lunedì 5 maggio 2014

Friuli: Arta Terme, Carnival Sauris and small immersion in an Austria snowy

Romantic and evocative weekend, combining the relax of the spa, the charm of The Carnival of Sauris (with tasting of the excellent ham) and a dive into the snow-covered mountain of Austria, over the border.

Arta Terme

First stop: Arta Terme. This lovely town offers the opportunity to admire the beautiful landscape of Carnia, a silent and barren mountain scenery ...
Left the luggage at the hotel, we immediately move to the local spa .

 Between comfortable whirlpools and  revitalizing water jets,  the structure allows you to find that psychological well-being essential to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
In the late afternoon we take the road to Sauris. It takes an hour to find ourselves in this charming mountain country.

We are in the midst of The Sauris Carnival (for 2014, from 01/03/2014 to 03/04/2014). This event is definitely worthing a visit. The amazing thing for us was to happen by chance to the event and meet, walking towards the center of the country, shady characters, with picturesque wooden masks and rhythmic step to the sound of noisemakers.
Sauris Carnival masks
The fascinating walk of the masks through the ancient pine forests, is lightened  by the glare of snow in the light of lanterns (the same tourists can rent a lantern to totally immerse themselves in the atmosphere.)

Following the masks we come to a heated tent in the center of Sauris di Sotto where, to the sound of dancing, music and fun, we taste the local specialties: delicious barley soup and then beans, sauerkraut, sausage and obviously the excellent and      inevitable Sauris ham.

 For those who wish to stay in this area, there is a curious and tempting formula ... The "Albergo diffuso" offers antique and distinctive accommodations in the heart of the country to live a true mountain experience as residents, an original alternative to mass tourism.. .
The day after we wake up with a beautiful sunny day! How to resist the temptation to make a leap in Austria?! So we venture, from Arta Terme towards the north, following the state highway. After Timau, the last town before the border, we pass the picturesque and snowy Plöcken Pass (1,360 m.) to go down, in the middle valley of the Gail, to the country of Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria. Pretty little town nestled in the Alps of Carinthia, the small town proves to be the perfect place for a taste of local specialties.

Kötschach Mauthen landscape
We proceed, crossing through a sunny and dazzling valley,  on the road parallel to the border, towards Villach. Finally we take the way back, the Pontebbana. But before the border, in the first Austrian stretch of highway (not well indicated for all those accustomed to go through a mandatory toll), the Austrian police stopped us and we get fined with the kind advice to pay immediately, if we do not want to visit the local police station ... (but maybe not! ...).
So, with a little 'of bitterness,, our weekend comes to an end. A weekend that surprised us in many ways and did rejoice ... so, for those who decide to follow us in our trips ... pay serious attention to the way back...

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