Villa Madonna and Tuff Alm

While we were walking around the ruins, we ran into a Swiss woman and her dog and started chatting a bit. She recommended Tuff Alm on a grey day and said that it was a bit of a hike but not too bad and she always tried to go there whenever she was in Südtirol. So we headed off down the way she had pointed. It is a relatively easy walk for the most part, as you are just walking around the base of the mountain. You’ll first get to a pair of man-made lakes, where people can sunbathe and fish and just generally relax. On this grey day, it was pretty quiet.

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Right after these lakes, you take a turn off the main path and go straight up the side of the mountain for forty minutes. I, admittedly, did not enjoy this part. It really feels like you are going straight up, you’re essentially walking up stairs for forty minutes.

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You can imagine how relieved I was to see our goal. Wait, are those horses?

I may be complaining but it was worth it. It turns out that Tuff Alm has a family run restaurant and beer garden, that also seems to offer rides in horse-drawn carriages. And what appears to be a small zoo. While you are sipping your wine or enjoying your beer after the climb up to the Tuff Alm, you can watch the camel try to eat the decorative flowers, or the donkeys munch away on the grass, the alpacas relaxing, or just listen to the baby goats calling for their parents because they can’t see them anymore. It was not at all what I expected, and the lady who suggested the hike didn’t say a word about a menagerie of animals. I recommend it on that alone.

After having a drink and watching the animals for a bit, we started our descent – which we found to be the fastest running. It took us about ten minutes to run down the trail that took us forty minutes to climb up! We then walked down to Völs to catch a bus back to Seis am Schlern.

The clouds had finally cleared.

Back at the Villa Madonna to clean up and then it was time for supper. We had chosen our menu the day before and were not disappointed. Potato struedel with bacon and mushrooms with cheese as a starter, followed by a delicious pumpkin soup with goat’s cheese, grass fed veal with a beet cream and cocoa nibs, while my boyfriend had the monkfish filet that was served … unusually.

Everything was really good, although the fish confused a lot of people, but you could tell many of us were really waiting for one particular thing.

The dessert buffet.

Yes, there are at least four cakes, two strudels and two plates of cream puffs. The first cream puffs I have had since at least 2011 and they tasted exactly like I remember, not quite as fluffy but the taste was divine. It was heaven.

I was one of the first people to reach the dessert table, along with three others and we all just stood there and went ‘wow….we can eat all of this… we have so much choice..’. It was a good time.

Next up, Seiser Alm!

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