Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Day 2: Drive from to Corvara to Bolzano Bozen, Italy

By on February 4, 2007 in Italy

Yikes!  What a drive!  This evening I drove from Corvara to Bolzano-Bozen, and it was a really tough drive.

One of our group (there is always one!) couldn’t fly out with the rest of the group on Saturday and instead flew in on Sunday. Even though he had information on the ski shuttle bus transfer from the airport, he decided to travel up to Bolzano-Bozen by train and then phone through for a lift.

The train from Venice to Bolzano-Bozen takes around 4 hours.  I guessed the drive from Corvara to Bolzano-Bozen would take around 90 minutes.  Google suggested it would take around 1 hour 45 minutes.

I left Corvara at 8 pm, and the GPS said it was 29 miles (this is as the crow flies). When I asked at the hotel (Ciasa De Munt) I was told it was 65 km, however, when I was 10 km from Corvara I spotted a signpost that said it was 84 km, so 84 + 10 = 94, therefore it was quite a trek.  I don’t know what happened, or where I went, but I did close to 130 km – I was guided by the car GPS system.  The interesting thing about the drive was there was a large mountain in the way, and I could essentially go clockwise or anti-clockwise around it to get to Bolzano-Bozen.

I used a GPS unit for directions.  The route was incredible.  I have never been around, so many hairpin turns.  I also went over two mountain passes, one at 6850 ft and the other, the local pass to get into Corvara, 6000 ft.  Interestingly, Bolzano-Bozen is at 800 ft, so you get an idea why there are all the hairpins.

The drive to Bolzano-Bozen took 2 hours, and the drive back, because the GPS sent me by some crazy route, took 2.5 hours.

This demonstrated, to me, that given a choice flying to Venice Airport and driving 200 km (120 miles), or Bolzano Dolomiti with the 100 km (60 miles) drive I would take Venice Airport as it was, in my opinion, an easier drive.  However, I bet it would be a great drive during daylight, but at night, after a hard day of skiing, and with temperatures around -9°C it was hard work.

On the way back I noticed that they were blowing a lot of snow on mountains and that the piste bashers were out in force.

One piece of weirdness on the trip was trying to deal with an Italian 24 hour petrol station. Basically, they are not-manned.  You drive up and are faced with a pump with three buttons, one for ?, one for €10 Euros and one for €20 Euros.  There was also a sort of cash-point (ATM) machine with a slot for notes and a slot for cards. There was also a row of buttons with numbers that seem to match the numbers on the pumps…  All very odd.  After much fiddling, I managed to get the pump to give me €10 Euros of fuel.  I have no idea how!  One comforting observation was an Italian at the petrol station also couldn’t get it to work!

Update (10th Feb 2007): We managed to get one of the pumps mentioned above working at Venice Airport (see Day 8: Corvara to Venice and on to Heathrow – Italian Petrol Pump.)

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