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Old 1st March 2013, 16:14   #76
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

We spent some time there, bought some souvenirs and headed towards Livigno. From here till Livigno is a story in itself. Normally, those in the know would take the straight route to Livigno which goes via Bormio and is very scenic. This is a high road which stays above 1500 mts at most places which is a good altitude for this part of the globe. This is however not an all weather road and stays under snow all through the winters. They have made another road which goes through Switzerland, is not that scenic and most of all being an all weather road, has a tunnel which is tolled. At 20 something Euros quite expansive toll at that.


Why I am telling you this story? Its because unfortunately, my GPS decided that I have some extra money with me and I need to lighten my wallet a bit. Again a miss in the research part from my side meant the GPS pointed me to this route:

My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-stelviolivigno.jpg

Rather than this:

My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-stelviolivigno1.jpg


Last edited by vinayrathore : 1st March 2013 at 16:16.
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Old 2nd March 2013, 13:56   #77
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

As we started from Stelvio, there was a T Junction after 2-3 Kms with one road going to Bormio and other to the Swiss town of Zernez. Since GPS was pointing towards this road, I took it. Some 500 Mts ahead, we crossed into Switzerland.

The Swiss Customs
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5807.jpg

This road remained a road till about 2 Kms and then turned into a dirt track. At this point it did come to me if I was on the correct path or not. But since GPS was showing it, I though it might be a short cut or something. The road was descending with a high gradient as it was taking us to the valley below. Suddenly, on one of the turns I saw a red Ferrari spider 458 climbing towards the Stelvio.

Soon we were into the greens again. A stream along the roadside.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5808.jpg

As the altitude lowered, we were again amidst the meadows and grasslands.

A group of horses and cows grazing near the road.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5809.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5810.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5811.jpg

Another 20 minutes later we reached the Swiss village of Santa Maria Val Müstair. Here we take a left towards Zernez on the Zernez Mustair road.

This is what a typical alpine village looks like. Deserted.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5812.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5813.jpg

Note how narrow the road was.

Another 23 Kms later, we crossed another village called Punt la Drossa. Here you take a left into the 3.5 km long tunnel that takes you to the other side and again into Italy. It was one way at a time with a red/green light. When we reached it was turn of the other side. We had to wait for around 10 Minutes before the light turned green.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5815.jpg

We crossed the tunnel
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5818.jpg

And paid the toll. 23 Euros to be precise. All thanks to Mr. GPS.
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Old 3rd March 2013, 21:06   #78
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

By the time I got along with the shock of 23 Euros gone from my pocket, we reached Livigno. All along the road goes through the galleries or artificial tunneling where the road is covered to keep it from snow blockade, just the same as we see in some NFS circuits. No pics unfortunately.

I had booked a Chalet called Chalet Del Sole at Livigno at an amazing price of 50 Euros per day inclusive of Parking, Wifi, Cleaning charges and unlimited usage of two Bikes. Yes, since 70% of the town has traffic restrictions, cycling is the best way to get around.

Searching for our chalet was not a problem. Thankfully Mr. GPS made sure we were right at the doors without any problems. Searching for the owner was another story. It took us half an hour to find him and check into our room. It was a fully furnished apartment complete with a well stuffed kitchen. It was already 8:30pm and we were tired to the bones. Still after a hearty dinner of MTR Aloo Matar with bread, the location of the chalet made sure I tried some low light shots. Could not get anything substantial though.

Best I could get was this.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5821.jpg

After this, it was time to call it a day. A long and satisfying one at that. A crash landing to bed followed.

Last edited by vinayrathore : 3rd March 2013 at 21:10.
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Old 4th March 2013, 19:58   #79
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

Amazing, amazing Travelogue. Great to see pictures of castles that I have seen only in "The World from Above".

Ah, how I would love to tour Europe on a bike - preferably a Beemer
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Old 5th March 2013, 16:05   #80
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Originally Posted by naveenroy View Post
Amazing, amazing Travelogue. Great to see pictures of castles that I have seen only in "The World from Above".

Ah, how I would love to tour Europe on a bike - preferably a Beemer
Thanks Naveen! Europe is indeed a place straight of the story books.

A road trip on a bike is now next in my bucket list.
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Old 9th March 2013, 12:44   #81
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

Woke up a bit early at 6am. As I opened the window, saw a colony of Marmot burrows in the backyard. Observed them for some time as Kanishk woke up. He too enjoyed watching them.

My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5826.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5828.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5829.jpg

Since this was not a hotel, we had to arrange for our food. So I took the bike to the town to fetch some groceries for the rest of the day. What an amazing experience it was. The serenity of the town, the quietness yet super modern. Being a duty free town, it had all the best brands available, from exclusive showrooms of LV, Channel, Lecoste, etc. to all brand malls, all housed in small typical alpine hut shaped buildings. Being a no car zone, it was a charm to just cycle around the town center. Got some bread, cheese, butter, rice, veggies milk/beverages, sausages etc (all for some 11 Euros!! Its duty free you see ) and came back to our chalet. As I narrated how it was to wifey, she said what was already in my mind. Lets stay back one more day here.

Livigno was to serve as just a stopover for our onwards journey to Interlaken in Switzerland. But the beauty of the place amazed us so much that we decided to deduct one day off of our swiss schedule. A detailed Swiss trip is anyway in our next Europe trip. But there was a rider, our booking at Interlaken was from today and there was 100% deduction in case of cancellation. Still thought of trying my luck and called our hotel in Interlaken. Told them we are unable to reach today but will stay for the booked duration if they can reschedule it from tomorrow which she agreed. Joy!!

So we were staying back here for today. Had a quick breakfast of Milk, bread, butter, cheese, sausages and veg nuggets. It was decided on to keep it a laid back day with nothing much apart from roaming around town in the agenda. So here we were out of our Chalet clicking some pics.

Dilwala Dulhaniya Le jayega?
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5842.jpg

Our Chalet.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5843.jpg

After this we went for a drive on the Bormio road which we were told was very scenic. Secondly I had to get the car refueled too. Some pics. (Not much pics left unfortunately)

Livigno from above the mountain. (the one you see in the first Livigno pic)
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5871.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5872.jpg

Last edited by vinayrathore : 9th March 2013 at 12:46.
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Old 18th May 2013, 13:52   #82
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

How I envy you.You could accomplish what most of us dream about doing all our lives.A very well written travelogue with equally good pictures.What I would like to know is that while on the road did you stop every time you took a snap and was that stop at the designated place?I can make out the pics you took while driving and from inside the car but there are some shots which seems to have been taken from outside the car.Because like you mentioned stopping anywhere on the road side is a no no .Just curious.
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Old 20th May 2013, 13:33   #83
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
How I envy you.You could accomplish what most of us dream about doing all our lives.A very well written travelogue with equally good pictures.What I would like to know is that while on the road did you stop every time you took a snap and was that stop at the designated place?I can make out the pics you took while driving and from inside the car but there are some shots which seems to have been taken from outside the car.Because like you mentioned stopping anywhere on the road side is a no no .Just curious.
Thanks Ramanjit! As I have mentioned in one of the posts, all pics clicked in the moving car have been clicked by my wife. And all pics that seem clicked from out of the car have either been clicked in moving car by my wife holding camera out of the window or have been clicked in the designated parking where ever available or by stopping on the road at some desolated stretches. Sure you cannot stop in the middle of the road even if its a small village road but there are many places where you can stop at the roadside in the mountains. Hope this answers your query.
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Old 8th May 2015, 19:50   #84
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

Its almost 2 years. A relocation to Bangalore, change of workplace and lot of other almost life changing events later, its time to restart the thread. Sorry for being away for so long.

Had 3~4 quick to-the-point Europe trips during this time. The last one in March was where I got some spare time for another road trip. This time to the Netherlands. Will take you along on that later in this thread. But first, lets resume were we left last.
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Old 8th May 2015, 20:07   #85
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

After a round on the Bormio road, a refueling and a stroll in the town, it was time to head back to our chalet. After all we had some cooking to do. Were lucky enough to get a pack of 'India Gate Basmati Rice' from a store in the town and Peas Pulao was in the menu for dinner today.

Right After dinner, there was still some light left and went out on a stroll around. Some pics of the area around the chalet.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5889.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5891.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5892.jpg

Note the small black robotic lawn mover in the lower right of this pic going about its job.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5895.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5897.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5900.jpg

A beautiful little stream next to our chalet.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5901.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5902.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5903.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 26th May 2015 at 06:01. Reason: Posting rule No. 11
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Old 8th May 2015, 20:52   #86
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Contd...

A bug lover staying near by and this is his parking area.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5904.jpg

My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5905.jpg

The Chalet owner's house just opposite. (in HDR)
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5906__1_tonemapped.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5907__1_tonemapped.jpg
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Old 9th May 2015, 12:15   #87
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Wow, your TL has forced me to do a rethink on my decision to leave Europe travel and rather spend the little money that i have on India itself as it will be a huge saving burden for me. Amazing and congratulations.
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Old 9th May 2015, 13:56   #88
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Default re: My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!

Next day, we had the target of reaching Interlaken by second half so we had some time that we could utilize on the way. The Chalet Owner told us about the Bernina Pass that was on way towards Davos/Chur and about The Bernina Express which is among the most scenic railway routes in the world.

Quote from the Bernina Express Wiki page:
Quote:
The Bernina Express is a train connecting Chur (or Davos) in Switzerland to Poschiavo and Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps. For most of its journey, the train also runs along the World Heritage Site known as the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes.
The train is operated by the Rhaetian Railway company for the purpose of sightseeing. It takes the form of an enhanced regional service between Tirano and Chur or Davos: panoramic coaches with enlarged windows and multi-lingual (English, Italian and German) audio guide on board. It is not an express in the sense of being a high-speed train; passengers must make a seat reservation either directly when they purchase Bernina Express tickets, or pay a small supplement on top of their regional train tickets. The Bernina Express is popular with tourists and connects in Tirano with the Post Bus service via Lake Como in Italy to Lugano in Switzerland.
The Albula line and the Bernina line on the Bernina Express's route were jointly declared a World Heritage Site in 2008. The trip on the Bernina Express through this World Heritage Site is a four-hour railway journey across 196 bridges, through 55 tunnels and across the Bernina Pass at 2,253 metres above sea. The entire line is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) (metre gauge) and electrified.
So it was decided we will drive upto St. Moritz and hop into The Bernina Express for a train journey upto Poschavio and back. This should take 3~4 hours and we could be on way towards Interlaken by 2PM.

So we started off towards St. Moritz via the Forcola Pass and Bernina Road.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5908.jpg

A Restaurant at the Forcola Pass and the Italian Border post just ahead of it.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5910.jpg

Towards the Swiss-Italy border.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5912.jpg

Winding road down the pass.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5913.jpg

And we enter Switzerland!
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5914.jpg

The Swiss Customs and Border checkpost. Thing to note: Only Switzerland has the right to check/control the access from the other European borders as its not a part of European Union but a part of Schengen Agreement.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5915.jpg

Around 6~7 kms after the border we joined the Bernina road that links St. Moritz to Poschavio.

One of the many Frozen Lakes enroute.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5916.jpg

A restaurant on the way:
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5918.jpg
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Old 10th May 2015, 22:07   #89
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Snaking down the Bernina Pass, the road enters the Engadine valley, one of the relatively remote but elite regions of Switzerland. We reached St. Moritz Bahnoff a little late for the true Bernina Express as Mr. GPS decided we need to see the town center too and were stuck in a Jam. Reached the Bahnoff, got return tickets for normal train up, Bernina Express down including parking at the bahnoff for around 130 CHF and waited for the train.

At the Gleis 1, German for Platform.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5919.jpg

A solitary coach.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5920.jpg

Mr. Kanishk owns the train it seems.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5924.jpg

Around St. Moritz
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5926.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5927.jpg

Like father like son.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5930.jpg

First Station.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5932.jpg

A Waterfall on way.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5933.jpg

And the climb starts. Along does the snaky road which we descended a short while ago.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5937.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5938.jpg

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Old 11th May 2015, 12:09   #90
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As we go ahead, we get the first glimpse of the Morteratsch Glacier which is the largest in the Bernina region of the Bündner Alps. We missed this somehow while driving down towards St. Moritz.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5939.jpg

Road goes along the tracks most of the time.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5940.jpg

And crosses each other every now and then.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5944.jpg

Peaks around.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5945.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5942.jpg

Restaurants along the way.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5947.jpg

The Train chugs along.
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5951.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5953.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5954.jpg
My European Sojourns: The making of a dream road trip!-dscf5956.jpg

Last edited by vinayrathore : 11th May 2015 at 12:10.
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