Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Up, Up and Away - Castelrotto
1. The nav knows all - leaving San Gimi at first light
2. Trailing a Maserati Quatroporte at 95, we get passed by a train! We are truly wimps.
3. Heading north, 1137 miles in.
4. Castelrotto - geraniums everywhere!
5. High Country
6. Andy and Julie - guess who's turning green?
7. Up top.
8. Great alpine meadows.
9. Wandering the village.
10. Eye Candy everywhere.
11. A nightcap in a cozy little haven.
To all good things must come an end. Its time to start heading back north. Our new plan is to get as close to Munich as possible without spending mega time in the cars. I hone in on a little alpine village called Kastelruth or Castelrotto depending on your language preference. Its high up in the Dolomites region of Italy. This is an area that used to belong to Austria but was granted to Italy following World War I as part of the spoils of war. The residents still speak German and most signs in the area are in both Italian and German. Its like having bratwurst with your pasta.
The drive north was uneventful with good weather all the way. Once we hit our turn-off from the Autostrada, the road climbed quickly up into the mountains. Lots of switchbacks and hold your breath moments on the blind turns of the narrow road. The occasional bus or truck coming down the mountain would cause a bit of heart stoppage when you met them unexpectedly on the turns.
The hotel we chose was the Lupo zum Wulf, a squeakly clean little place with about 14 rooms, geraniums hanging from the windows and a mural on the walls. It was smack in the middle of the village and had private parking. We took the last two spaces and the last two rooms. Down the road a few miles was a zeitbahn (cable car) that went up to one of the alps of the region. The hotel owner told us to grab the #3 bus which would transport us free to the lift and back. Negotiating with the driver was another story. I thought he couldn’t understand my limited German and wouldn’t let us on the bus until we realized that he didn’t want Andy or I to get on his bus with a beer in hand. Once we got that squared away, off we went. As you can see from the photos, the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful. We also discovered that Andy has a severe fear of heights. He spent the entire gondola ride staring at the floor!
Down in the village for the night, we went on a schnitzel hunt and not only found passable schnitzel but the absolute worst wine we had on the entire trip. As has become our custom, a brandy nightcap in one of the inviting little hotels in town was on order before we turned in. In the morning its off to Munich.