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Crossing the Alps


After the business meeting in Vienna we continued towards Venice. We did not take the shortest or easiest way, because we wanted to cross the Alps via Grossglockner Strasse.

We spent a night in Zell am See. Zell am See is an Austrian Ski resort where during summer time you will see there and nearby several “Zimmer Frei” signs. That means in German that the rooms are available. There is also a good Tourist info system. In tourist info center there are pictures with the numbers and map on the wall and the toll free telephone to use.

You just dial the number of the pension or hotel and you will get the information about prices and availability. The only problem might be, that English is not so widely spoken, but we managed. Our choice was pension Claudia in Thumersbach, village on the other side of the lake from Zell am See. It cost us 50EUR night (including breakfast for two). The room had an excellent view on Alps and a lake. The staff was very friendly and they invited us back for the winter to ski and promised a discount. I am sure we will use this promise sometimes.

Garmisch Partenkirchen
Next morning we started crossing the Alps. Grossglockner Strasse is a pay-road; it cost 26EUR to drive there with a passenger car. Scenery at the road is magnificent. We stopped several times just to take pictures and enjoyed the view. At 3,798m the Grossglockner is not only the highest mountain in Austria, it also counts among the highest peaks in the Alps. The most beautiful view is from Edelweiss-spitze, altitude 2,571m, the point on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road with a majestic panoramic view to more than thirty 3,000m peaks.

Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe has an altitude of 2,369m, here is a visitor’s centre where you can buy souvenirs and have famous Guljash-soup for 4EUR. Upon arriving here you stand directly before Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner, with a view of the longest glacier in the eastern Alps, the Pasterze. Dozens of marmots came to us to claim a food and pose for photos. Here the temperature is cooler than before mountains, but in June it was still +16, which is quite high compare to what we experienced in Norway.

When we had enough from the mountain views, guljash soup and cute marmots, we continued towards Venice. The road was twisty and really scenic, and we stopped again several times.

We crossed the Austrian-Italian border in Dolomites (Dolomiti) mountains. After the mountains we turned to highway A27. In Italy the autostradas (motorways) are pay-roads. You can pay for driving on Autostrada with a credit card, but it is more comfortable to have cash. You get a ticket then you enter a Autostrada and pay then you leave it. Autostrada is usually very high-quality road, the noise coming from tyres is minimal.
We did not have any accommodation booked in Venice or other places on our planned trip. In Bavaria and Austria it was very easy with “Zimmer Frei” signs. In Italy it was different. We found a Tourist Info near Venice. At the moment we opened the door of the car, one man started to sell us his hotel. Instead of buying the lodging on the street we went into Tourist Info and got very friendly advice there. If you book the hotel in the Tourist Info in Italy, you have to pay 20% of the hotel price here without seeing the hotel or the room. You have to content yourself with the pictures which could be bad quality. Also, you have to pay a service charge of 2-4 EUR.

We got the room for 72EUR in the 2-star hotel Da Tito in Mestre, price included the breakfast. Hotel was nice and we could park our car safely in the backyard, which was important for us.

More pictures about Alps here.