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Döllach - Vent, through Italy to west Tirol via the Timmelsjoch


Home -> Europe -> Austria -> Travelogue Austria -> 10 July 2003

Thursday 10 July, Döllach - Vent, through Italy to west Tirol via the Timmelsjoch

It seems a bit less cold, tonight, but it rains a lot. Today we leave Eastern Tirol and go through Italy to Western Tirol, over the col Timmelsjoch, into the valley Ötsch.
Glacier river, ItalyThe roads are good, but we don't seem to make any progress. First, we leave very late (half past ten) since everything is soaking, including the tent. We try to get it as dry as possible and spread it out in the car.
And it is very busy on the roads, especially after entering Italy. We drive along the river Rienza with bluegreenish water, a sign that the water probably originates from a glacier.
Brunico, ItalyIn Brunico we drink some real Italian cappucino. More to collect some Italian Eurocoins than that we need the break. Since we have to pay exactly € 3, we ask if we can change some pocket money for Italian coins. We get a cup filled with small coins and we can choose for ourselves what we want.
Probably this part of Italy once belonged to Austria since everything is bilangual and all people seem to speak Italian as well as German.
Col St. Leonard, ItalyAfter a highway into the direction of the Brennerpas we turn off and enter the Alps again. Over the cols Jaufen and St. Leonard we head for the Timmelsjoch. More than 50 kilometers only going up and down along steep canyons, often on very narrow roads without guardrails. The views are overwhelming: villages are just small specks in the valleys between these giant mountains.
Timmelsjoch, Italian sideThese roads are probably nice to drive on a motor since we meet hundreds of motorcyclists. One takes a curve very sharply and almost drives into our car. We are glad he misses us by an inch.
Most curves are pretty sharp and one has to stay focused on the road. But, since we also want to enjoy the view, we often take a break. We keep being impressed by this magnificient landscape which we cannot describe. We feel quite small as a human compared to these giant natural phenomena that have evolved over millions of years.
The border between Italy and Austria is on the Timmelsjoch (2509 meters above sea level) and on the Austrian side the roads are much better, although often lacking a guardrail. We meet a camper driving very slowly down and we are glad we just have a small car. We wouldn't like to drive on these roads with such a large vehicle.
At the Kleonhotel, Vent, AustriaIn the Ötschtal ('tal' means valley) we turn left in the direction of the village Vent. In 1991 some mountaineers found Ötschi in this neighbourhood, a 5300 old mummified body of someone who tried to walk over these mountains.
We decide to look for a hotel here, since it is already late and we don't want to camp on such a height. It will be cold tonight although it is very nice when we sit outside the Kleonhotel in the sun at 6 o'clock. It has been a very warm day with temperatures up to 30 degrees, anyway.
Kleonhotel at Vent, AustriaThe hotel is not very expensive and quite luxurious (€ 44 for one night), but the service is poor. We have to wait for half an hour and search the whole hotel before we find anybody who wants to help us, for serving a drink and for checking in. So we decide we have a meal at another place.
The cows are off to their stable Sunset in the mountainsWhile the sun hides behind the mountains we take a stroll through the village which is quite nice. A farmer takes his cows to the stable while the sun colours the surrounding mountains. It is getting noticeable colder.
Church at VentVent is situated at a height of 1900 meters and is a very good ski area. Tomorrow we will take a chairlift to get us even higher, although the view from here is also very beautiful.

 


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