After the business meeting in Vienna, we continued toward Venice. We did not take the shortest or easiest route because we wanted to cross the Alps via Grossglockner Strasse.
We spent the 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 information system. In the tourist information center, there are pictures with the numbers and a map on the wall, and a toll-free telephone to use.
You just dial the number of the pension or hotel and you will get information about prices and availability. The only problem might be that English is not widely spoken, but we managed. Our choice was Pension Claudia in Thumersbach, a village on the other side of the lake from Zell am See. It cost us 50 euros a night (including breakfast for two). The room had an excellent view of the Alps and a lake. The staff were 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.
The next morning, we started crossing the Alps. Grossglockner Strasse is a pay-road; it costs 26 EUR to drive there with a passenger car. The scenery on the road is magnificent. We stopped several times just to take pictures and enjoy the view. At 3798 m, the Grossglockner is not only the highest mountain in Austria, but it also counts among the highest peaks in the Alps. The most beautiful view is from Edelweiss-Spitze, at an altitude of 2571 m, the highest point on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road with a majestic panoramic view of more than thirty 3000 m peaks.
At Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe at an altitude of 2369 m, there is a visitor’s center where you can buy souvenirs and have the famous Guljash soup for four euros. 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 food and pose for photos. Here the temperature is cooler than before in the mountains, but in June it was still +16, which is quite high compared to what we experienced in Norway.
When we had enough of the mountain views, goulash soup, and cute marmots, we continued towards Venice. The road was twisty and scenic, and we stopped again several times.
We crossed the Austrian-Italian border in the Dolomites (Dolomiti) mountains. After the mountains, we turned onto highway A27. In Italy, the autostradas (motorways) are pay roads. You can pay for driving on the autostrada with a credit card, but it is more convenient to have cash. You get a ticket, then you enter an Autostrada, pay, and then you leave it. The Autostrada is usually a very high-quality road, so the noise coming from tires 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. 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 through the tourist information 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 of poor quality. Also, you have to pay a service charge of 2–4 EUR.
We got a room for 72 euros in the 2-star hotel Da Tito in Mestre. The price included breakfast. The hotel was nice, and we could park our car safely in the backyard, which was important for us.
The Eurotrip continues in Venice