Tag Archives: germany

Lakes and Peaks-Euro Style!

At the end of the summer, I ventured off on my last road trip of the season, this time to visit the lakes and mountains of Italy that I hadn’t explored in the past and a revisit of the German Alps.  When I did my Italy country tour in 2014, I was too tired at the end  of the trip to properly visit the lakes region in northern Italy, so this was my first stop and I was not disappointed with the stories I heard of mountains spilling into beautiful lakes. 

Part 1- Italian Lakes and Mountains

Lake Orta

Lake Orta with the San Giulio island glowing at sunset.

 

San Giulio

A lone fisherman works in the early morning next to San Giulio Island.

 

Orta San Giulio

The town of Orta San Giulio with small alleys and a beautiful lakeside plaza.

 

The lakes region is comprised of several much larger lakes including Lake Maggiore and the famous Lake Como. While I visited these lakes, I didn’t get the same intimate feeling as I did at Lake Orta. I did however get to experience a very nice sunset at Lake Maggiore while camping for the night. This photo is un-retouched so you can imagine the intense colors. 

 

Maggiore

A glowing sunset on Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy

 

After a visit to Lake Como and Bellagio (beautiful town but too commercialized and crowded with tourists for my taste), I ventured on to the mountains of the Valle d’Aosta region and the Gran Paradiso National Park near Cogne, Italy. This is one of my favorite locations in Italy, right next to the French border behind Mont Blanc. It really is a great location for hiking and monumental views. 

 

Paradiso

A huge bolder sits beside a stream in Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy.

 

Sunrise

The morning light hits the mountains and glaciers in Gran Paradiso National Park, Cogne, Italy.

 

After a couple of days hiking in Gran Paradiso National Park, I still couldn’t leave Valle d’Aosta without a couple more stops. I went over to Gressoney, which was located in another small valley shooting off from the Aosta valley. 

Gressoney

A tranquil setting in Gressoney, Italy.

 

Gressoney

A castle near Gressoney, Italy appears to sprout out from the pine trees.

 

D'Aosta

A small village seems to be clinging to the mountainside in Valle D’Aosta, Italy.

Then it was time to head out and work my way to Hungary. I got this surprise in the morning after driving in to a camping area at night. 

Bleiburg

Steeples appear out of the trees near Bleiburg, Austria.

 

After spending 5 days in the lakes and mountains of Northern Italy, I raced off to Sopron Hungary for a weekend of running with some friends. Sopron was a very nice town and will be included in the future when I visit Hungary more extensively. Following this, I quickly stopped in Vienna and then off the Alps of Germany

 

Part 2-Bavarian Alps

Having lived in Munich for a couple of years when I was in college, I was familiar with Bavaria’s beautiful mountain region. I used to go skiing there and felt I needed to return to discover some sights I hadn’t seen before. The area has some striking mountain scenery and some famous locations as well.  First stop on my visit was to the town of Berchtesgaden. It was above this town that Hitler had a special mountain top home built as a gift from his staff. Being a fan of history, I wanted to visit this former home, now turned restaurant and visitor’s center. While it was beautiful, I constantly had the reminder of the evil that it contained. At least now it is being used for a more peaceful purpose in a beautiful setting. 

Berchtesgaden

Hitler’s mountaintop home called Eagle’s Nest near Berchtesgaden, Germany.

 

While it was interesting to see this famous house, I am always distracted by mountains and ended up doing a 1 hour hike above the home and discovered some beautiful mountain landscapes. 

 

Berchtesgaden

Some sharp mountain peaks above Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany.

 

Berchtesgaden

A storm appears to be brewing in the clouds above the mountains.

 

After this quick visit to Berchtesgaden, it was off to my next stop, Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, located near the town of Garmisch. It was here that I used to ski while in college in Munich so I was looking forward to some fond memories.

 

Garmisch

The endless mountain scenery above Garmisch, Germany.

 

Zugspitze

A panoramic view from the top of Zugspitze mountain.

 

For my final stop on this trip, I ended up meeting up with 25 other VW California owners for a weekend of camping and drinking champagne in the Champagne region of France. It was great to visit with these folks from several other countries, all with the same fondness for our VW’s and champagne!

 

VW

This photo (by another VW owner) shows our campground in the town of Valdieres, France.

 

Champagne

Champagne vines next to a plowed field appear surreal.

 

That wraps up this mini trip that I did in September. It was going to be longer but was cut short by one solid week of rain, which is not much fun when you are living in a van and running out of dry clothes. Overall, the trip ended up being almost 4,000 kms (2,485 miles) with lots of great scenery, delicious food and new friends. Now it’s time to work on 6 months of photos and start planning next year’s trips.

Happy Trails to all!

 

Trip

A Google Earth view of the route taken on this trip.

 

 

 

Posted in Alps, Germany, Italy, Mountains, VW Also tagged , , , |