Love in the Mountains: Daniel & Carolina
Every year people from around the world fall in love with the mountains and culture of Tirol – and some even fall in love with a local. We asked international couples about the role the mountains have played in their relationship.
A Viennese Waltz in the streets of Barcelona
Daniel Sperl, 38, and his Columbian wife Carolina Osorio Rogelis, 41, live in Innsbruck. They are both involved in the Climate Alliance Austria and import fair-trade coffee from Columbia, transported across the seas on sailing ships.
Caro: It all started in the beach town of Palomino. From there you can see the highest mountain in the country. Palm trees and snow-capped peaks: a very romantic place.
Daniel: But you have to get up very early to see the summit, because later the clouds start to gather. We set off at 6 o'clock. During the walk there was this immediate connection between us.
And I missed my flight back to Bogotá!
I had to go back to Bogotá too, but being the eco-warrior that I am I didn't fly, of course, but took the bus for 18 hours! There we had another day and a half together and went to the mountains for the first time - the city lies at almost 3,000 metres above sea level. After I left, we stayed in touch via the internet.
At that time, I was active in the Colombian peace movement. When we spoke on the phone, Dani was very interested in the topic. That's when I realised that we were not only connected by a romantic walk on the beach, but also by a political passion. The next time we saw each other was in Barcelona, when I was visiting a friend there.
I travelled over from Innsbruck. By coach.
It was New Year and Dani insisted on dancing a Viennese Waltz on the streets of Barcelona with me as the clock struck midnight. A beautiful Austrian tradition!
After New Year we hitchhiked back to Innsbruck so we could spend some time together in my home town.
I remember the journey well - and I can also remember the first time we went into the mountains of Tirol together.
I had planned a snowshoe hike in the Karwendel Mountains. Until then, Caro had only really seen snow from a distance. Unfortunately, I had made a slight mistake in planning the hike and we didn't arrive at the our winter shelter in the mountains until 10 o'clock in the evening!
That was the first and the last time I went snowshoeing! But it was a good experience to get to know each other better. Afterwards we knew that we could work together even in difficult situations.
We then visited each other a few more times before deciding to get married and live together in Innsbruck in April 2018.
In Colombia we studied medieval Europe at school. When I came here, suddenly I was actually in the Middle Ages! Here there are still the old city walls. The streets are tiny and wind their way around left and right, up and down.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well Caro was received by my circle of friends. She is chatty and bubbly. Tiroleans, on the other hand, are known for being more quiet and reserved. Thankfully they got on really well with each other.
Love in the Mountains
This article is part of the series "Love in the Mountains". In it, we talk to couples living in Tirol. One of them is a local, one comes from another part of the world.
With our joint project "Klimabohne" ("Climate Bean"), we import sustainably produced coffee from small-scale farms in Colombia to Europe by sailing ship. I then always tell our customers about my personal experiences with the rural population. I hope they enjoy hearing these stories. Overall, I felt very welcome in Innsbruck.
We also have friends who have returned to Colombia because they missed their home country too much. But Bogotá, like Innsbruck, is a metropolis in the mountains. Although the cities are so far apart, there are surprisingly many similarities.
What I will never get used to, however, is that everything is planned so precisely here. In Latin America, we don't put our dates with friends in the diary - we just visit each other!