Thursday, April 10, 2008

Messner and Tibet

Tibet, as you may have noticed, has been very much in the news lately. Probably the most famous Italian to support the Tibetan cause (and its culture in general) is Reinhold Messner, the renowned mountain climber. Despite his Germanic name, appearance and demeanor, he is indeed an Italian citizen, being a native of Suedtirol/Alto-Adige, the primarily German-speaking mountainous region in Northeastern Italy which has always been one of my favorites. Reinhold speaks fluent Italian, with some minor flaws and a charming but not overly marked accent. His Italian is actually better than his English.

Above we see him at Sigmundskron Castle in Firmian at the end of March, unfurling a Tibetan flag made by little refugees from Dharamsala in India (where the Dalai Lama and many others live in exile). Reinhold has set up his Messner Mountain Museums, of which Firmian is the latest. His own castle, where he resides part-time, is called Juval, and houses an extensive collection of Tibetan artifacts. Another site is in Sulden/Solda, near the majestic Ortles peak (love it), where he even has a restaurant called the Yak and Yeti. They actually serve yak meat. I am not making this up. If I were you I'd stick to the canederli and speck.

is a rundown in English on the museums from a British site. What would appear to be the official site is in German and Italian only.