We have a week off and a total of 9 days - something has to be done with such a beautifully promising free time. We planned to go to Croatia, but eventually decided to go there during the holidays. There was an Italian idea around the coast, but definitely not enough time. That is why we finally decided to go to the Alps.
Everything is packed - here we go. We pass through the Czech Republic, and we cross the border with Austria in the small town of Reinthal - near Breclav (note the passage is only below 3.5T). Driving along side lanes is so different from the main roads. Calm down, there is no traffic and small towns have their own charm. We reach the main road from Mikulov. At the first possible station, we buy a vignette - as we continue to enter the motorway, which is getting closer to the Czech border every day.
We often pass through Vienna, but always along the ring road. This time we decided to devote a little more time to it. A small donkey, therefore, after making a round along the beautiful, blue Danube, we park in the vicinity of the city park and go for a walk along the Viennese streets.
How many years have passed when we were here the last time ... then it was winter, now we have summer, but Vienna can delight you at any time of the year, not only during the day and night.
There are many castles in the near and distant surroundings of Vienna - just as recommendable as the city itself. We leave Vienna, find a nice quiet rastplatz and, looking forward to the mountains, we go to sleep.
The route from Fussen to Immenstadt is very picturesque and follows side roads (310-308). We are passed by four convertibles with English numbers. They rolled a little after the donkey and then two of them went blue and the other two were still following the donkey. We got to a roundabout where the first two were rolling, waiting for the others. Those that followed us, instead of turning right immediately, drove around the roundabout and had to roll again after the donkey.
We enter Bern quite early - the city is just waking up. Maybe that's why we have no problem parking in the very center - almost empty streets. The city, of course, lies in the mountains, the peaks of which are covered with snow. The picturesque city, founded in the 12th century, with the old town on a 2-kilometer hill surrounded on three sides by the Aaru valley, is a place that can stay for longer. The most important buildings, the town hall, the parliament, the cathedral and the famous clock tower (with a clock measuring time with Swiss precision for 500 years) are located here.
The views from nearby bridges can certainly be a graceful subject for postcards.
In order not to take the highways, which move quite a lot between large Swiss cities, to Lausanne for a change, we take a side road. At some point, we see a parking lot sign, so let's go. Nice in the forest, a lot of trailers even on it, so we go in. But with a little bit of shyness. After we got closer, it turned out that we found a gypsy camp. Pulling back is not really like. We stand on the verge. The traffic in the camp is just beginning, people lazily leave the trailers and start preparing for breakfast - normal camp life. They don't even pay attention to us. We also have breakfast and are on our way. A few kilometers further, we see a similar camp - only the police have just burst in there and are trying to chase it away. Lausanne is located on Lake Geneva - we've always thought that the land of lakes is Finland - and here, wherever you look, a lake - most of the cities lie just above them.
Geneva - it is equally beautiful, but you have to take our word for it, because we lost both batteries in the camera. That is why we had to stop for them to recharge because we had Chamonix and Mont Blanc ahead of us. We enter a large car park full of campers. There was a plan to go up, but they were expecting a storm and the queue was blocked - in fact in an hour, if it didn't start to rain, it was raining like hell. It disappointed us a bit, but what could be advised - maybe next time the weather will be better, there was no point in waiting until the next day as they said at the cable car station that the next day should be similar.
Well, we had nothing else to do but return to Switzerland through the Col de Montets pass. It was falling mercilessly, so we made a longer stop on it, hoping that the weather would finally have some pity on us. And in fact, after lunch, the sky started to clear a little - we even managed to see the alpine peaks in all their glory.
From the pass, we descend a little lower to the border crossing with Switzerland, we drive up to the building, we stop - you cannot see the living spirit in the area. No, we are not going any further. After a few kilometers it brightens up - and that's the charm of the mountains.
From there we go to Martigny - a beautiful exit, but also pay attention to the brakes (there is only one parking lot on the way with the possibility of stopping).
At the height of Sion, we turn right towards the Matterhorn. At first we go through the valley, the road begins to climb and climb, and from behind the next bends wonderful views emerge. We went so far in looking for more that we reached 2200 m to Arolla. The end of the road is a bit narrow and winding, but the traffic is heavy, we managed to pass another car even once. If you are in the area, it is worth coming here (it is better to turn back here, it can be difficult later).
Coming back, we see how the clouds from Mont Blanc reached here as well. It's time to look for a place to stay at the 22nd, we are stopped for a while by goats by the pyramids in Euseigne.
The weather here is a real lottery, sometimes it is pouring, sometimes sun, sometimes clouds. It all depends on fate and height. After spending the night in the Sion area, we drive to Gletsch. On the left, we now have a different perspective on the glacier and the Jungfrau. Before Gletsch, you can load a car on a train and take it to the other side under the Furkapass (2436), but we didn't come here to travel by trains through the tunnels, although the weather makes us stop for a longer time before entering Furka. The driveway is long and a lot of serpentine on it, steep in places (14%).
At an altitude above 2000m and with such a slope, we must negotiate strongly with the donkey and convince him that he can do it. If it were lower, there would be no problems, but here the lack of oxygen can be felt a bit. Despite the unfavorable weather conditions, the views reward us with the effort of climbing. Such a driveway also has its advantages - you can freely take photos without fear that we will miss something interesting.
Traffic on the road is small, so if there is a need, you can stop - taking only into account the fact of starting uphill, which at such a slope may have different results in some places. There is a car park above the hotel and the road flattens out a lot - but again the altitude does the job. Finally, we drove onto Furka, and there was snow. We went for a little walk but 10 degrees brrr. On the way, we passed the soldiers returning from the mountains - when they slept here at night, I feel sorry for them brrr ...
We leave Furka, but not entirely. We set the route and we have a dilemma which way to go…. Confusion with confusion - but this is how it is in the Alps, first the viaduct, then the tunnel and we go round and round.
From Furka we enter the St. Gottard. Unfortunately, we do not have many photos because of the clouds that covered the area so tightly that after stopping at the pass in the parking lot, we only discovered after a few minutes that there was a lake 5 meters away. When it finally stopped raining a bit, we went to explore the area as much as possible. Luckily we were able to get back in the car before the next cloud. We are waiting for nothing changes, I think it will stay that way. There is a car going, then we follow it. And so we were descending the pass, staring at the two red lights in front of us - the road must have been winding - at least that's how I heard that I bend again because I couldn't see anything.
Via Bellinzone we reach Lugano, which is tucked into a small headland between Italian territory. It looks as if Switzerland wants to get some sun and warmth for itself.
We also catch a piece of Italy, but unfortunately we just come back from work, so we stand and stand, and the opposite one goes and goes. Only the arrival of the police normalized the traffic on the shuttle crossing. Locarno greets us with the sun, although here you can also see that it has just finished raining. It is not for nothing that it prides itself on being the sunniest city in Switzerland.
As we drove through Bellinzone earlier due to a cloudburst, and we want to see the town, we return to a stop on the highway.
Bellinzona is a lovely little town, more Italian than Swiss style. Around 8.30 the town only comes to life, the streets are empty. Thanks to this, you can take a leisurely and leisurely stroll along the streets and visit the local castles (three), which together with the walls guarded the area. So we climb one of them, which offers a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding area.
Going north towards Chur, you can overcome the Bernardino Pass, either through a tunnel or up a mountain (up to 10%). We slowly pass the last villages and climb the mountain. We did not meet any car on the way. Peace and quiet around, and the surroundings a bit like northern Norway, the weather also.
The "famous" Davos is also on our trail. In fact, in the suburbs of the village, we feel "its atmosphere" - we don't even have to open the windows.
The town itself, apart from the fact that it is known, does not impress - and the area may look more interesting in winter, but it made a small interesting impression on us. If it is located on the route, you can take a peek, but to go there on purpose - it's not necessary.
Heading west, we follow a picturesque route, unfortunately the weather is not good for us - but on a clear day, I think it is worth going this way.
We reach the area where the three borders of Switzerland, Austria and Italy meet, and we have to decide which way to go next. After weather consultations, we decide to return to Austria. We spend the night in the vicinity of Innsbruck in the hope that the weather will be more favorable the next day.
The capital of Tirol, Innsbruck, i.e. the bridge over the Inn River, is famous for its golden roof (a large bay covered with gilded tiles - 2,500). The monuments are concentrated mainly around the market square, and the negligible morning traffic allows you to delve into the local cobbled streets. Most of them are really narrow, so walking them allows you to feel the charm of this place.
As the weather does not encourage visiting Austria, we decide to drop by the Dolomites for a while. We were there once, but some imp did not allow us to take pictures then - an imp, not an imp, or maybe it was meant to be back there again. From Innsbruck we follow the Brennenpass. However, we do not go on the highway, but we wander among alpine villages and towns.
We cross the border and the moment what is there - suddenly beautiful sun, heat, even hot - yes, Italy. We visit Bolzano, a cultural mix - 25% of the inhabitants speak German. There are cafes and restaurants in the heart of the historic center in Piazza Walther.
Direction Dolomites - the most beautiful mountains we know. How different from the typical alpine hills. We are going and seeing the first pointed peaks we are already looking forward to what will happen next. Az wants to spend a lot of time here - maybe someday we will go here for a typical holiday - unfortunately not now.
After Gries, we turn right into a side road. We stop in the vicinity of Marmolada - the highest peak of the Dolomites (3343). There is a parking lot with tables, from which you can take a look at the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, there is also a disturbing sign - the prohibition of any camping and campering - which is a pity because the area is begging. Going further, passing the wonderful mountains, we reach an altitude of about 2000m above the Lago di Fadaia lake. Here, too, you can forget yourself watching the peaks of the surrounding mountains reflect in the turquoise waters. With a small car park, there is a restaurant and several shorter and longer hiking trails.
Behind the lake, a steep downhill ride begins - you have to be careful with the brakes, although the winding road, however, the distances between the bends allow you to really accelerate, which is not entirely advisable. We also have to wait a while because they are just sorting out the area by helicopter. Looking down the road looks innocent, but let's not get fooled by it - it has a lot of percent
After lunch and afternoon coffee, only the descent to Cortina, and further along the alpine valleys, we approach the border with Austria - the weather is also so northern.
Well, the weather doesn't want to change too much - sometimes only the sun comes out. This is how it is when you leave sunny Italy. We are going towards the Hohe Tauern, where there are approx. 250 glaciers and over 300 peaks above 3000m with the highest Austrian peak Grossglockner (3797), 10 km with the Pasterze glacier, and the largest Krimm waterfalls (380m). roads in Austria. Unfortunately, it is payable and it is quite salty. At a length of 50 km, it covers 1750 m of elevation, so starting from an altitude of approx. 800 m, you drive through various climatic zones. At the toll collection points, you get a map with the indicated attractions, parking lots or restaurants and their descriptions. At first the road climbs the valley along gentle hills. Only after the toll collection point it rises more and more - we are practically alone on the road - sometimes a car will pass by, but because the weather is not too good, there is no vacation yet, so it's really a rarity. The higher it is, the worse it drizzles at first, then it pours all over.
At times it clears up and we manage to take some photos of Shepherds and the nearby peaks. There are also several suggestions for routes around the area next to the parking lot.
The weather was very unfavorable for us - at one point it even started to snow, the temperature dropped to around zero and it was brrr. But on the other hand, it's good that it's so cold, because with these climbs 12-14% and the height, the donkey does not get tired so much.
On the Hochtor Pass (2504m) it is raining down considerably. There is snow behind the tunnel - not only patches, but entire stretches - unfortunately we are in the clouds and not much else can be seen.
Going down, we have numbered bends, and in the area there are a lot of grazing miles :)
After leaving Grossglockner, turn on the GPS - direction home - navigation selects the highways, hence the daily mileage increases significantly. Just a short break somewhere on the road and this is the end of our alpine adventure - it's time to say hello to our gray reality again - just until summer.
The donkey puts hooves here and there…. he just travels the world. We travel in a small camper, if we can get there by car - we will get there, if not - we will try it on foot. Our trips are not boring, we have some more or less adventure almost every day. We get to know landscapes, monuments, people, and then we describe it on the blog with a pinch of humor ...