Earlier this month we had some friends visit from the states and we decided to make a road trip out of it. Hubbo had to do some TDY (temporary duty) at the base in Vicenza during this time so we all packed into our VW Golf (our friends, who last visited us when we still had our VW Beetle, were very happy about the larger car) and drove from Heidelberg to Italy.
Ferry to Switzerland
Our first night we stayed on Lake Constance, which borders a beautiful lake that straddles the Swiss border. I can’t remember what we all did that night but the next day we took the ferry across the lake instead of driving around Lake Constance, cutting our trip by a couple of hours.
We sped through Switzerland (we didn’t want to have to change over some Euros to Francs just so we could pay for the toilet) making our way through the Swiss Alps until we arrived in Lake Como, Italy.
On Lake Como
We did not spot George Clooney, unfortunately. But at least it was much warmer than it was here in Germany. Oh, and I tried a Sprizz for the first time–a cocktail made out of Campari or Aperol, prosecco and seltzer. This drink was helpful considering we had to watch street performers do the moonwalk while we ate our lunch (Michael Jackson is even more popular dead than alive). It was painful.
After eating lunch in Como we hopped back in the car and drove the rest of the way to Vicenza via Milan. If you ever decide to do this road trip, bring LOTS of Euro as the Italian motorway in the Veneto region is more expensive in tolls than the Mass Pike.
Since work was part of the trip, Hubbo and I stayed on base while our friends stayed in town. After spending that entire first night woken up every five minutes by the false fire alarms (I kid you not) we moved to downtown Vicenza as well. This was better anyway since our hotel gave away cappuccinos like free water in the US. And there was a bidet in the bathroom which, sadly, always provides a surprising amount of amusement for me.
Now Vicenza is not the most exciting place…unless you like Palladio and his palazzos which is the equivalent of touring Germany and its cathedrals (i.e. boooring after two days of it). The town is nearly dead all of the time except for rush hour. The perk, though, was being a short train ride away from Venice. This was my second time visiting Venice, but the first time without rain, flooding, and freezing cold weather.
San Marco Square; Venice
While we were in Vicenza we checked out the Teatro Olimpico, one of three remaining Renaissance theatres still in existence in the world. And surprise, surprise, like everything else in Vicenza it was designed by Andrea Palladio in the late 1500’s.
Inside the Olympic Academy
Six months into its construction Palladio died so the theatre was completed by Vicenzo Scamozzi who designed the amazing trompe l’oeil
Trompe L'Oeil by Scamozzi
backstage scenery which still survives to this day. We were lucky to be able to tour the inside, and even sit in the theatre.
Inside the Teatro Olimpico
The rest of our stay in Vicenza was noneventful really. We had Chinese food (Italian style) with a friend who used to live in Germany and had amazing gnocchi at this hole-in-the-wall place around the corner from the hotel (try 40+ kinds of gnocchi on the menu).
We then made our way back to Germany, staying in Innsbruck, Austria for one night. Innsbruck, which hosted the Winter Olympics, is in the Tirol part of the Alps, straddling Italy, Germany and Austria. I would have taken pictures but between the autobahn, the mountains, and the curvy roads I nearly threw up.