Winter Break 2013: 1 day, 4 countries

Just northeast of Venice, we passed numerous groves of trees that were perfectly planted in grids. We have no idea what the trees are or why they are planted this way.

Guten Tag! We are back in Germany, after a long day in which we were in four countries in seven hours.

We started off by leaving Venice around noon. Our destination was Munich.

We had two ways to go: Back the way we came or via a slightly longer eastern route that would take us through Slovenia.

Is there any question about what we did?

We chose the latter option, because why not visit Slovenia if given the opportunity? Okay sure, the girls and I had to ask several times what the name of the country was that we were headed for, but we are so glad we went.

The lovely Slovenian countryside, as captured from a car.

The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana, and it is absolutely charming.

Yes, that's a castle on a hill overlooking the city. On a totally unrelated and definitely shallow note, feel free to admire my new bright red Italian purse.

After that pit stop, we were on to Austria and then Germany after that.

Random tidbit: At the edge of Slovenia, nearly to Austria, we went  through a mountain tunnel that was 7,864 meters (7.8K) long. Halfway through, we passed a sign that welcomed us to Austria. Later on in the drive, we passed through a tunnel that was the highest one in all of the Alps — something like 1,900 meters, although I cannot now remember the altitude.

The start of the Alps in Slovenia -- partly obscured by clouds.

You know what made this drive possible and actually fun? GPS. The rental car has a built-in nav system and it is the bombdiggity. The GPS has totally saved our tourist butts numerous times, including helping us find an ATM (when a B&B wouldn’t take credit cards), grocery stores, the train station outside of Venice, and more.

We set off from Venice today with no map coverage of a large chunk of our journey, so there’s no way we would have felt confident enough to drive through Slovenia, but the car’s GPS got us to the old town in Ljubljana, and then to the front door of the flat in Munich with absolutely no problems whatsoever.

Pete and I are total map geeks and have long scoffed at over-dependence on GPS, but now we’re starting to come around on the concept.

We got to our flat in Munich around 8:30 and let me tell you, if New York is the city that never sleeps, Germany is the country that is often asleep. If you are looking for a grocery store or convenience store that’s open after 8 p.m. in this country, you are Scheiße out of luck. We had already had difficulty finding comestibles on a Sunday when we were in Füssen, so now we know that evening hours just don’t happen in this country. Pete was out until well after 10 p.m. trying to find something for us to eat.

So that’s the story of our long, long day of driving. Tomorrow, we’re leaving the car parked and doing lots of walking instead.

Today’s drive, marked in purple:

 

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13 Responses to Winter Break 2013: 1 day, 4 countries

  1. Andrea says:

    What an awesome vacation you all are having! Germany/Switzerland is on our list of places to go with the girls in the next few years. I need to do a little research on my family’s history (my dad was from Germany) before I go back.

  2. badness jones says:

    You guys are adorable! LOVE that pic of you and the girls! I am SO jealous of your European vacation, but thrilled you’re having such a great time.

  3. Cassi says:

    Europe is amazing –you can go to and through several countries in the time it takes me to drive to my parent’s house. Crazy –they are so lucky!

    I love that you are posting pics of the map. While I love GPS, I will also follow along our route on a real map –you can see a lot more than on the GPS screen. :-)

  4. Jane Zimmermann says:

    Willkommen zurück!!
    Can’t wait to see what you discover in München. It is a great walking town, so I am sure you have already put miles on your legs and feet by now. The churches are beautiful, and I think the BMW Museum is worth a visit, too.
    Gute Reise!

  5. Skywalker says:

    Been to Munich…it has a wonderful park that I remember playing in as a kid.

  6. Smalltown Me says:

    Ljubljana looks so quintessentially European. It’s great you took that route.

  7. Aunt Snow says:

    Slovenia looks fascinating. Why not explore as you have the opportunity? I am so jealous, I wish I were there too!

  8. ~zandra~ says:

    Absolutely wonderful! And Slovenia is where my favorite hockey player is from :)

  9. Kris says:

    Such a good choice – when in doubt, take the longer route. Dude, that even kind of rhymes as long as you pronounce route right!

  10. Ach! You’re DRIVING THROUGH SLOVENIA? I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT? MEIN GUTT BRAUNSCHWEIGER!

  11. bdaiss says:

    One of my favoritest thing of these posts? All the pictures of YOU. You go girl!

  12. So much to see while driving from place to place. I love it but I am afraid my husband would not…I’ll have to travel with someone like you all!!

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