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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Carving, Cheese & Cool Jewellery: Creative Travel in South Tyrol

Creative travel in Sout Tyrol. “At the Oberpalwitterhof mountain farm? We have already visited there during summer. Magnificent place. Great inspiration for the kids, too.” Such is a recent comment I got from one of my readers on Facebook. I sigh, happily, breathing in the fresh air up here some 1000 metres above sea level. And catch myself being distracted, again and again, by the view upon the Dolomites mountains, slowly emerging from the morning mist … “Elena! Have you made your choice about which beans you’d like to choose for making your earrings?” Christine’s happy laughter are reflected in the peace that surrounds us. Her farm, the Oberpalwitterhof, is actually known as an organic herb farm. Besides cooking and colour printing herbs on tissues and clothes, she also loves to create jewelry from unusual, dried beans (!). Dried beans?

… ist eigentlich ganz einfach. Zunächst geht es an die Auswahl der "richtigen" Bohnen ...

It’s actually quite simple. First and foremost, it’s all about choosing your favourite colour beans …

 

… die für die Gestaltung meiner Ohrringe ...

… who have already been prepared …

 

… schon angebohrt sind und flugs zum kreativen Gestalten verleihen.

… for the creation of my earrings.

 

Marc macht indes neben mir einen kreativen Schlüsselanhänger aus Bohnen - auch nicht schlecht!

Marc chooses to make a keyring from his set of beans.

 

Auch der kreative Stoffdruck aus Bergkräutern ...

And after a while, we proceed to make colour printings from dried herbs …

 

… ist eine fabelhafte Ergänzung zum Biokräuter-Hofladen von Christine!

… a lovely idea to complement all the herbal produce here at the Oberpalwitterhof mountain farm!

 

Liebe Christine, danke Dir für solch einen tollen kreativen Geheimtipp!

Thank you for a lovely mountain morning, dear Christine!

 

Check out more about Christine and her aromatic herb farm, the Oberpalwitterhof here.

But there is more. A lot more, so to say! The Roter Hahn – Gallo Rosso association of mountain farms in South Tyrol has provided us with lots of useful tips exploring traditional crafts as well as opportunities for creative travel among the farms of South Tyrol. What we encounter here is a long-standing tradition of animating guests and visitors to join different types of activities, as the comment of my reader confirms. Farmers themselves nod in agreement: “I have been asked several times to open a carving school“, Herbert Kerschbaumer of the Thalerhof farm tells us, only about half an hour’s drive from Christine’s Oberpalwitterhof. “But then, I like to be half-farmer, half-carving artist: Like this, I can enjoy the time with my creative guests as much as I do with the animals and the farming business.” Arriving at his farm, Herbert is about to help out a friend carving a magnificent Madonna statue. Impressive! With all this creative inspiration at hand, Marc and I take to carving out a bird as well as a sea shell from comparatively soft lime wood.

Die Ankunft in Herbert's Schnitzwerkstatt ...

Arriving at Herbert’s workshop …

 

… bedeutet "learning by doing" pur: Hier demonstriert der Meister an der Statue seines Bekannten.

… literally means “learning by doing”: Here, Herbert demonstrates his carving skills helping his friend carve out this Madonna statue.

 

Wir beginnen mit einer einfachen Zeichnung auf dem Holz ...

We start with a simple sketch on wood …

 

… und holen aus dem Holz heraus, was nur geht!

… carving away as good as we can!

 

Immer wieder begeistern mich Farbtöne, Geruch und Form des Holzes.

I continue to be amazed by the beauty of the wood, its aroma and structures, as we immerse ourselves in the creative process.

 

Und an meine bisherigen Schnitzabenteuer im Grödnertal, ebenfalls in Südtirol, oder in Cerdeira, Portugal ...

Love how it reminds me of my carving adventures in Val Gardena or Cerdeira, Portugal, too…

 

… erinnere ich mich in dieser fast schon "gewohnten" Umgebung auch immer wieder gerne.

… always being helped by those exceptionally calm, talented local artists.

 

Vielen Dank, lieber Herbert, für diesen nachmittäglichen Kreativ-Ausflug !!

Thank you so much, dear Herbert, for a happy afternoon’s worth of carving !!

 

Really proud of what we have achieved: It is amazing what you can do in just one afternoon! After all this inspiration, I do recommend a #winelover’s hangout, for instance at the nearby Gummererhof farm. Or have you ever tried a “Blattele” sparkling wine made from local South Tyrol grapes grown at more than 600 metres above sea level?

Weingenuss & Plaudern mit dem Wirt am Gummererhof ...

Enjoying a glass of wine (or two) with our welcoming hosts at the Gummererhof near the city of Brixen …

 

… der Juniorchef ist wie wir begeistert davon, den Genuss sofort via Social Media mit der Welt zu teilen!

… where the young wine grower is just as much about posting and sharing his good wine as we are! 😉

 

Der Überblick über die verschiedenen, exotisch klingenden Rebsorten am Gummererhof verschafft ...

Check out all the different varieties being grown here at the Gummererhof in South Tyrol – quite astounding for a mountain district such as this one with a long-standing tradition in viticulture.

 

Apart from wine: Have you ever thought about the many things you can make from milk?

Well. Butter, cream and cheese of course. Mozzarella for instance: Oooh, how I’d love a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese now … But hang on a minute. Has it really always been this easy?

“Making butter has been one hell of a job”, Peter laughs, starting to turn the wheel on his little wooden butter barrel: “Besides, did you know that this used to be a job for children?” Both the Italian family, joining us as guests at the Tiefentalhof farm in the Puster valley, and us look at him wide-eyed. What might start as a fun activity actually turns into something three strong men (!) have to deal with in the end: Making butter ain’t no easy job after all. “A job for the children?” Hm. Check this out.

Los geht's bei der abendlichen Milch-zu-Butter-Verarbeitung für die Kreativ-Gäste des Tiefentalhof ...

Off we go turning milk into butter: Check out more about the Sapelza family and their beautiful mountain farm here!

 

Ich darf schon mal kosten ...

I am allowed to start tasting progress …

 

… als es noch recht fein-cremig schmeckt: Mahlzeit!

… at the stage where the butter-milk is still quite creamy: Cheers!

 

Mit der Zeit wird es immer schwerer, das restliche in der Butter enthaltene Wasser mit diesem traditionellen Walzgerät aufzuschleudern ...

Over time, it gets harder and harder to press out the remaining water in the wealth of solid butter mass …

 

… doch mit vereinten Kräften, so lernen wir ...

… but in the end, and this is what we learn …

 

… kommt die frische Butter schließlich aufs Brot: Mahlzeit, jetzt aber wirklich!

… our happy, communal effort has put fresh butter on the table (and on our bread): Enjoy your meal!

 

Not far from the Sapelza family’s Tiefentalhof, we are invited for another creative activity of a kind at the Mudlerhof mountain farm in the Gsieser valley. Here, Agatha Walder has made it her choice to create fresh mozzarella, or “Mudlarella”, as she likes to call it. “The kids love it”, she smiles, cheeks glowing. Five children surround her in the kitchen, anxiously watching her every move. The family farm even offers a “nest” of fresh eggs for each guest room, readily available for morning breakfast! Happily, Agatha tells us about the many centuries of farming history at the Mudlerhof and how her family succeeded in becoming 100% energy-independent thanks to a perfectly constructed biogas facility. All the reasons to be proud!

Vom Stall ...

From the farming stables …

 

… direkt in die Küche zum "Mudlarella"-Schneiden ...

… all the way into the kitchen and making “mudlarella” …

 

… ist es hier am Mudlerhof nur ein kleiner Schritt.

… it is but a small step here at the Mudlerhof farm.

 

Die ersten, frischen Batzen Mozzarella schmecken schon mal super!

The first, fresh chunks of Mozzarella taste nice already!

 

Doch erst verfeinert wird die Mixtur dank Nüssen, getrockneten Blüten und Kräutersalzen so richtig gut.

But it’s only after adding dried flowers, nuts and herbs that our very own Mozzarella becomes really really yummy!

 

Tausend Dank für so viel "Fingerspitzengefühl" und "guten Geschmack", liebe Agatha !!

Thank you so much for such a “heartfelt” Mozzarella day, dear Agatha !!

 

Last but not least, I have a final creative travel tip to share. Lovely Maria and her healing herbal workshops at the Unterstein farm in Niederdorf– all to be reached within half an hour’s drive from our Tiefentalhof farm in Welsberg-Taisten in the Puster valley. Maria has specialized in Kneipp baths, aromatic herbal teas and all kinds of local, herbal produce. She loves to pass on her knowledge during courses and workshops with her guests. The winter balm we created together for instance is a pure blessing at this time of year! But even simple things, such as making our own lip balms and deodorants free of any chemicals help us to rethink what we would buy in the shops otherwise. Check this out.

Maria's Kräuterkunde ...

Herbal lessons with Maria …

 

… ist ein Fest für Genießer.

… are pure joy for the senses.

 

In diesem kreativen Umfeld werden kühne Träume vom eigenen Deodorant, Lippenbalsam und natürlichen Hautcremen wahr.

A gentle push into creativity, that’s what a workshop like this does: It also reminds me of all the herbal produce we made last autumn in the Kleinwalsertal!

 

Danke auch Dir für die schönen, kreativen Stunden, liebe Maria!

Thank you for the lovely time together, dear Maria!

 

Fancy even more tips and ideas for your next holidays in South Tyrol? Here they come, in the most vivid of colours. But beware: Do not look at the following foodie pictures hungry ..! 🙂

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the “Roter Hahn – Gallo Rosso” to discover and explore the (his)stories of local South Tyrol mountain farms. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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