Wednesday, 25 May 2011
I'm going a little further afield for Sluttery Travels this week. I was recently lucky enough to be whisked away to the Italian alps by the South Tyrol Tourist Board. One of the places we stayed in was Pension Briol, and while it might be difficult to get to, the view is truly worth it.
The Pension Briol is a guesthouse dating back to 1880. There's nothing fancy about it, but you're looked after. It's run by Johanna who has the most infectious laugh I've ever heard. She's ever so slightly nutty and the emphasis is on being friendly and welcoming. It's simple.
The guesthouse was built by Johanna's great grandmother with three rules - it wasn't to be sold out of the family, no fences were to be built around it and the nature of the area was to be respected. I can confirm that that's still the case today. But, they are expanding and they've taken on a treehouse project with Swiss architect Peter Zumphor. Each of the five treehouses will have space to sleep six and they'll be ready in 2013.
Dinner is a wonderful affair (there's a bell to tell you when it's ready). No room service, no menu, no a la carte. Everyone eats the same three course meal, with many many extra portions if you fancy it. On the night I was here there was asparagus risotto, goulash and then an elderflower custard-ish pannacotta thingy. All very tasty and filling. The wine and pear grappa went down very well too.
A double room with breakfast and dinner is around €85 a night. But getting here? That's slightly more difficult. Y'see, there's no public road to Briol. Instead, you park in nearby Barbiano and either take the 60 minute hike up the mountain, or take the option of the local taxi for about €10. It's a beautiful journey, and only slightly hair raising as the tiny car turns corners with a massive cliff drop next to you (while the driver is on a mobile phone).
Pension Briol is the best place you could imagine to get away from the world. There's nothing except good food, friendly faces and a beautiful view and you soon realise you don't need anything else at all.