Winter mountain + road trip to Italy (including food!)

Since I only today got my internet back up, after a couple of days without, I can finally start to write a new post. Life here has been nice and I rarely have ‘boring evenings at home alone’, which means I haven’t had too many opportunities to write new blog posts. Today for example, our floor of the student home is organizing an open party, which we’ve all been looking forward to and should be very cool. The theme is “Aerobic party”, so lots of 80-90’s apparel will be used..

I’m going to now write down what this blog will consist of, partly to help myself, since I won’t be able to finish this in one sitting..

0.5)Hen-dish at a restaurant

1) First snow in Munich in October, very rare -> Timo to the mountains (incl. food).

2) Italian road trip

0.5) My friend Teemu came to visit me from Finland, so we went out to eat. I ordered a half of a Hen with a knödel and some red cabbage side dish. It was good and big. Here’s a picture: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zwco6e1ax52q9r3/IMAG2039.jpg

1) First snow in Munich

A couple of weeks ago fell the first snow here in Munich. Now of course it’s again +12C, but we had a couple of weeks of temperatures around zero here. As usual, we had planned a day trip to a mountain (ok, this time it was only a small hill (1500m)) in the Bayerische Voralps, the baby mountains before the real mountains. I had a friend from Finland here visiting me, and he wanted to see the mountains as well.

We’d been following the weather pretty accurately before the trip, since it could get quite nasty up there with no visibility or heavy rain. In the morning, the weather report said that we’d be looking at 7 mm of rain before noon, and no rain after noon. We decided to go, since we predicted that the rain would most likely come as snow, and snow is just nice 🙂 Initially our expedition group consisted of a couple of more people, but they weren’t feeling so confident in the weather, so in the end, we set out in a group of four.

When we got there, it was still raining a bit. But only the small kind of rain, not the heavy kind that would eat away your morale and drive us into exploring the different cafeterias of the small town where our end-station was (this was our plan B). I was, though, very happy about my new Gore-Tex jacket I had with me. And of course of my new shoes, which are perfect!

On the way up the rain slowly turned to snow (though wet snow..), so it wasn’t so bad. As we got higher and higher, we began to realize that our trip would not have the usual awesome views from the top of the mountains (although we’d selected an alternative route that led us along a cool mountain ridge for a couple of kilometers). Everything was in a big cloud, and we’d been left to only wonder about how beautiful the views from here must be. That said, I think I’ll have to go back to Seekarkreuz some time. At the top, in addition the horrible visibility, the wind was quite hard on us. The nice small snow had now turned into freezing watery-snow mixture, which came from the horizontal direction. I was very happy with my new Gore-Tex jacket.. Having a break at the top would have lead us to getting cold really fast, so even with the views we wouldn’t have wanted to stay and look at them for too long. We quickly made our way to the summit of Seekarkreuz and from there proceeded quickly downwards, where the wind eased out. We soon arrived at our lunch-hütte. Not suprisingly though, the hütte was completely empty. Of customers. The only people there were the slightly-past-mid-aged owner couple (or so we deduced them to be..) and they pretty well gave the impression that they’d been waiting the entire day for customers.. So, in the akward silentness of the restaurant, we enjoyed some nice knödel-soups and beers. It did however feel like we’d invaded their privacy somehow, since they had to stop knitting and serve us. We left as soon as possible and in about an hour, we were back on our way home. A picture of my knödelsuppe: https://www.dropbox.com/s/jgz0j2sqip94esr/IMAG2047.jpg

2) As the topic suggests, I also made a road trip to Italy with some friends. It all started at my friend’s place where we were sitting out the evening about a week ago. There we were talking about maybe sometime making a trip somewhere by car. One of our friends there, happened to have some school related trip (she’s an architect) that she would have to take part in in the following week in Venice. They had to organize their own transportation there, with only the presence on a certain day there being mandatory. On the week in question, there was a national holiday on Thursday, so we’d all have a day off then. When combining this to the fact that I normally don’t have any school on Fridays, the setting started to look too good to reject. We managed to talk two others into coming with us, and we’d decided to head out on the following wednesday!

Our initial plan was to head for Rome, since one of us really wanted to see it. During our planning evening the night before though, we concluded that if we wanted to really see something during our road trip, we would have to stay in northern Italy, where we would have more time exploring places, and not on the road. We could also take the mountain roads, instead  of the Autostradas (highways), which turned out to be veeeryy cool! 🙂

We rented the car at Europcar, and it ended up costing us about 450 euros. The normal price would have been 350 euros, but since we wanted another driver, we had to pay extra based on the days and the age of our other driver (she was under 23). But since we were four, the price wasn’t so bad. Our car was big and spacey, which made for a nice and comfortable ride. Our trip was: Munich, Verona, Bologna, Firenze, Venice, Munich. Italy was nice, though not particularly warm since summer had long gone.. We ate lots of pizza and pasta and italian ice cream 🙂

I was suprised by the crappiness of Italy:  everything seemed to be old and/or broken. Also the city plan. We spent about 3 hours to find our first hostel, since they had no address whatsoever. Their only location information was between to addresses, which were on San Donato and Via Dagola. This could have been easy, except for the fact that every street in the city was named eather San Donato or Via Dagola.. Eventually, after asking for directions from about 4 different restaurants, we found our hostel.. Some of the directions from the restaurants were also quite useless, “go left, then trees, then hostel”, since there were also trees everywhere in the city.. After finding our hostel, we went to one of the pizzerias we had asked for directions. It was heaven:

We spent two nights in Firenze, so that we could have the entire first day to explore the city. It was cool. Check the pictures 🙂

We also had a nice picnic at the east coast, on the way to Venice. Venice was very floody, so we booked a hotel from the shore.

At venice, we ate at a nice restaurant right on the Canal Grande. I tryed a Meditarranean fish dish, where the fish was cooked as whole.. The next day it was raining all the time, so we basically went to the main market place, took some pictures and headed back to start driving home..

Pictures are at: http://sonkeri.1g.fi/kuvat/Timo+Kerola/Road+trip+in+Italy/