Thursday, August 05, 2004

Frustrating but successful on Sunday

Sunday, the day we left was both frustrating and successful--frustrating because the heavy traffic and jams (Staus, in German) held us up in Germany but successful because we did cover 520 miles and get to Vicenza, Italy for the night. Most Europeans take extended vacations, and many of them take place in August. So, the Autobahns were just jammed with too many cars.

Near Augsburg, Germany, it came to almost a full halt on the roadway. We pulled off and had lunch but it was still stalled (for 10 km, the radio said) when we left, so we left the Autobahn and headed south on a two-lane national highway that quickly took us to Munich and around the south side of it, then on to the area of Bavaria where I lived for the past two years. We stopped for a last tankful of gas and an Austrian Autobahn sticker (toll) at the border in the town of Brannenburg, where I rode my bike many times. We then flew through the Inn Valley to Innsbruck in less than an hour and headed up into the Alps, stopping at the world's highest McDonald's with the most gorgeous view you could ever imagine--a panorama of the Alps. We proceeded on through the Brenner Pass (another toll) and then through the highest Alps and into Italy. It was already 6 PM by the time we got to Bolzano, so seeing the Ice Man was not possible. We pushed on to Vicenza and arrived there by 8 PM. After checking into the Viest Motel (my favorite), we had a wonderful, well-deserved supper at a small restaurant with superb food and service (Due Torri)--pasta (first plate), scallopini, vegetables, wine (for me), and fresh berries in wine for dessert. Mmmmm.

We also got the scoop on the new no smoking laws in restaurants in Italy, which totally amazes me. How can they be ahead of Germany? However, they are and they are taking it seriously. What a surprise and pleasure. If they want to have smoking, it must be in a totally separated room with lots of ventilation. Most are not willing to pay the price to provide that, so customers run outside between courses to smoke! It was a little amusing to watch them dart in and out of the place.


Post a Comment

<< Home