Sunday, March 18, 2012

Around the World: The Brenner Pass

March 18, 1992

It's absolutely amazing what a quiet night in a room to yourself will do for a tired girl.  Well rested and freshly showered, I'm heading back into Italy to travel through the Brenner Pass to the tiny town of Merano.  It's not an easy place to get to, requiring transfers in Fortezza and Bolzano before arriving in Merano.

Autobahn through the Brenner Pass.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia Creative Commons

The Brenner pass is the lowest of the few mountain passes in the Alps that connect Northern Europe with the popular Mediterranean destinations in the south.  The view is breathtaking. The surrounding mountains are enormous and still full of snow.  Around every corner is a castle more beautiful than the last and the hillsides are littered with vineyards and cattle grazing fields.

Merano is a quiet, peaceful little town of little boutiques and cafes.  Thinking I have just enough time for an ice cream and wiener shnnitzel from a street vendor, I arrive at the station just in time to watch the last train bound for Innsbruck pull out of the station without me.

Merano castle, vineyard and mountains.

Where there's a will...

A train leaving in half an hour arrives in Bolzano at 20:40, another leaves for Brenner at 20:43 and arrives at 22:15.  From Brenner, another train departs at 22:20, and arrives in Innsbruck at 23:10.  In Brenner, three German skiers and myself have to negotiate two freight trains and five rail lines to just barely make it to the train in time.  Once I finally arrive in Innsbruck, I learn that the last bus going near the hostel left half an hour ago.  Fortunately, it's only a thirty minute saunter.  The time passes quicker with a frankfurter to nibble on.

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"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
~Thomas Jefferson

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