Simanaitis Says

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CYCLING THE TYROL—IN 1905     PART 2

YESTERDAY, BAEDEKER’S AUSTRIA-HUNGARY offered helpful hints about cycling Tyrol. Today we share tidbits of its itinerary from Innsbruck to Bozen, together with related thoughts of my own trippin’ thereabouts, real and virtual. 

Innsbruck. Baedeker’s described, “Innsbruck (1880 ft.), the capital of Tyrol, with 45,000 inhabitants (including the suburbs), is charmingly situated on the Inn, not far from the influx of the Sill, and next to Salzburg is the most picturesque town among the German Alps.” 

This and following images from Baedeker’s Austria-Hungary, 1905.

Baedeker’s continued, “In every direction, particularly towards the N., the eye is met by striking groups of bold and fissured limestone mountains (Brandjoch, Frauhitt, Hafelekar), towering above the cultivated slopes of the valley; while towards the S., above the wooded Berg Isel, rise the noble outlines of the Waldraster-Spitze and Saile-Spitze.”

See “The Alps: Mountains of Prominence” and “Christmas in Austria” for my personal takes on the region. 

Empty Pockets? Baedeker’s gives special mention of the Goldne Dachl, “a gilded copper roof, covering a rich late-Gothic balcony….” It’s part of “a palace which Count Frederick of Tyrol ‘with the empty pockets’ (d. 1439) is said to have built at a cost of 30,000 ducats (about 14,000 l.) in order to refute the imputation in his nickname.”

Given that Baedeker’s Money-Table sets one English L. to $5 U.S., 30,000 ducats was around $70,000 U.S. in 1905, perhaps $2,310,000 in today’s dollar. 

This certainly puts paid to Count Frederick’s nickname.

To Botzen by the Brenner. Baedeker’s said of its 83-mile railway itinerary: “Best views to the right as far as the Eisak bridge below Sterzing; beyond it, generally to the left.” 

Cyclers following the route as closely as possible get unobstructed views to either side. And don’t be put off by the name Botzen. Other renderings include Bozen, Bulsan, and, once the place became part of northern Italy, Bolzano. 

Brixen. Baedeker’s offers a tantalizingly brief mention of Brixen, about 25 miles north of Bozen: It’s the home of “Dr. von Guggenberg’s Hydropathic, pension 8-13 K,” (Note: 4 K. 80 h. = $1 U.S.). Also, Brixen was “for nine centuries the capital of a spiritual principality, which was suppressed in 1803….”

Gee, this calls for more research. According to Wikipedia, “The area of Brixen has been settled since the Upper Paleolithic (8th millennium B.C.)…. The first mention of Brixen dates to 901 in a document issued by King of Germany, Louis III the Child, in it a territory called Prihsna is assigned to Zacharias, bishop of Säben. As time passed, ‘Prihsna’ turned into the current name of Brixen.”

“In 1039,” Wikipedia continues, “the Bishop of Brixen, Poppo, was elevated to Pope by emperor Henry III. However, his reign lasted for only 23 days.”

Why so brief? Precise details are not forthcoming, but another Wikipedia entry has Poppo/Damasus II at 24 days and yet another lists six other pontiffs with even shorter reigns. Holy smoke!

Where were we? Oh yeah, approaching Bozen.

Bozen. Baedeker’s said, “Botzen (870 ft.), a town with 13,900 inhab., was the chief depot of the traffic between Venice and the North in the middle ages, and is to the present day the busiest commercial town in Tyrol.”

“The E. background,” Baedeker’s observed, “is formed by the picturesque and fantastic dolomite peaks of the Schlern and the Rosengarten, while to the W. the view is bounded by the long ridge of the Mendel, stretching from Mte. Roën to the Gantkofel and rising above the castled hills of Ueberetche. Fine view of the environs from the Talfer bridge.”

My Bozen/Bolzano. Another guidebook in my collection offers “Folktales of the Dolomites.” An aviation adventure is recounted in “Bamberg to Rome, 1926—And Virtually 2021.” As noted in this second one, Bolzano (IATA: BZO) was my one attempt at GMax scenery construction.

Image from Throne & Vine.

My fltsim scenery (hitherto lost in a computer blue-screen) wasn’t bad. But reality is scads better. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022 

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