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Day 2. Seiser Alm and Rosengarten

13 Apr

Day 2. Seiser Alm and Rosengarten

From our mountain inn in Colfosco we will begin our first full days hike up the Seiser Alm (German) or Alpe di Siusi (Italian) to an altitude of 2160 meters. This is the largest Alpine pasture in Europe. There are several towns on the Seiser Alm including Castelrotto, Siusi allo Sciliar, and Fiè allo Sciliar. Our hike will take us past mountain landscapes best described in architectural terms as towers, curtains, and walls.

Views of the town of Siusi allo Sciliar.

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Pastureland of the Alpe di Siusi/Seiser Alm, the largest Alpine pasture in Europe.

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The second half of the day will bring us to the Rosengarten group which has a unique rosy hue when hit by the setting sun. Once again there are two other names for this group: Catinaccio (Italian) and Ciadenac or Ciadenáze (Ladin). Definitely more confusing than Bolzano and its three names. A legend associated with this group seeks to explain the rosy color by King Laurin’s rose garden. (See below).

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The Legend of King Laurin and His Rose Garden

King Laurin was the ruler of a thriving race of dwarves who lived up here and mined the mountains for precious jewels and valuable ores. He possessed a subterranean palace made of sparkling quartz. But his special pride and joy was the great garden located in front of the entranceway to his underground crystal castle. Countless wonderful roses blossomed in this garden, whose scent was enchanting. But woe unto those who might attempt to pluck even only one of these roses! Laurin would order that his left hand and right foot be chopped off! He exacted the same punishment from anyone who tore the silken thread which surrounded his entire rose garden instead of a fence.

Similde was the beautiful daughter of the “King on the River Etsch.” One day, he felt that the time had come to marry off the girl. So he invited all of the noblemen in the neighboring lands to join with him in a May Day ride – but he did not invite Laurin, the King of the Dwarves. Because of this, Laurin decided to wear his magic Invisibility Cap and attend without being detected. But as he caught sight of Similde, he immediately fell in love with her. So he grabbed her, leaped onto his horse, and galloped away.

The King on the River Etsch sent out his knights to find and rescue poor Similde. King Laurin, who believed that they would never discover him, pranced about in his Rose Garden. But the knights could see the roses swaying, and thus knew where Laurin was hiding. So they were able to trap him. Laurin was so angry at being discovered that he turned around and cursed the Rose Garden, which he believed had betrayed him: “Neither by day nor by night should anyone again glimpse this lovely sight.” But in saying that, Laurin had forgotten the time between day and night: The twilight. And so it is that the pink glow of the Rose Garden can still be seen at dawn and dusk.

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3 Responses to “Day 2. Seiser Alm and Rosengarten”

  1. Angeline M April 14, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    What beautiful photos, and what a wonderful legend of Laurin and the rose garden.

  2. Reggie April 14, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    A well-told story, Rosemarie – this place looks so idyllic.

  3. AlcoholTourism April 21, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    These images are incredible! It makes me want to add the Alps to my short list of travel destinations! What time of year did you go? The blooming flowers are impressive as hell!

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