Mountain Driving – The Alps :: Οδήγηση στα Βουνά: Οι Άλπεις

The view from my hotel room in Sterzing

I got up this morning and had breakfast with Alison and Dieter at their house in Sindelsdorf.

After breakfast we got out the road maps; the 1995 UK road atlas so I could point out to them all the points of interest – Cirencester, Fairford, and the route I take to get to London to visit the family. We also got the iPad out and looked through some photos of the extended family in New Zealand.

At about 11, my time in Sindelsdorf was over. It was only what the Germans call a ‘Blitzbesuch’ (the German way of saying ‘flying visit’ – I think it sounds bette in German than it does in English) – but I enjoyed my visit to Bavaria.

This weekend has only been by second time in Bavaria: The last time was when I did a long weekend in Munich in 2014. I keep saying I’ll go back to Munich, I liked it a lot, but I haven’t made it yet.

It was pouring with rain so no fast driving today. There wasn’t that much Autobahn left anyway – less than 20 miles, then the motorway ends at Garmisch-Partenkirchen and it was single-carriageway mountain road driving until I met the Austrian Autobahn just outside Innsbruck.

It took me about an hour and a half to get to Innsbruck, where I stopped at the Ambras Castle for a walk about the castle and gardens. View more photos.

It was lunch time to I also went in to the cafe and had bacon dumpling soup with some bread for lunch – very filling!

Crossing from Germany in to Austria, the border wasn’t noticable but it does have a very different feel compared to Germany; Perhaps its because the road signs and markings are different to the ones I’m used to in Germany!

From Innsbruck it was a short drive to the Italian border and tonight’s overnight stop of Sterzing (Vipiteno in Italian), located in the Alps in South Tyrol, one of Italy’s 2 Autonomous German speaking provinces. Geographically I’m in Italy, but culturally I’m still in Austria. The language border is further South.

The village is very popular in the Winter, when skiers come to stay. Higher up there is still snow on top of the Alps, but it was too cloudy today to see that.

My hotel for the night is the Hotel Brenner, next to a truck stop on the motoreay but also accessible from local roads. It’a short drive in to the village itself, which is where I went for my dinner.

I might be in an ‘Austrian’ part of Italy, but as far as I was concerned, Italy is Italy – so for dinner tonight I went for a pizza. I have to say the South Tyrol accent was qite noticable at first in the restaurant, but the accent was toned down a bit after I started speaking (clearly I didn’t come across as local but I must have sounded German enough for them not to switch to English).

It was still pouring with rain and while I did get a couple of photos in the village centre, I did also buy a couple of post cards showing how it should look, if the Sun were to be shining.

I drove back to the hotel and put the TV on for a bit – It was only a short drive in terms of distance today but on single carriageway mountain roads – and in the rain – quite tiring.

A fair bit of driving tomorrow to get to Venice – The Sat Nav estimates 3hrs 22min but I will probably stop on the way. Rain is forecast here again tomorrow but once I get clear of the Alps I should find the Sun comes out…That’s the theory anyway!

For those in to Dashcam videos – here’s a selection of clips showing my drive through the Alps, condensed in to 15 minutes…

Gute Nacht.


Today’s Mileage: 102.2
Accumulative Mileage: 968.6

Journey Map

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