April 3 ~ Touring South Tyrol
Written by: The Bridge on Wednesday, April 5th, 2006
On Monday, we headed out to South Tyrol with Lynda Lederer as our guide. This part of the country used to belong to Austria. After World War 2 or is that World War 1, I’m not sure now, it became part of Northern Italy. The signs change from German to both Italian and German. Our mission was to visit the birthplace of Jacob Hutter, which is located close to Bruneck. Right next to his house is also a very impressive castle called Michelsburg Castle; this castle also held Hutterites that were imprisoned. The first thing you see from the far distance is the castle. We didn’t know where Hutter’s house was, so we asked a passing car. The driver showed us how to get there, and as a matter of fact, he actually lived there. Such strange luck we’ve had almost every time we stopped and asked people directions or historical importance of a place. It’s quite something to be able to see the hills and valleys where Jacob Hutter grew up, and where early Hutterites lived and worked, especially since a lot of the buildings are still here and well preserved.
After that we went eastward on our journey. We came back into Austria and as we were traveling along the Pustertal Valley, Eddy V. came up with the idea of visiting Volker Waltrodt. He is one of the two cameramen that were in our communities a few years back. They were making a short documentary about the Hutterites at the time. So we went looking for his house, after asking for directions and getting lost a few times we came to this gravel road going up the side of a mountain. There was still snow on the ground, it was raining and things looked quite slippery. We weren’t too sure if we wanted to go on or not! As we were debating whether we should take the chance of driving up or not, guess who showed up right behind us?! Volder Waltrodt himself! So we all piled into his ranger and up we went. I told him that that is about the strangest house that I’ve ever seen. He has so much stuff inside, with about 8 dogs running in and out and a whole farm yard of strange animals. Like a lot of old houses, you can walk through the house and right into the barn, so the house smells like…well…lets say, well used. The house has one of the more spectacular views in the area, especially since it’s halfway up the mountain.
After that, we drove on to visit the Kleinsasser house near the city of Spittal. This in the Kärnten region of Austria. This is where the Kleinsasser name comes from. Trudy Basel was friendly and she just couldn’t stop talking, we happened to stay for quite a time there. Kleinsasserhof is now used as a gasthouse, and it has some pretty strange and fancy decorations inside and outside.
There is still a lot to tell but it’s two in the morning already, so I’ll quit for now. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to update before leaving for Africa, but I don’t think so. Until then, report to you all later.