Kli-Kla-“Klöckeln“ Tip number 4:
Strange apparitions in Sarentino Valley
What would you do if a group of odd characters in disguise brandishing accordions, chains, bells and all sorts of loud instruments turned up on your doorstep one Thursday evening before Christmas? Throw in a curious couple in costume introducing themselves as “Zußlmandele“ and “Zußlweibele“ dancing in the group's midst and whooping joyfully at the top of their voices?
Would you be prepared to invite them in and put a meal on the table for them? This custom, otherwise known as 'Klöckeln' (knocking), is very successful in Sarentino Valley, in any case!
Hosts extend a warm welcome to these strange creatures, who repay hospitality by striking up a song of thanks meant to bring a good, successful year. If you don't have a snack to offer, you can simply toss a couple of coins into the collection bag. Once the “Zußlweibele“ has been driven from the house, the rest of them then make their way to the next farm under cover of darkness.
Tip number 5: it's getting Christmassy high up in the mountains!
Do it yourself in the mountains of Martell Valley!
On the other hand, the Martell Christmas market, or to be more precise, the highest market in the Alps, is very easy to find. Nestling amidst snowy landscape and encircled by ancient fir trees at an altitude of 2,061 m, you can admire a live crib scene and see women deftly practising a form of lace-making with bobbins going back hundreds of years known as 'Klöppeln' (an art of lace-making), or fashion a souvenir to take home yourself in an arts and crafts session. There's also the chance to try your hand at wood turning, which is quite hard work. But watch out – this market in the Alps is only held from 8th to 11th December!
Tip number 6: taking it slowly – yes please!
Horse-drawn sleigh rides on the Seiser Alm pasture
If you find all the hustle and bustle and arts and crafts a little lacking in romantic atmosphere, then you should go on a trip to the Seiser Alm pasture. Far away from the madding crowd, you can snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh, let your thoughts wander and enjoy some time as a sweet couple. The only thing that you can hear through the silence is the clip-clopping of the hooves of the young Haflinger horses as they make their way through the snow. It's a good thing that you have a warm blanket and a partner to cuddle up to on the sleigh in those sub-zero temperatures. And if that doesn't warm you up, a mug of hot mulled wine after the sleigh ride will do the trick!
Find even more hot winter tips here!