is looking to bring the practice over to Europe and believes South Tyrol to be a perfect place with its 93% coverage of forest. In Japan, Shirin Yoku, is an activity that is even prescribed by doctors to alleviate stress and, after listening to the forest, inhaling the pine goodness of our branch and taking the time to unwind after a busy day in London, we can completely relate.
We closed our evening adventure to South Tyrol sampling the trees of the region, one last time, through the beauty brand Trehs which harnesses the original mountain pine of the Sarn valley. The use of this pine tree goes back centuries and its a staple in every medicine cabinet in the area, which is now available as cleansing and exhilarating body products. If our meditation was forest bathing, showering with these products is a kin to forest streaking?!
(Photo: mid-afternoon is time for the Marende in South Tyrol, with cured meats and local wines. Set your phone alarm clock right now)
So, South Tyrol is definitely on our list for an adventure next year as a lesser known region that celebrates wellness in all its forms; mentally, physically and gastronomically. Not sure that’s a word but, a bit like Forest Bathing, its evocative enough that you just have to give it a try.
To find out more about South Tyrol and Forest Bathing head to suedtirol.info . The Trehs brand can be found at trehs.com and last, but certainly not least, book in for amazing cultural cuisine at bad-schoergau.com
Now, if we find you booking some 2 week package holiday on Teletext after we’ve spilled all our travel secrets – well, more of South Tyrol for us.