When We Have a Dream, We Must Chase After It--- Driving Around Europe: Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Germany Part 1 written by 9Mot (นายมด)

Did anyone of you guys like me? I'm a salary man who dreams to work and earns some extra money in order to travel abroad once a year.....It's not that big of a dream but I do believe that many people share the same dream with me. For me, I have dream and made it come true for a while. But when tim

When We Have a Dream, We Must Chase After It--- Driving Around Europe: Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Germany Pa

When We Have a Dream, We Must Chase After It--- Driving Around Europe: Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Germany Part 1


Did anyone of you guys like me? I'm a salary man who dreams to work and earns some extra money in order to travel abroad once a year.....It's not that big of a dream but I do believe that many people share the same dream with me. For me, I have dream and made it come true for a while. But when time passes, "my dream is born again", so I have the mission to chase after this dream again....This is how my story goes....


The Beginning of the Dream (the New One)

For the last 4 years since 2011, I have saved some of my income for traveling abroad, at least once a year in order to gain new experiences and have good memories while the body and mind are strong...Europe is my chosen destination for the last 4 years, especially the cities situated among nature as I wanted to expose to different terrain and environment. More importantly, they offer so many breathtaking views for the photography madness like me to enjoy. For each of my trip, I would rent a car and drive around with a group of friends. We change the destination every year but still keeping it within Europe only.

Upon returning from each trip, in addition to writing reviews at pantip blog and uploading photos to my Facebook page, I also take these photo and show them on the TV screen to my parents. I think they are quite happy to see different environment that I have seen....Until, my last trip in 2013, I started to think would it be better if I took my parents to travel together just like the way we used to go travel to other provinces when I was young? The different is this time I will take my parents to travel so that they can actually feel the real atmosphere and get to see these beautiful views with their own eyes like me. I talked with my brother and he also agreed that we should take our parents and my brother's family with a 5 years old niece and my uncle to travel in Europe by driving together. And we will share the expenses. Since then, my saving mission for the dream trip has begun. I save my extra earning in addition to my income into different account and the rest I still invest as usual. Luckily, at the end of 2014, I got quite a lot of extra income that made my step for this dream is successfully processing. Now, it's time to choose our destinations.


Destinations in our Dream

For this 12 full days trip, I choose to have my parents mainly experience the beauty of Austria and sit in the car to enjoy the beauty of Dolomites mountains on the northern Italy. Also, we visit Slovenia and Germany a bit, just mainly to the small towns that require the least walking or we can simply see if from the car.....Certainly, we also stop at the main cities of Austria but just a bit heavy on the outskirts.....And this is our lists for this trip.


Hallstatt

Hallstatt is the city that made me want to visit Austria 4 years ago so I also wanted my parents to feel the loveliness of this city. It is located near the lake and embraced by the mountains. For this time of visiting to Hallstatt, flowers are almost all gone since the spring has passed and now it's summer. However, the flowers decorated at each house is so beautiful and the viewpoint is still charming even on the day that the sky is not so open.

Hallstatt is still beautiful despite the gloomy day.

This is the 8 members of this trip. It is one of a few photos that includes everyone since mostly I am the photographer so I wasn't in. This photo is taken by a kind Chinese tourist...Very rarely, I will post my own photo here, haha. But from now on, I will focus more on the scenery photos.

Bled

Bled is the only city that I have visited in Slovenia and this is also my first time in this country. I have to admit that I fall in love with it right away. In addition to this breathtaking view, the cost of living also seems lower than neighboring countries.

Bled makes me look at Slovenia again just like the same way Hallstatt has interested me about Austria.

Dolomites

For Thai tourists, I think most people are yet familiar with Dolomites which is the group of mountains at the northern Italy. However, I believe that if anyone has a chance to visit this limestone cliff, you all will fall in love with it. I spend 4 days 3 nights here, but still I feel that I spend too less time with Dolomites.

Lake Misurina at Dolomites is so charming that it put me under spells.

The grassland on the top of Alpe Di Siusi and Dolomites

Innsbruck

I believe that many people are quite familiar with this old town near the Inn River. This trip, I only stop at Innsbruck downtown for a short time and spend most of the time with the activities near our hotel, which is located in the central valley of Neustift im Stubaital, a 25 km away from Innsbruck....I accidentally come to know about this town but it turns out to be one of the highlights of our trip.... Moreover, I also drive across the boarder to the small town called Mittenwald of Germany too. Seeing this small town reminds me so much of Pai.

Innsbruck, a classical beautiful city of Austria

Stubaital is a magnificent nature near the Innsbruck.

Mittendwald is a cute city of Bavaria.

Konigsee & Ramsau

If I say Berchtesgaden of Germany, perhaps, many people do not know but if you were to see these photos, the iconic spot of this place, I'm sure many people would cry out as 'Oh, it's this place'. So I choose to take my parents cruising and enjoy this onion Church near Konigsee Lake and have our lunch at the clear river of Ramsau.

The iconic spot of Berchtesgaden city that many people are familiar with.

Salzburg

This is another must visit place of Austria since it's where the film 'The Sound of Music' has been shooting. This is considered a famous movie of my parents time, so we must visit here.

The memorable town of 'The sound of music'

Vienna

We end our trip here at Vienna, the capital city of Austria. This city fills the air with a variety of classical art forms. It is also the city that I most worry about my parents transportation but in fact, it's me who got lost in Vienna.

Camera and Equipment

Every times when I write reviews, my friends usually ask me about camera and photography equipment, so this trip I must talk about it....hehe...This trip I brought camera and 3 lens and it's the first time that I use everything of Nikon (now I become the full member of Nikon). It is the Nikon D750 and Lens 20 f1.8, 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f4 accordingly.....Overall, it cover of types of the photos that I needed and when includes the tripod, the weight is still tolerable for a man like me, haha.

Before the review, please also see my other channel of works.

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To Chase After our Dream Program

For those who want to know about our itinerary, please see as below. The actual trip is subject to changes due to the weather.

Fri 19 Jun: BKK (03:30) – VIE (09:40), take the rental car from the airport and drive to Hallstatt and stay there

Sat 20 Jun: Travel at Hallstatt in the morning and set off for Bled at Slovenia in the afternoon

Sun 21 Jun: Travel at the lake and the castle at Bled, and in the afternoon go to Cortina d'Ampezzo in the South Tyrol of Italy, stop by at Lake Misurina and stay at Cortina

Mon 22 Jun: Set out from Cortina to Selva di Val Gardena and pass several Passes like Pass Pordoi

Tue 23 Jun: Go up to enjoy the Aple Di Siusi and come back to stay at Selva di Val Gardena

Wed 24 Jun: Travel from Selva di Val Gardena to Innsbruck and stay at Stubai

Thu 25 Jun: In the morning, travel and join the activities in Stubai and drive to Germany in the afternoon to visit the Mittenwald town

Fri 26 Jun: Set out to stay at Zell am see and stop by for shopping at Swarovski world and Grossglockner

Sat 27 Jun: Enjoy Konigsee and Ramasu at Berchtesgaden of Gemrany and go to stay at Sazlburg

Sun 28 Jun: Enjoy Salzburg

Mon 29 Jun: Travel from Salzburg to Vienna, return the car at Vienna airport and tour Vienna in the evening

Tue 30 Jun: Vienna day trip (Schönbrunn Palace) , VIE– BKK


Shaping our Dream

Like I said earlier I have been to Europe for the last 4 consecutive years now. But this trip is not as easy as before because I have mostly traveled with friends, but this trip we have a 5 year old and a 72 year old. So we have to plan our trip much more careful....Let's see how we get prepared.

We start by booking a direct flight from Bangkok to Vienna of Austria with EVA air (the details is in the following part)....Since my dad cannot walk much and get tired easily as well as going up and down the stairs is not so convenient, I decided to bring a wheel chair for my dad during the trip. We start to look for the light wheel chair and got the Soma wheel chair which weights about 10 kg and fold-able....We take quite sometimes to study of how to take the wheel chair on board. Since I started to fly from Phuket, so it's a bit complicated since we need to load and off load during the transit at Svarnabhumi Airport. We can inform the staff at the check in that we want to use our own wheel chair once we arrive at the aircraft and the staff will load it and have it ready once we get off from the aircraft again both at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Vienna Airport. For the wheel chair pusher, it can be anyone, either you or the staff, it's totally up to you.

P.S.

We need to get the baggage tag for the wheel chair at the counter check in too. This trip, I truly feel that the passengers sitting on wheel chair get a special care from the staff during the whole trip.


The Airline

This is my second time using the EVA Air, the Taiwanese airline....My last time was when I flu to Amsterdam in 2013...At that time, due to I had to book the tickets for many friends, so I switched the position of the first and last name when filling up the name. Then I called to the call center and tried to beg to change but at last we had to pay in order to change the name. For the fee, I forgot already (I didn't want to remember, but it's thousands THB per person)....This year, I'm quite nervous. Before clicking confirm, I check again and again to make sure we have the name correctly according to passport.....But, it seems like someone wants to test me, my father's last name (or let's say it's my last name) on the new passport is different than the one in the old passport. The old passport spelled "Kaew" but the new one spells as "Keaw" and mine spells as "Kaeo". Since when I booked the ticket, we still used the old passport. Again, I called to the call center and tried to speak in the tone that might be able to ask for mercy to edit it, but I got the same answer of "No" again....This time, I remember it correctly that I have to pay the fee of 1,000 THB for changing the name, haha. In fact, this is not the airline's fault but if I have to fly with EVA Air again, I might get nervous easily.

For the timing, we depart Bangkok at 3 a.m. which is a bit tortured for the body but the return flight is very good, we leave there at 7 p.m. so we get to travel Vienna almost the whole day....Another reason I fly with EVA Air is because it is a direct flight so that our youngest and oldest won't get too tired.

For the on flight services, I think it's quite ok too. The seats are a bit narrow. But we have about 2-3 Thai cabin crews on board and that help ease the communication for those who are not fluent in English a lot.


Rental Car

The rental car in Europe is a big challenge for me. I would have co-trip friends of about 6-8 people each trip, so I need to use the minivan that can sit 7-9 passengers and it has to be automatic gear to reduce the problem of accustoming to road and driving with the steering wheel on the left... This I also didn't understand why people here don't like to drive automatic car, especially for the 7-9 people minivan. It has less choices and high prices... This year I compare the price between the agents and the owners via the webpages for quite sometimes before I decided to contact the Buchbinde Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/buchbinder.autovermietung) which is the local company there. Although it offers the similar price with other websites but when include all the insurance (Zero exceed including the damage of the wheel and mirror), I think it's quite ok when divided by 7+1 in our group. So that we won't have to worry about falling into the insurance trick which is quite famous for the rental car in Europe (I also experienced myself in 2012, haha).

I rented the Mercedes Vito with 9 seats or so. I'm ok with it as I used to drive and like its ability and space for storage. But we got the Volkswagen Caravelle for 9 seats when we actually received the car in which I'm also impressed. It provides even more space so we don't have to worry about the place to store wheel chair.


GPS

Driving in Europe with GPS is very important as it helps reduce the lost rate a lot (we still get lost but just less, hehe)....This trip I buy the GPS service from the rental car company for 5 Euro a day. I also borrow GPS garmin of my friend and load the Austria map and includes Slovenia, Italy, Germany of where I will be going to too (for the back up). In addition, I also have another back up of Google Maps on my mobile phone in which I have downloaded the offline map of where we will travel to.

It may sounds a bit too paranoid of having this plan. I choose to mainly use the GPS service from the rental car as it has the convenient used functions, such as the speed camera locations (this really helps as sometimes we enjoy driving too much that we forget about speed limit and my friends' GPS is a basic one that yet have this function). And that I also prepared my own map because I had the experience that the GPS from the rental car hasn't been updated for many years so it wasted a lot of my time when finding the hotels.

And I want to say that I was right. I have used all I've prepared. So if you have to drive, you need to make sure that your GPS is reliable.....For the reasons that I have to use all 3, please follow in my following reviews.


Internet

This is another great challenge when driving to several countries because when we use roaming service from Thailand, we need to change the network every time when we cross the country and we also can't be sure that if the network is a mistaken one at the boarder and we might have to pay a lot? (it would be best to set up the network as manual). As for a pocket WiFi, we seem to have less choice and it's not so stable from what I read in the review....So, I decided to buy here as when I checked the price, it is cheaper than roaming a lot. We can choose to buy it at Austria only and use the hotel or restaurants's WiFi for other countries.

The day we arrived, there's mobile booths at the airport. But it offers only the 3 GB package and the price is higher than what I have searched. So I left it and decided to buy it from super market. Then, I realized that I've made the terrible mistakes because most of the shop doesn't sell sim card with internet package. They only sell the credit for certain services like Facebook, amazon or iTunes. I have stopped at more than 10 shops in small cities and the closest I found was they offer the package I wanted but without nano sim card for iPhone or my HTC one M8... OMG, someone help me please.... and tell me if no one use iPhone in this country....Or have I misunderstood something?...I got this conclusion that if you want a sim card, you can only get it from big cities like Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg. Small cities won't have it available.

At last, I mainly use the free internet from the restaurants and hotels but the information that I have prepared on dropbox or save as favorite in my mobile phone, I almost didn't use any of them ☹


Accommodation

For the accommodation in this trip, I booked via book.com and Airbnb, except the place at Hallstatt that I booked directly with the owner as this is my third time visit.. I tried to find the accommodation that provides the kitchen so we can cook ourselves. I also try to manage the expenses to not go over 2,000 THB/person/day like every year. But this year I found a great price place of average 1,100 THB/person/day only....I almost didn't take any photos of accommodation as I'm too tired from driving and planning for travel, but I will put some details when I write about review for each attraction later.


Food

Like we know, the food at European restaurants is relatively expense. Each meal is approximately 10 Euro per person for regular meal. I can't have my parents eating burger in a price of 3-4 Euro everyday. This trip, then, is like my other trip when I save (massive) money by cooking at home for some meal (I expect to have 1/3 of meal cooked at home). I took a small rice cooker, dried food, canned food, and ready to eat food in packs as well as 5 kg rice (I came to know later that we can easily find rice in super market and the inexpensive rice is the Vietnamese rice which has the similar price to ours but the Thai jasmine rice would be more expensive). For this, we try to find the apartment as our accommodation so that we will have kitchen (for the rental room that includes living room and kitchen, they called it apartment). This has saved cost in a great deal. When dining out, it would cost 350 THB/meal, but it cost only 50 THB when cooking at home. For 8 people, we have saved about 2,400 THB per meal and for the whole trip, you can think that how much we have saved?


Overall Budget

The average expenses for 8 people (including 1 child) is 65,xxx THB for 12 full days trip (if we count like the tour company by including the travel days, it would be 14 days, haha). This price also includes the Thai Airways round trip airfare from Phuket-Bangkok. For how good the life is or how difficult lives we experiences, please stay in tuned to my review. I think this cost is quite lower than what we have expected (the food expenses is much less than expected)....Seeing this budget, I believe many people start to have hope that if we plan well about traveling in Europe, we can g there without 1xx,xxx THB budget for the 10 days travel.

In summary, the expenses per person is as below (per person for 8 people with the exchange rate of 37 THB to 1 Euro)

  • Airfare: 31,200
  • Visa: 3,750
  • Travel Insurance: 540
  • Rental Car: 7,100
  • Accommodation: 10,500
  • Food: 5,000
  • Petrol: 1,800
  • Others: 1,000
  • Tolls and Parking: 200
  • Tours and other related fees: 4,000

I hope this information is useful for friends who are planning for the trip....Ok, now it's time to start the journey.

Start the Journey to Chase After our Dream

It is about 12 hours flight by EVA Air to Vienna. The flight is smooth. We arrive here at 9.40 a.m. of the new morning that is quite cold (thinking to myself, oh no, I told my tour that they didn't need to prepare much jacket as now it's going into summer, the weather is just right ^^)....

Walking out of the arriving hall, we see the booths selling sim card and internet package. I see that they have 3 GB internet but it might not be enough for many people as well as CCTV usage, so I didn't buy (such a terrible mistake).

At Vienna airport, the wheel chair is accessible everywhere, both at lift and pathway.

For receiving the rental car at Vienna airport, we might have to walk a bit far since counter of each company is located inside the building but it's not too difficult to find....I contact and receive the car key and GPS from Buchbinder as I have booked earlier. The staff tells us the block number of the car as well as gives us the ticket to leave the parking.

We help carry the luggage to the car. It's quite difficult as everyone has one personal medium size luggage plus we have one more together luggage. I volunteer to push wheel chair for my dad and it frightened me so much when I push him into the track and he fell. Fortunately that he was alright. This made me realize that I have to be much more careful about it.

This trip we've got the 9 seats car as booked but the car has changed to Volkswagen Caravelle of 3 rows seat (3+3+3). The back big space for storage is enough for 8 people's luggage and a wheel chair.....I take the photos of the car thoroughly even we have full insurance just to prevent any problem that might happen later... Then, I get familiar with the car and set our first GPS destination to Hallstatt, which is about 3 hours away.

The Volkswagen Caravelle is a minivan. It is quite easy to drive, probably also because this is my 5th consecutive years driving in Europe so I didn't have problem driving with the left steering wheel (may be next time, I should really try the manual gear).

This is the car for our trip.

The route to Hallstatt is cloudy and the temperature is lower than I expected (less than 20 degree). Along the way, I stop at super market and IT shops at several small towns in order to buy a sim internet that I've searched earlier. But from more than 10 shops, I can't find it. So if you guys find this sim internet at the airport, I recommend you to buy it, do not wait to buy along the way unless if you travel to the big cities like Vienna, Innsbruck, or Salzburg.

In addition to stop by to buy the sim card, I also take some landscape view along the way. Too bad that the golden glass is almost all gone at the end of June. It may have some different glass growing, but it's not so dense and beautiful as the yellow flower field that we can see during May.

I drive using the tollway as the company provides the tollway sticker too and this helps save a lot of time (without this sticker, you will get a huge fine if police finds out)....Before reaching Hallstatt, we start to see more landscape of mountains and we need to drive uphill a bit in order to go to the town in the valley (some route may use tunnels)....

Stop by to take this beautiful landscape along the way to Hallstatt from time to time

The route is beautiful and I drive enjoyably.

We stop to do some fresh food shopping for cooking dinner at Obertraun village before reaching Hallstatt. I also take this opportunity to capture this lovely atmosphere of houses around here....What we will see instead of flower field if we come in late June is.....roses. This time, they are all fully blossom, so beautiful and refreshing.


I continue driving a bit and reach the Haus Lidy, my usual accommodation when I visit Hallstatt...The advantage of this place is that it's not far from downtown and the lake so that we can park here and walk there. The houses around are also decorated in a very lovely fashion that I'm very attracted and this is my third timer...The small downside is that, it has no amenities in the bathroom and the room for 5 people is a bit narrow. But overall, I still like it, especially when talking to auntie Lidy who takes care for our breakfast and gives us a great deal of local flavor.

The Haus Lidy, my usual accommodation

The view from the vents in our bedroom

For the first evening, I have to suddenly give up the plan to walk around the lake since it's raining and the weather becomes so cold that we can get sick. Only me that walk to take some photos a bit, but I also have to give up soon.

For the evening walk, I have captured some moments.

The next morning I wake up early to enjoy the fresh air at the balcony. I'm very lucky to see the forest deer walking at the grass near our house. Too sad that I didn't get to catch this moment in time.

After the warm breakfast, we walk to downtown and the lake. I feel especially so full in heart and happy to see my parents and my family get to experience the fresh environment in this small town.

These photos are what I wanted my parents to see with their own eyes.... At this minute, I'm so touched that I don't know what to say.

We enjoy the Hallstatt and walk to its public scenic spot (now we have to push wheel chair uphill and need to use much strength), and this is also the place where we first have our complete group photo.

After spending sometimes at this viewpoint, I let everyone else walk back the same way but I go up a bit to this church for some more high angle photos.


The rain starts to fall when we walk back to the parking....so we wave goodbye to Hallstatt and go to our next destination, which is Bled city in Slovenia. Along the way, I set the GPS to take a quick stop at Wörthersee, a lake in Velden city first....It is quite difficult to find a free parking in this city so we have only few photos. My niece seems to enjoy teals a lot while everyone else gets excited with the emerald green water which is so clear that you can clearly see the big fish below.

The atmosphere here is such a perfect place for summer houses.

My tour team members, especially my little niece seems to get excited about this clear lake that we can see fish below a lot as well as these little ducks which is like the children fairy tales.

We spend about half an hour here and move onto Slovenia.

The Route to Slovenia

It seems like the GPS attached to this rental car didn't have the updated road in Slovenia so it takes me to very deep forest place that I think it might have been the wrong direction. (sometimes, the GPS will select the secondary route if if's found that it's closer so I wasn't thinking anything at first)....Finally, I have to use the GPS that I brought from Thailand to lead the way and find that our destination is on the opposite site to this mountain. I think I'm very fortunate to have this secondary plan.


Tonight we stay at the apartment (the whole second floor is for rent). It has 3 bedrooms, a big living room and a kitchen. It is located at the countryside and about 10 km further away from the tourist attraction like the Bled lake. More importantly, it's very cheap.

The View from Our Room

We have hot rice and several dishes as our dinner as well as red wine to make us warmer... Since now the sun is set about 9 p.m. so I ask to take some photos near the lake and also to survey the place beforehand... It takes about 15 minutes drive to this lake where I have searched earlier....The light in this evening is just so beautiful that I can't resist not to take some photos.

The Evening Atmosphere of the Lake

The next morning after breakfast, we all head to the Bled castle near the lake. Coming here early is good since the tourists are yet crowded. It's too bad that the road to the castle is an uphill one and quite rough that we can't push a wheel chair upward. So my dad decided to wait at the entrance and my mom volunteered to be his company as she's afraid that if anything happens, the whole trip wouldn't be fun....I feel so sorry that my parents won't get to see this beautiful view at the castle but when thinking about their safety, I agree with their decision.

The Bled castle is not so big. Inside, it exhibits the history and important antiquities. But what make this castle a must visit attraction is the view from the castle which is so breathtakingly beautiful. We can vividly see the lake with Alpe mountain as a backdrop as well as small islands with the church as the usual view from up here.

We spend quite some time walking around and taking photos before moving to the lake where I have surveyed earlier. I see local people do some summer activities here, looking very fun. We sip the coffee near the lake, such a wonderful time... Too bad that photography at this area is best in the afternoon as the morning shots would all be black-lit. So I didn't quite get shots that I satisfy.


Today we have to travel across the country again to head back into Austria and then drive along the border in order to go to the South Tyrol in northern Italy. Getting out of Slovenia, we spend much less time than the way in as we now take the expressway of several km. long tunnels and need not to go to the circular mountains.

Along the way from Slovenia to Austria to Italy, I have driven passes so many mountains. I think it's not any less than the road from Chiang Mai to Mae Hongson. Anyhow, we get to see this beautiful landscapes of grazing cattle on the green mountains in welcoming summer.....


When approaching the Italian border, we begin to see the splendid white and grey limestone peaks towering and this is another dream destination for this trip..... “Dolomites"


“Dolomites" is the mountains in the northern Italy where I have previously experienced already (2014) but have yet gotten around last time. This trip, apart from taking my parents to this land, I also get to see where I have missed.

Tonight we stay at the hotel standing alone at the foothill called Rifugio Ospitale. It is located on the way between Lake Misurina and Cortina D'Ampezzo town, a famous travel destination around here...Actually, I wanted to stay close to Lake Misurina in order to capture the morning and evening light conveniently, but the hotels in that area has the requirement of several nights stay as minimum stay, so one night stay customer like me has to stay at the 13 km. away hotel instead.

Before going to the hotel, I take everyone to get a glimpse of Lake Misurina. This time, we can say that the summer is fully here since no snow is around the lake like my last visit in last May.


From Lake Misurina, I drive to the hotel choosing the way that will go pass Cortina D'Ampezzo town in order to take photo at this public viewpoint.

Just a few minutes drive from Lake Misurina and haven't even reached the public viewpoint, I have to stop for photography again.

The Beatiful Downhill Road

The Public Corner of Cortina

From Cortina, we drive uphill about 10 km. to reach our hotel. This accommodation is the most expensive of our trip but I also have to admit that the in-room atmosphere and the location is really beautiful.

Our Accommodation Located in the Middle of the Valley

After contacted the room and stored our luggage, we drive down to find dinner at Cortina....Since it's late Sunday evening (although yet dark), most of restaurants close already. Luckily that we find one restaurant but it's the hotel's restaurant that the price is quite high.

After dinner, I take everyone back to the hotel and I go back to capture the beautiful light at Lake Misurina again.

The same corner but the evening light is just so breathtaking.

The weather at the lake is very cold but it's so worthy for this magnificent last light of the day.


A bit uphill drive, you will see another must not miss lake.


I try to manage time in the fastest manner for taking photos at Lake Misurina and Lake Antorno that is located not so far away because I'm afraid that my family might be worried about me. I also cancel the stars shooting plan as the sky is not completely dark even at 9 p.m.

The next morning, our breakfast is elegant, according to Michelin's standard (this hotel is in Michelin list but too bad that it serves dinner too late at 7 p.m. and the previous night we all went for dinner in town)...The raw materials are high quality and offer a great variety of choices.

Today, we drive from Cortina and pass the Pass which is a curvy and circular road in order to stay in another town near Dolomites but is closer to Aple di Siusi, another highlight of this trip...

Due to the not so far distance but very steep and curvy road, so I stop for photography from time to time so that both the driver and the passengers to get some rest.

The High Angle View of Cortina

Along the way, we enjoy a lot of mountain scenery.

We stop for lunch at the restaurant on Pass Pordoi, another very beautiful spot and also close to the limestone cliff. Unfortunately, the weather is not so on our sides for photography.


From Pass Pordoi, we still need to drive uphills and downhills and pass another pass of Pass Gardena before we arrive our accommodation named Calfosch.

The Road from Pass Pordoi to Our Hotel

Herd of Cattle Enjoying the Grass on Mountains

tonight accommodation, the GPS attached to the car can't find it, so I have to use the Google Maps from my mobile phone to help us reach this destination. We stay at Garni Settsass. It is a local style hotel that is not so big and has no elevator so my dad is having quite a difficult time getting up and down (It is such a big mistake that I didn't check beforehand).

The next morning, I'm so excited as I have booked the horse carriage tour to see the summit Alpe Di Siusi. I wanted to take the landscape of Alpe Di Siusi so badly. In fact, most people like to get the cable car up and do some activities there....The landscape of Alpe Di Siusi is a spacious grassland. Flowers are blossoming in spring and summer. Also, we can reach this summit via several routes, the most popular one is from Ortisei or Seiser Alm city. Up here, we can rent the regular or electric bicycle or the horse carriage for getting around...

I tried to search for what would be that best way to get around up there when we have both young kid and elder person and then I found the horse carriage ride which departs from Monte Pana city to Alpe Di Siusi and lunch included. It departs at 10 a.m. and returns to Monte Pana city around 3 p.m....I think this is the way that all of us can go travel together and the elders don't have to wait if we were to bike. So I booked this tour for 500 Euro for 7 adults and 1 child which is not cheap but actually it is similar to a one day trip from Phuket to Similan Islands. I also asked for my niece to ride on the small horse and play in the playground garden of the farm after the tour finishes.

It seems this is a perfect plan but right before departure, the farm asked us to postpone the trip as the weather forecast said it will be raining all day (I also see it from my mobile phone but this plan can't be changed, otherwise, we have to cancel)...So then I checked the weather by hours and it is said that the weather will get better after 10 a.m. and will rain again after 3 p.m. which is the end of our tour. Then, I called to the farm to confirm as the weather seems to get better and would cancel if the weather gets bad and the farm agrees.

From our hotel to Monte Pana, we have to drive across several mountains which have a very beautiful view and the weather also seems to get better and better... Right before Monte Pana, we have to drive up a small 90 degree curve to the place called Monte Pana Sport Center and the horse farm. The horse carriage ride is also started at this Sport Center....Luckily today is a normal working day and yet a holiday season so we are the only tourist group. I'm sure that on the holidays or the tourist seasons, the tourists will be packed, noticing from big restaurants and hotels and cable cars.

The farm wants to postpone the time to 11 a.m. to wait for the weather to be fully good and we agree.

The Farm Atmosphere

Our horse carriage uses two big black horses, looking very strong for our 9 people. I and my niece sit in the front.

The horses begin to take us out of the farm, and then slowly walk through the path up to the summit through pine forests and grasslands. We meet the tourists who are trekking and cycling from time to time.


On the way, we stop one time for the horses to take a rest and here is also the perfect spot for taking pictures.

The closer we get to the summit, the clearer we see the peaks which is part of Dolomites mountains. The view before us is like a painting photo that is so breathtaking and now the sky is also incredibly open.


Once we reach the top, in addtion to the beautiful scenenry, we also see the herd of cattle enjoying glass along the way.


The destination of this tour is a cottage that has been converted into a beautiful restaurant amid this splendid view of grassland and Dolomites mountains in a 360 degree view. Nearby is a grassland for animals, cattle, horses, and goats.

The Beautiful View of Summit Alpe Di Siusi

Activities before Lunch

The lunch is included in the tour. We have the local food which is quite delicious. My dad enjoy eating a lot as I also order the local beer for him☺ We spend quite some time up here at Alpe Di Siusi and now it's time to go back. It takes about an hour to go down and the horses do not need a rest like the way up.

When we arrive Monte Pana, the rain starts to form like what has been foretasted. But I also didn't forget to let my niece ride the dwarf horse and play at playground for a while before returning to our hotel. This is yet another new and very impressive experiences. For more information, please visit http://www.maneggio-montepana.com/eng/ .

The rain starts to form right when we got down.

And I didn't for get my niece's riding activity.

And for Part 1, I would like to end it here and please stay in tuned for the Part 2, coming soon... If you like this review, please help vote and share for other people's inspirations.

Finally, here is my other channel of works.

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Blog of "9mot" : www.9mot.com

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Thank you so much everyone for reading this reviews.

For driving to travel in Europe, I have written some reviews already, please go check it out. I hope it will help you plan and decide your trip.

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Thank you again everyone for reading and giving me the support.


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