Day 4 - Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland to Baveno, Italy
After one last gaze at that spectacular view from our room it was time to leave the picturesque Lauterbrunnen (read part 2 here) to outrun the rain. Before we got on the road, I enjoyed (ok inhaled!) the best bread I've ever had the pleasure of tasting! This homemade dark grain bread made this a most memorable breakfast! Besides the view, it's one of the first things I think about from our visit to the Lauterbrunnen Valley. For not being a foodie... I'm realizing I mention food often! 😉
Sticking with our plan of driving the back roads, we ventured toward Grindelwald to catch a smaller road to head toward Italy. Luckily this was a beautiful village to drive through, as we soon learned the small road we saw on the map was not for cars! I forgot to mention that in Switzerland it's illegal to have navigation on your phone (if it shows speed traps), as it's a reason they can confiscate it. We tried to rely mainly on old fashioned paper maps (which I happen to still like!) but we discovered we also needed "Tom Tom" a few times. So, feeling like a criminal... I hunched over hiding the cell phone we were using to navigate out of this valley (in case you're wondering we did make it out of Switzerland with no criminal record and still in possession of our cell phones!). After leaving Grindelwald our drive to Italy was breathtaking! Stefan and I enjoyed many stops to view waterfalls, high peaks, windy roads and glacial lakes. Again, as we crossed the border into Italy - no passport check for either of us!
After our alpine drive, we found a small inn on Lake Maggiore to stay for the night (are we supposed to be camping?!). Another room with quite the view! Even though we weren't staying on Lake Como I was still secretly hopeful I'd see George Clooney cruising by on his motorcycle (this is what us Americans know about the Lake Region of Italy! 😉 ). The Italian Lake District is beautiful area in northern Italy that's home to several large lakes. It's surrounded by mountains to the north and tourists flock to this area to enjoy the year round mild climate.
Even with the overcast weather it was a warm evening to enjoy a stroll along the lakeshore to take in the picturesque views. We enjoyed dinner on the waterfront and learned how to order a beer and say cheers in Italian - "big birra" and "cin cin" After a lovely evening we dodged rain drops on the run back to the inn!
Day 5 - Baveno, Italy to Caorle, Italy
We slept through an overnight thunderstorm and awoke to more rain in the forecast. Even though this is another area I would love to explore more, we decided to chase the sun and head farther south! Before hitting the road again we had breakfast on the inn's lakeside terrace (great ambience but IMHO the Swiss and Germans do breakfast better! 🙂 ).
As we drove away from the Italian Lake Region I happened to glance in the rear view mirror...the Alps looked huge and magnificent as we drove away from them. I didn't take a photo... but it was quite the site that I can still envision. Stefan and I spent the next few hours on the highway (breaking our traveling small roads rule!) driving east on the "Venice Route". Foregoing large cities, we passed by Milan and Venice without hesitation (ok... luckily I'd visited Venice before... because in reality - who can just pass by Venice without at least a stop!). Insert travel tip - it's expensive to drive on Italian highways, be prepared for expensive tolls here. Driving east, we stopped for another gas station lunch - which had become my favorite in Europe! Fresh bread, meats, cheeses and espresso for Stefan! During our highway drive we picked out a beach area north of Venice to stay for the evening. Getting off the highway we were driving to Jesolo... each road we took it kept saying 30km to Jesolo...after several different attempts we finally arrived in the village of Caorle. After some serious hunting we found a hotel room (ok right, we are supposed to be on a camping trip!). Insert very important travel tip - this is why I pre plan my clients' European itineraries in peak July travel season in Europe! 🙂
The resort area of Lido de Jesolo is along a 9 mile stretch of beach on the Adriatic Sea. This area is very touristy and built up... reminded me of some of the busy boardwalk areas along the ocean in the States. It was packed with families and couples enjoying their summer vacation! It was fun to people watch, but this wasn't an area where we wanted to stay long. On this trip we were aiming for smaller villages and areas to visit (even though in July in Europe this is difficult everyone on summer holiday!). Next up - Croatia or bust!
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!