The Alps :: Οι Άλπεις

It was warm and Sunny when I woke up in Italy this morning. So t-shirt and shorts it would be – even if I was about to go in to the Alps.

I had 2 choices of route today. The quickest route would be on the motorway – that would mean going South to get on the motorway and turn North again once past Milano (Milan).

Alternatively I could take the scenic route – It would be a slower route, not meeting the motorway until well in to Switzerland – but it would be more fun.

Just outside Corteno Golgi, Italy – shortly before the Swiss border (view to the South).

It took slightly more than an hour to get to the Swiss border. The Italian-Swiss border was the first land-border at which I had to show my passport. A Swiss customs official checked it and asked «Sprechen Sie Deutsch?» (Do you speak German?) – I replied «Ja, Ein Bisschen» (Yes, a bit) and he proceeded to ask me where I was going, was it just me in the car, was I in Switzerland for work or holiday, etc – before sending me on my way.

I was impressed by the Swiss roads – they are good! Quite twisty and windy as you go over the Alps but in comparison to some of the Greek roads, not bad at all.

The scenery was great. On the way to Greece I’d followed the Brenner route, one of the lowest Alpine routes; Now I was getting high in to the Alps. I was following the Bernina Pass road, one of the the highest routes through the Swiss Alps – it took me to an altitude of 2328m (7638ft) above sea level.

Snow still on the ground in June!

The road is an excellent road to drive on – People were driving it in their sports cars (including a very nice looking Porsche on Russian plates), there were quite a few cyclists, and loads of Bikers – usually all stopped in groups at the view points.

I was still in my t-shirt and shorts when I stopped to take photos in the snow, and while it was definitely fresh outside I never felt cold. The car was boiling anyway (I drove with the window open most of the way), and at lower levels the temperature in the high 20s, so I wouldn’t have wanted to wear warm clothes.

Today’s journey also included taking my car on the train between Sagliains and Klosters; Klosters is a ski resort apparently a favourite of the British Royal Family. At this point the local radio station (SRF 1) started playing music which didn’t sound too out of place in the Alps!

Taking my car on the train

Eventually, About 20 minutes from Vaduz, I reached the motorway – Vaduz, the main city in Liechtenstein had been somewhere I wanted to visit when I put this itinerary together. Vaduz doesn’t feel like a capital city; I parked at the Rheinpark football stadium – within walking distance from the centre but surrounded by farm land, with the Rhine river nearby; the Rhine forms the border between Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

5 minutes walk from the centre of Vaduz (Capital of Liechtenstein) – It doesn’t feel like a capital city at all!
Vaduz, Liechtenstein in the foreground – In the background, the Rhine forms the border with Switzerland

I had a 2 hour stop in Vaduz which gave me time to have a drink, wander around the City Centre, and up to the castle (the castle itself isn’t open to the public; it is the home of the Prince of Liechtenstein).

Leaving Vaduz, I drove back in to Switzerland to get back on the motorway and soon after crossed in to Austria – My 4th country in one day! My destination was Bregenz, the capital of the Austrian State of Vorarlberg located on the Southern shore of Bodensee (Lake Constance); I arrived not long after 7pm.

In the evening I wandered in to the centre of Bregenz where I found a Greek restaurant… Well, this is a Greek road trip after all, so why not!?!

I have felt very at home being back in the German speaking world today, able to understand the language, and in particular I enjoyed eating at the Greek restaurant where I was able to switch from one language to the other (and back again) with no difficulties at all.

I’m going to head off to bed now – Got a long drive tomorrow to Boppard, but should have time to stop off in Stuttgart along the way.

Gute Nacht,

FH.

Today’s Mileage: 187.5
Accumulative Mileage: 2984.4

Journey Map

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