September 30th, 2008 – by: nonna
Today was a first for me; I did something I canâ€™t recall ever doing on a trip before. I didnâ€™t take a photo for the entire day!!! That requires some explanation.
First we got off the train at 7 am in Venice Meastre station and took a cab to the Venice Marco Polo airport to get our prepaid rental car. Iâ€™d decided that driving was better than having to change trains to get to Bolzano and gave us more flexibility for the two nights weâ€™d be there. As it turned out, we probably should have stuck to the trains.
It was easy to get the rental car - once you found it in the large lot of rental cars and drove all the way around the perimeter to find the way out. There arenâ€™t any signs in the lot but good markings on the way to the Autostrada A4 once you managed to get out of the airport.
Unfortunately, there was a large traffic jam on A4 that turned a 2 Â½ hour drive to Bolzano into a 4 hour trip. Also there was a pervasive fog that hid the mountains most of the time. After we turned onto A22 at Verona, there was essentially no way to see the surroundings. Every now and then a huge massif would appear out of the fog on one side of the road or another and then disappear back into the fog. Nothing I could photograph even though the sight was impressive.
Autostrada 22 travels up a long valley into the heart of the Alps. Itâ€™s sprinkled with villages and castles perched on the looming crags and towns prospering along the river in the valley. Iâ€™d love to have been able to see more.
Bolzano itself is defined by two rivers and the surrounding mountains. We found our hotel, which had a garden and faced one of the mountains, admired the view and went off to find dinner. We were still wandering around in the fog but it didnâ€™t stop us from finding food.
This is a great town but not what Iâ€™d expected. Iâ€™d heard it had a strong Auistrian influence but had brushed up my Italian since we were in Italy. Everyone here speaks German!!!! This may be Italy but the inhabitants donâ€™t seem to believe it. Itâ€™s a great place to visit and has great shopping (Italian style) but plan on speaking German when you visit here.