There are some places in the world you don’t look for but you get there anyway. I don’t know why, but there is this feeling of belonging somehow. Montalto Ligure is just one of those tiny wild villages placed on a mountain top in the Mediteranian Alps.
In Glori we saw a big building far away in the mountains and we asked what this is. We thought it would be a monastery or something similar. Someone told us, this would just be another village. But it would be very hard to get there and only two habitants would still live there. Both more than 90 years old.
San Bernado Di Conio
There is a road leading to this mountain village which is recommended only in the months May to November. In this complicated surroundings, in 1944, during WW2, the Nazis chased members of the Italian Resistance. Every September the people of san Bernado die Conio celebrate their heroes.
In San Bernado, a small chapel nearby, under thick layers of paint, drawings from the Middle Ages where found.
Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitlers photographer, once said “Der Fotograf bildet ab, sonst nichts.” (The photographer depicts, nothing else.) This was his argument for turning a 10 year prison conviction to only 4 years. Albert Speer, Hitlers architect and later Reich Minister for Armaments and Ammunition, was convicted to only 20 years of prison while other leading Nazis of his rank and with very similar collections of crimes against humanity were sentenced to death. Leni Riefenstahl, Hitlers infamous director, wrote: „[…] wo liegt denn meine Schuld? Sagen Sie mir doch das. Ich habe keine Atombomben geworfen, ich habe niemanden verleugnet. Wo liegt denn meine Schuld? (Where is my fault? Tell me that. I didn’t throw any atom bombs, I didn’t deny anyone. Where is my fault?
Together with Göbbels as Reich Minister of Propaganda and many others creatives, they created the myth around Hitler and the Nazis. Their grandeur and elevation. They depicted the führer as a Messias and the SS as saviors from evil. But their professions deal with visual aspects and they have been and still are underestimated in their effects. Is design able to create a monster? As you can see in this very distinct examples, it sure is.
A never finished building to host more than 50.000 people. With a planned height of 70 meters and a diameter of 170 meters the biggest still existing of the Nazi buildings.
from where the Reichsparteitag happened and Hitler held his infamous speeches.
Two picturesque villages in a row. Great views to the sea, funny coloured houses, nice cafés. But with all this flattery about Ireland I have to come to the less beautiful things now: First was, that it is not possible in all those picturesque villages to stroll quietly along the roads. Instead there is a steady stream of cars passing through the most beautiful parts and the people crowd on the small sidewalks. It leaves all the beauty to your imagination or maybe if you look up and ignore what happens on the ground, as I did for taking the photos.
Second thing is housing architecture. There are those wonderful old raw stone buildings of mostly sheep farmer families on the countryside and the traditionally coloured houses in the villages with their broad chimneys an their wooden carved business signs speaking of big craftsmanship of the times. But the region didn’t seam to have found an architectural language of modern times yet. Every piece of great contemporary architecture I saw (and this also counts for interior design) is imported. There is no Irish architecture which is aware of the past and its natural surroundings which continues classical Irish design into the future. Instead you’ll find mostly ugly, modernistic prefabricated housing in the middle of the greatest and wildest landscapes with thick plastic windows directly from the home depot stores, concrete fences and no intended garden at all. Interior Design (if it’s not traditional like for example in many pubs) is mostly inspired by English Interior Design but without the great materials and the will to develop coziness and individuality. I would really like to see those Irish style family homes with a love for proportions and space. There must be some.
Those Irish people. Never in my traveler life I have met such friendly and eloquent people like here. Out of the blue you’ll start an intellectual conversation on the street while looking at some zucchini on a market stand. And all that without being intrusive or without the intention of selling something. There are many, many countries in the world who could take a leaf out of Irelands book on that issue.
We went to the Stepping Stone Bed & Breakfast because my cousin, who was already there for several times, recommended it to us. It is beautifully situated in Bridia Valley between the mountains of Kerry and you’ll get there by car or while hiking along the well indicated Kerry Way.
Sandy and John are the warmest hosts ever and they will make your stay a pure blast.