It’s hard to stop raving about it here; it’s just so beautiful! The peace and quiet, the surrounding nature and the kind and cosy atmosphere in the hotel; it really is very nice. With the number of experiences I’ve already had here, I feel like I’m settling in. My getaway in the Leithof is perfect.

FROM THE CITY INTO THE MOUNTAINS –
MY PERFECT GETAWAY
IN SOUTH TYROL (PART 2)

Category: Travel     Text: Lea Woitack
It’s hard to stop raving about it here; it’s just so beautiful! The peace and quiet, the surrounding nature and the kind and cosy atmosphere in the hotel; it really is very nice. With the number of experiences I’ve already had here, I feel like I’m settling in. My getaway in the Leithof is perfect.
After the first few days, I felt so recharged and energized that I became thirsty for adventure. So I set off on my own into the unbelievably beautiful nature; at first, I walked along mysterious hiking trails on foot and then along paved roads on an e-bike. With my faithful companion Pucki always at my side, and while my aching muscles recovered from the small but exhausting hike, I took a closer look at the heart of the hotel, the energy generating power plant.
THE POWER PLANT
I have to admit my technical understanding is at the level of a ten-year-old. During the guided tour through the power plant, I tried in vain to reactivate my old school knowledge; but with no luck. Dietmar, the all-around talent and my point of contact for any questions and wishes, showed us the details of the machinery from the inside. Previous knowledge did not exist. If I had to repeat what I experienced in the one and a half hours of his lecture, I could probably only summarize it by mentioning how sophisticated a system it is, complex and adapted down to the last detail, with functions that are not immediately apparent but let the hotel shine in a completely new light. Basically, there are three technologies that are being brought together. Solar energy in combination with the wood gasification power plant and wood chip combustion. Anyone looking to find more technical information the best thing to do is to pay it a visit. Side Fact: In order to bring the power plant up to standard, Stefan invested a lot of time and effort. For months he spent the nights sleeping on a mattress in the machine room to be able to correct errors at any time of the day and to become fully familiar with the work. Now that’s what I call commitment! The point of all of this is to make sure that more energy is produced than consumed, making the hotel essentially energy positive. Therefore I can splash around in the heated outdoor pool at low temperatures without hesitation. Or charge my electric car. Or whatever else you can think to do with energy.
THE HIKING
“Hiking is an act of the legs – and a state of the soul.” I once read that from Josef Hofmiller. Soul is the keyword. I always hear that little voice in me that requests a break after a few thrilling and challenging months. So I start choosing some routes through a hiking app. A small start with 15 kilometers per hour and 800 meters difference in altitude is supposedly unproblematic for an untrained beginner. I quickly realize that I need to reconsider my expectations of myself.

Off we go: In beautiful autumn weather and full of motivation I begin my first little mountain tour.
Many wise people have thought about hiking and its symbolism. Descartes, Schopenhauer, and Goethe merely form the barrier tip of these reflections. But I don’t want to spend time preparing for it, I just want to get started. Right away. Patience is not my strong suit. Dietmar briefly explains the most important rules to me: always be prepared for everything, never be too proud to turn back, always stick to the paths and know that whatever you take with you up the mountain has to be carried down again, it’s just a matter of respect. Unfortunately, I noticed on the way that some people lack sensitivity for their environment. But then again, that’s not really news either.
In everyday life, I have a pretty fast walk and with the same goose step, I’m now trudging up the mountain. I probably could have guessed that I wouldn’t be able to hold out very long. Automatically my pace starts to slow down, and with it, the circling thoughts in my head become calmer, the breath became more regular and instead of my worries looping in my mind, I suddenly perceived my surroundings. The inner tempo adapts to the exterior. Is hiking more than just an outdoor sport? And that’s exactly what it is, you critics out there: it’s actually a sport, and my aching muscles are the witnesses.

Take a breather: Pucki and I enjoy this incredibly beautiful view and give our tired legs a short break.
I decided to give up some responsibility and instead of reading signs and maps, I let my app guide me. That turned out to be a good decision because as I stood in the middle of the undergrowth I couldn’t even see the path through all the trees. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed the small marking on the rock on the ground. And as I continue to reflect on the metaphor of hiking, I am relieved to be living in an age where technology and nature are compatible, so that my inner compass can readjust in peace.
THE E-BIKING
As a lowlander, I have always rejected biking with an incline. It’s just too much work. But these days there are e-bikes. (Almost) everything has to be tried at least once, that’s my motto. The bike’s battery, which is charged with the house’s own electricity, gives me the guarantee of a safe return. But one thing’s clear, the dog can’t gallop at 30 kilometres per hour next to me. Fortunately, he is small and lazy and voluntarily hops into my hiking backpack. From there he can spend most of the time peaking over my shoulder like Falkor.

We’re about to start climbing uphill. The wheel has a gear shift and four levels of electrical assistance, from Eco to Turbo. The sporting ambition has grabbed me. I try to tackle the first meters with my own muscle power. But wait. What was it that I learned on this vacation? Power needs to be spread evenly. Eco, therefore, remains my basic setting for the rest of the way and can be topped up as needed. I never thought I’d ever enjoy biking uphill. It’s still exhausting, but not too much, so that I could still take in the landscape, and it really was indescribably beautiful. Flora and fauna display themselves in all their glory. My vocabulary has again been drastically reduced to one sentence: “It’s so beautiful”.

Sporty with an e-bike: I am thrilled at how much fun a ride on an e-bike can be. Pedal a little on the incline and let it roll freely on the way down.
Suddenly a bike comes shooting from the deep thicket towards us. The rider sharply turns and with no lack of speed, he races past us. Now I understand the criticism of these new bikes. The problem is not the technology itself, but the people who handle it carelessly and use these new options to do things they would have been denied before. A blessing and a curse in one, as it often is.
Nevertheless, the trip remained an impressive event. First, we were intoxicated by nature and later by speed. The descent is much faster. After a short break, we start heading downhill, at 50 kilometres per hour on our two-wheelers and paved roads, of course. Pucki´s ears flutter in the wind while he enjoys the view from my backpack. When we arrived at the hotel, we were utterly exhausted. E-bikes can definitely enrich the experience for anyone, and they aren’t just for seniors.

Soaking up pure nature: a place to feel refreshed and relaxed. This stunning view allows me to calm down, let my thoughts run free and make the big city of Berlin feel small and far away.
THE ‘I GET IT’ EXPERIENCE
I spent two weeks in this enchanted place. Time had sped past and yet had also stood still, the beat had found its rhythm. Relaxation and adventure were suddenly no longer contradictory and while I managed to let all my thoughts come to rest, I understood something important. “People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.” (Aurelius Augustine)
Missed the prelude? This leads to part 1 of the article.

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