My holiday had a very early start as on Saturday, September 14 I had to wake up at 3 AM to get ready. After checking a number of times if I have everything in my suitcase dad drove me to the gas station that was indicated by a travel agency as a pick-up point. We were asked to be there around 4 AM but it wasn’t until 30 minutes later when the bus arrived and the pilot checked all the names on the list and let us in. But the bus turned out to be just a connection service meaning that people onboard were joining different trips. After a few hours we arrived at the parking in Woszczyce where buses from all over Poland gathered together and from where all trips were departing.
We were asked to wait until 11 AM, so everyone was a bit bored by then as there was really nothing you could do there. It was really just a parking lot and a cafe & restaurant. But finally came the time to split into groups according to everyone’s travelling destination. We could pick our luggage and go to the respective bus that would take the group on a trip around the Alps. I thought it would be more chaotic but it worked quite well. Once all names were checked on the list we were ready for departure. We headed southwest and spent half of the day riding through Czech Republic and Germany. After something like 14 hours we arrived at the hotel near Salzburg where we were spending the night after this long day. The journey would continue the next day.
Sunday was our first sightseeing day. After an early breakfast we checked out from the hotel and hit the road again. We were travelling to Innsbruck in Austria but we were still around 2-3 hours away until we’d get there. Eventually we did and after meeting with a local city guide we started our tour. It all started with going to a higher part of the city where Bergisel is located. Americans might not recognize this name but those in Europe should be familiar with it as Bergisel is a famous ski jump hill where every winter ski jumpers compete in FIS ski jump cup. Futuristic appearances of this arena were a vision of famous architect Zaha Hadid. As we were admiring a panoramic view of Innsbruck our guide told us about history and nowadays problems the city is facing due to its location.
Afterwards we took a short bus ride downhill to spend some time walking around the old town. We continued our walk and every corner revealed some historical building surrounded by other picturesque buildings in various styles and colors. The old town was quite pretty and charming. The streets were buzzing thanks to numerous restaurants and cafes that had their tables set on the street. We saw what is considered the most beautiful building in Innsbruck (with enormously high lease) and also a famed golden roof. In the past its tiles used to be made of real gold, today they are only galvanized with a thin layer of this yellow precious metal. Later we made it to the bridge that goes over Inn river and connects left bank and right bank part of the city. In german it’s called Innbrücke – apparently that’s where Innsbruck came from as the name of this city.
Few hours later we were leaving Austria, on a bus directed towards Italy. On the same day we also visited Bolzano. It’s a small Italian town, not that much touristic at all. Our main sightseeing venue there was a Walther Square and a gothic cathedral built in 15th century. Unfortunately something happened to my phone and all photos from the first day of sightseeing were completely deleted and I have no idea how did I do that. Unless phone acted on its own. Anyways Bolzano was a short stop for us and after viewing the cathedral inside and having a big of a free time our itinerary for that day was complete. Our next hotel was located not far from Bolzano so we ended up having a calm and lazy evening to relax after our first day of extensive walking.
On the next day (Monday) we had a big trip planned. Before noon we were visiting Trento, a capital city of the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige region. Our tour guide took us on a stroll through small streets surrounded on both sides with many buildings that had their facades covered with remains of frescos. Some of them were showing historical events, others were more of a mythological type. We’ve seen the old castle from the outside (unfortunately there was no time to see the museum inside). We went on to see Palazzo Pretorio and Duomo of Trento. We could admire the architecture inside of the cathedral. It looked really monumental and impressive and I’m sure it would’ve been even more jaw-dropping if it wasn’t for the scaffolding that was covering some of the walls due to ongoing renovations. After some free time to explore we continued our trip towards the lake.
Nearby Lago di Garda we stopped at the agrotourism place which apparently is quite famed for their vineyards and olive trees. So travel agency that organized our tour booked for us an olive oil and wine tasting session. We were offered 2 varieties of olive oil to try with Italian bread as well as 7 kinds of wine (white, rose, red). Surprising thing was that for each wine they offered us a different snack to try it with. I don’t know much about wine as I don’t really drink it that often but it seems that different wine is more suitable for different types of food. Apart from getting a little bit tipsy because of all the glasses of wine we were given to taste, we could also have a look at the actual vineyeard and those grapes growing in very neat rows. Anyone interested could as well purchase the olive oil or the wine they liked the most. After this highlight of the day was over the bus took us to the lake.
Upon our arrival the little ferry was already waiting for our group. So we all jumped onboard and anchors aweigh we departed on a cruise. Lago di Garda is quite elongated – its maximum length is 55 kms while it’s 4-12 kms wide depending on where you’d do the measuring. Our ride was taking us from Garda on the eastern side to Gardone on the western side. This cruise was very refreshing as it was quite a hot day and the air over the lake was much cooler. On the way from Garda to Gardone there were some magnificent views of expensive villas, luxurious hotels, green hills. In the meantime our bus driver had to drive all the way around the lake to pick us up. In Gardone we had some time for ourselves and as we were strolling along the lake we passed next to a very fragrant, blooming tree. Its scent was familiar to me and after a moment I realized that I just met an osmanthus tree. This was the first time in my life when I could smell it in reality, not in a perfume composition.
That pretty much sums up first and second day of our sightseeing with the Alps creating a beautiful background for the places we visited. There’s still more to come on the coming days.