Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bolzano and Ötzi the Iceman

We travelled up from Trent towards Bolzano, the Italian town that has become the home to Ötzi the iceman.  

It looked like the museum housing Ötzi was located near the town centre, so we set the SatNav accordingly and were trustingly following her.  Sadie directed us straight into the pedestrian-only portion of town, where we drove straight towards an Italian policewoman who just looked at us, shook her head from side to side and wagged her finger at us in the same manner.  Sadie, it seemed, was either trying to get us injured (see previous blog post) or arrested.

For those who are not familiar with who he is, Ötzi  was discovered in 1991 in the Ötzal Alps on the border of Austria and Italy by hikers.  They at first thought they had found a recent body of someone who had been lost while hiking in the mountains, but it turned out that the body dated from about 5,300 years ago and the ice and snow had resulted in a remarkable degree of preservation and mumification.  More information about Ötzi can be found here.

There was an entire museum devoted to Ötzi, but unfortunately no photos were allowed.  There are, however, some on the web site above.  It was a fascinating museum.  I think the thing that I found most interesting was his fur cape - it had been made with stripes of different coloured pelts.  The only reason for that was purely decorative.  It amazes me that more than 5000 years ago, when I imagine (perhaps incorrectly) that life was a continuous hand-to-mouth struggle, they still bothered to add purely decorative aspects to the clothing, which would have increased the effort to make such clothes.

Up in Bolzano, though you are still in Italy, people are starting to talk in German (which is much easier for me than Italian). In fact the buildings also look more Germanic than Italian.  There is a reason for that. Until the end of WWI this area was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but was annexed by Italy at the end of the war. It was in fact, the scene of much fighting during the war.

The fact that we were now closer to the Germanic world was illustrated when we wandered around Bolzano's markets around lunch time.  Amongst the tempting stalls we found one selling Wurst (German Sausages). That was lunch sorted - we had after all overdosed on Italian food by this time. Below are some pictures from the markets at Bolzano.

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