Austria/Switzerland early June

Old May 15th, 2003, 12:47 PM
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Since you're staying only three nights in the Pontresina/Guarda area, you might consider to stay all the three nights in Guarda. Saves you packing/unpacking/check in/out. And it is only 60 km distance away. So it is easy to make a daytrip by car to the Pontresina area.

My suggestion for the daytrip: drive via Pontresina toward Bernina Pass, stop at Diavolezza, go up by cable car - gorgeous views of the peaks and glaciers! Drive back via Pontresina - ST. Moritz to Sils-Maria, park your car and walk (or take a horse-drawn carriage) into Fex Valley and back. Visit the small church with frescos, have a lunch or blueberry tart with cappuccino (Pension Crasta, right from the church).

The other day you should explore the Guarda region. Visit Ardez, Scuol with its mineral water fountains, castle Tarasp. And don't forget Guarda itself! See for more info.

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Old May 15th, 2003, 02:28 PM
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I am no expert on itineraries.
Some of mine are of the nit wit variety. I mix in visiting people with visiting attractions and often end up with an eclectic mix that defies logic.
Not to worry, we have not had a bad trip yet. All were fun, with only one bad sequence of events last year on our Melun - Paris trip.

I do endorse the time in Vienna. We have been there twice. I have been able to get opera tickets and we enjoy that aspect of the trip. After 9 nights in Vienna, I think 2 nights is not enough.
There is a lot to see and do. I don't think Vienna quite has the pizzaz of Paris, but it has an ordiliness about it that I like. We have had a good time there each visit.
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Old May 18th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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Everyone has been helpful with opinions. While staying longer in Vienna is tempting and I am sure worthwhile, my husband does not like big cities, traffic, culture nor the arts. Palaces and shows do not interest him, just beautiful scenery and people watching. Therefore, we won't be spending any more time there. But Ingo, I might consider spending another day in Pontresina area because of beauty of scenery in that area. Like the sound of both of your Pontresina suggestions. Am still checking availability in Pontresina itself with Guarda as backup for all nights (or definitely for one night on way to Reutte). Thank you.
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Old Jul 10th, 2003, 06:11 PM
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I just want to thank everyone for the terrific suggestions for our June trip, especially Ingo, Bob Brown and Bob the Navigator. Other than the weather being hotter than we expected (85 the first week and 78 the second), our travels were terrific.

The recommendation of the Pension Sallerhoff outside Salzburg in Grodig was great. We had a lovely room with balcony overlooking the gardens. The breakfast buffet was one of the best and varied of our trip. We took the bus into Salzburg, which worked well, except the driver did not tell us the right exit and we had to walk back 5 blocks to the Mirabell Gardens in heat and humidity, much to my husband's distress. We cooled ourselves with a drink along the river before continuing our sightseeing. A lovely city. Also enjoyed Schloss Helbrunn with trick fountains. Felt good on the hot day!

We stayed at the Hotel Pension Schernthaner in St. Gilgen. The friendly hostess gave us a large, cooler room. We took the ferry to St. Wolfgang and explored a bit and returned for dinner at WirtAmGries - good and relaxing just a block from our Pension. At morning breakfast, long time guests were honored for their 20th anniversary spent at the pension, and we all toasted with champagne.

Enjoyed our two nights in Hallstatt at Haus Lenz. My husband grumbled at the walk up the hill to the house, but enjoyed the magnificent view of mountains behind the lake. Nothing like sitting quietly watching the sunset and next night a lightning storm enfold in front of us. Also did the Salt Mines, Ice Cave with fascinating formations and mammoth cave (also nice, but not as unique as ice cave). Ambled also along the Gosausee outside Gosau. Great place for photos of mountains, lakes and wildflowers.

On way to Krems, stopped at Mauthausen - a striking reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust. The tributes of the various countries were an inspiring contrast to the ovens and tombstones. Melk Abbey's library and church were magnificent in their splendor, although personally I am closer to my God out in nature! Stopped in St. Michael at a Heuriger for wine samples and great appetizer plate. Stayed at Alte Post Hotel in Krems right on cobbled old pedestrian promenade. Large room but at front, so could hear all the noises from the promenade below. They have a beautiful courtyard for dinner and breakfast, although the breakfast was spartan compared to other locations.

Drove autobahn to make time to go to Heiligenblut via the Grossglockner road. We spent 30 Euros for 2 days access to the road, but it was worth it. The vistas were beautiful. We had a snowball fight! Since we reached the road in mid afternoon and before the prime tourist season, it was not crowded and we could pull over easily at will to see everything.

We stayed at recommended Landhaus Christoph in Heiligenblut, such a nice town nestled in the valley off the Grossglockner. The hostess Maria was supremely friendly and helpful with suggestions for our time spent there. I walked on the glacier at Franz Josef Hohe. (Our hostess made gentle fun of me trying to pronounce "Hohe" and "Heuriger" correctly!) We were also pointed to the Alter Pocher, an outdoor restaurant with unique outdoor kitchen and table over a stream. You can also pan for gold there. We arrived after it was closed, but walked along the rocks and creek. Ate at Gasthaus Sonnblick, a nice walk along the river from our landhaus. Had huge dessert of Kaiserschmarren (a cut up pancake with powdered sugar and soaked with run).

Took Ingo's route through Italy from Heiligenblut to Pontresina. Slow and winding but pretty drive through Dolomites to destination. Stayed at Hotel Bahnhof outside main part of city. Small, clean room with small balcony & bathroom across hall, but with very nice breakfast buffet with delicious breads, and in our price range in this beautiful but expensive hotel city. Took the funicular up to Muottas Muragl and walked Hogenweg, an absolutely easy 2 1/2 hour alpine stroll along the mountain tops, rushing streams and trickling waterfalls. The spring flowers were just finishing and summer flowers just arriving. Couldn't believe the variety of beautiful wildflowers that grow in those elevations. That was a 2 camera roll location.

Not able to hike the other recommendations given by Ingo, the Diavoleza or Furtschellas, as they did not open til end of June after our trip. We did take carriage ride into Val Roseg and I walked further into the beautiful valley. Also went to Sils-Maria and hiked briefly in Val Fex, also lovely. Didn't have as much time there as I'd have liked. Drove over Bernina Pass to Poschiavo, but had difficulty finding place to park there and with storm coming up, drove back to Pontresina.

Then on to 2 days in Guarda, which I'd describe as "the village that time forgot." The sgraffitid homes, cobblestone streets, outdoor water troughs and witches brooms beside the doorways made me feel I was back 400 years, when some of the houses were built. I watched a man cutting his grass in his beautiful garden with a sickle! Was surprised to find out about the great walking/hiking trails from the village. I felt more like the "hills were alive" here, as the hillsides were profusely covered with wild flowers with cows mit tinkling bells and small lake, complete with wooden raft. Could not get reservations at recommended Pension Val Tuoi so stayed at Hotel Meisser. Beautiful hotel with energetic and gracious hostess with elegant dining room and grand buffet breakfast with the best fruits and cheeses and fresh muesli, among much else. This was a lovely place filled with the more cosmopolitan crowd. While great service and accommodation, we are more comfortable in the B&B setting, as we watched an innkeeper down the street embracing their guests and making them a pie for lunch as a special treat. Just more our style.

We stayed at Pension Steigmuhle in Fussen, a nice accommodation (not on) but across from a lovely lake with balcony, and kitchen with frig and attractive breakfast room with fine breakfast. Visited Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau Castles at end of day, best time to be there to avoid all the crowds as recommended by our hostess.

Our trip came to an end too soon and we spent our last night in Hallbergmoos just outside the Munich airport at Hotel Zum Gutenberg, a clean small hotel also with good breakfast buffet. Ate outside at Restaurant Zum Kramer and had inexpensive, but large dinner.

Wish we had more time to explore. But vacation is always too short. The mountains, streams, fantastic wild flowers made this a 29 roll of film trip! Now I have to pay to get all those rolls developed! (I think a digital camera will be in my future.)
I'd share some of the pictures, but I only got prints rather than CDs, so you'll just have to go there and see for yourself!

Thanks again to all who made such great suggestions. Travel Talk is a valuable resource. Happy traveling!
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Old Jul 11th, 2003, 04:19 AM
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Barbara! What a nice trip report! I enjoyed the comments about places I've been and those I've yet to visit! Hope Ingo and the other Engadin fans see it. J.
Old Jul 11th, 2003, 04:42 AM
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Barbara, I am delighted your trip turned out well. I love this itinerary for natural splendor.
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