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TRAVEL: The Italy Roadtrip

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As you most probably know from the last two posts, I have been on holiday with my family for four days. We did a little roadtrip to Lake Como, through South Tyrol and Switzerland. Following the widely known “Always take the scenic road”, we had a lovely (around) 12 hours drive, including a lovely breakfast and lunch stop in South Tyrol and several coffee and picture stops. It might sound long when seeing the number, but I can assure you that it did not feel like 12 hours, since you are always busy with watching the picturesque landscape. Especially the part of South Tyrol was so so amazing and I was so glad in the end that we did not take the much shorter highway. I mean for a roadtrip you just have to love driving a car, or at least sitting in one, otherwise even a 3 hours drive will be long for you. But for all of you that love driving, that is a trip you have to do once in your life. It is hard to beat when it comes to scenery, at least from my point of view. But let´s get on the road.

Roadtrip

Part 1: Villach – Cortina d´Ampezzo – Canazei 

As an addict of ski sports and regularly watching the world cup on tv in the winter, I always wanted to go to Cortina, because the picture I saw at tv just spoke to me and the landscape looked out of this world, therefore after a little convincing, my family agreed to taking the route over Cortina and I guess nobody did regret it. So we started the trip in Villach at around 5:30 am and drove Lienz, which takes around 50 minutes or so. After Lienz we passed the border and drove on until Toblach, were we turned left and took the SS51 until “Passo Falzarego”. If you follow the street, you will pass Cortina and you will also see the most beautiful landscape. I felt like landing on the moon. I´ve always loved the Dolomites due to their spectacular forms and figures, but now I have fallen even more in love with them and I definitely want to spend some time there to really get to know them all.

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When you drive over “Falzarego”, make sure to have a camera on hand, there are quite some shots that are nice to get, but moreover we saw two capricorns, which was pretty amazing. We followed the street until we passed the sign “Alta Badia”, which made me once again really happy as a ski worldcup fan and as an Austrian fan even more (;)). We went for a coffee and a traditional apple strudel in a little bar called “Glams”, the apple strudel was out of this world, so if you ever stop in Alta Badia you have to try it. Recently I also saw some pictures of the “Karnersee” on Instagram, and since it was more or less around the corner, we decided to go and see it. Little did we know that around 150 other people had the same idea, so I don´t know at what time of the day the pictures on Instagram were taken, or how long they edited all the people out of the picture, but we just passed the lake. Cars were standing in two rows at the side of the street. However, what we were able to see from the lake was amazing, crystal clear turquoise water. Maybe we just have to come back in Autumn. 

Part 2: Canazei – Meran – St. Moritz – Gravedona 

From Canazei we drove to Meran via Bozen. After a short part, we decided to drive on the highway up to Meran, which was not that spectacular. In Meran we took the “SS 38” towards Switzerland. The valley there is really really nice with a lot of vineyards and apple planatage, for whom the region is really popular. At the beginning of September the whole valley celebrates the harvest of those apples with a big party, which lasts more than 3 days. So if you are around at that time of the year, this might be something to watch out for. When we passed the village “Naturns”, we ate lunch at the restaurant “Kreuzwirt”, unfortunately they did not serve the famous “Schlutzkrapfen”, but the other food was pretty good too. At the end of the valley we took the “SS41” and moved one until we passed the boarder of Switzerland. Then we always drove towards St.Moritz, just following the signs. It is a beautiful drive through the Engadin, and you will pass some really nice turquoise lakes, sourounded by the mountains. Unfortunately we did not have the time to stop in St. Moritz, we just passed it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut we stopped at one of those lakes and went for a coffee. Don´t get a heartattack when you get the bill. After our little coffee stop we drove on over the Malojapass, which looked like driving in North America. The landscape looked so similar, it was unbelievable. Just as a little tip, if you have to refuel the car, do it in Switzerland rather than Italy, because although Switzerland is expensive, the gas is cheaper than in Italy, even if you transfer it into your own currency. Then we just moved as fast as we could towards Gravedona at Lake Como, where we rented an Air BnB for the next 4 days. All in all the journey took us about 9,5 hours, but trust me it did not fell like that at all. There was so much to see that you were constantly busy looking for some new details and places.

Part 3: Lake Como

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 We rented a lovely flat in the very north of Lake Como with the most spectacular view over the whole lake. The term “coffee with a view” got to a whole new level. Our host Silvia was really really lovely, polite and helpful and she left some snacks in the appartement when we arrived. So lovely! The only thing which was a little bit adventourous was the street up to the flat. I think there was never a real street planned, but rather build another piece when they needed it. It was really narrow and every time you hoped that nobody wanted to go in the other direction. But we survived it!

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If you visit Lake Como you will be amazed by the first second (at least if you are me). This place has so much elegance and beautifulness in every corner. I swear to you, you feel like being in a James Bond film. Speaking of James Bond, two scenes of the Casino Royale movie were actually filmed at Lake Como. Unfortunately both of them are more less private, so you can only have a quick look through the fences, but especially the villa of “Mr. White” looks so stunning. I mean I literally put the lense of my camera through the fence to get the shot, but it was totally worth it (got all the paparazzi feeling).

The other house (were James Bond recovers after all the hype and then the Swiss guy comes to finish all the financial stuff) we only saw from the distance, but it looked equally beautiful. Originally, we wanted to a little tour with the ferry, but on the day we planned it, it was raining heavenly, so we skipped that, but I can imagine that you can see all of those beautiful houses if you go by ferry for a time. We also spend half a day in Como, which is the biggest city around Lake Garde. Before going on holiday I read a lot of Travel Diaries and blog posts about Lake Como and the majority of them said it was very touristy and not really worth to see, but I have to admit that I really liked it. You will always find a German word on the menue when anywhere near a tourist area, but I guess that’s standard. I do not really mind. It is just the whole charme of Lake Como that made this such as a special place, regardless of some tourists. I also had the luck to visit Lake Garda a couple of times, but I have to say that I much prefer Lake Como. I will definitely come back.

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