We drove south out of Munich towards the Alps. The area is a gently rolling farming
country with a wall of mountains on the south. It reminds me of the way that the
Rocky Mountains rise out of the Great Plains near Denver. Straight up! We run up
a valley and over the pass into a valley in Austria, we bypass Innsbruck and turn
toward Brenner Pass. There is a 4 lane divided highway going over Brenner Pass,
(above us, in the picture to the right) but a vignette (windshield sticker) is required
to travel on it. The vignette is an annual pass for 40 Euros, but we're only planning
on traveling on 35 kilometers of it this year, so we take the old highway. It takes
three times as long but is much more interesting. The Larch trees were turning a
yellow color that glowed brightly in the cold sunshine. We ate lunch in Brenner Pass
and then, because we are in Italy, got on the 4 lane highway and followed it down
through a valley in the Dolomites, marble mountains to the south of the Alps. This
was like a trip through Yosemite Valley, but it had bigger bare rock mountains and
went on many kilometers more.
The hillsides were decorated with castles, vineyards and small villages that went
by so fast. We will have to return and tour the Dolomites later.
What can more one say about Venice, it is all it is hyped up to be and it is as bad
as claimed. We arrived after a one day trip from Munich at a campground near Venice
called Camping Venezia. It is the nearest one to Venice itself and knows it. It
is expensive, twice the cost other campgrounds we have been in, and only so-so maintained. But
it is only one bus stop from Venice itself. The next morning we took the bus into
Venice. Venice is a group of islands, totally covered by buildings, about 5 kilometers
from the mainland. There is a causeway connecting Venice to the mainland that is
wide enough for 4 railroad tracks and a 4 lane divided highway. All of this ends
in a huge train station, huge bus turn around and huge 6 story parking garages, from
here you walk or take a boat. The amount of traffic into and out of Venice each
year has to be enormous to justify building this big dead end causeway.
The first day we walked and did the tourist stuff at Saint Marcos Square and walked
and walked. We walked narrow lanes crossed humpback bridges all over town.
It is as beautiful, romantic, old and quaint as the lovers say. It is also dirty,
smelly, graffiti'ed and crowded at the critics say. I would hate to be here in the
tourist season. It is October 31, the weather is sunny but cool, getting up to the
mid 50's F. during the day and dropping to freezing at night. On our last day (we
spent 4 days there) we bought a couple of day passes good on all the land based buses
and the water based buses. We used them to go to Murano, the island nearby where
the furnaces are for glass blowing. This is where all the "Venetian glass" is really
made. We watched some being made and toured the glass museum, bought some souvenirs
and went back to Venice.
We didn't take a gondola ride, too expensive, but we did get front seats in the large
boats that operate as buses on the Grand Canal for an evening trip the whole length. Watching
the sunset shine against the buildings and the moon rise above them was very beautiful. Now
we head to Spain
Below are some random pictures.
Two views of St. Mark's Square.
Full moon over the Grand Canal.
Gondola in narrow canal. (It's about $100 USD for a 50 minute "hour" ride, so we
didn't do it.)
We did not stay here, but it is near the airport. I hope that is the reason for