Europe - May 2011

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<p>Husband and I are arriving in Venice by ship and will be flying back to the US from Frankfurt. We have 8 days to get from Venice to Frankfurt. We have spent time in Venice on prior trips so would like to see some of the country in between i.e Austria, Switzerland, Munich and Rothenburg. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I have traveled throughout those countries but it will be a first for my husband. We plan on renting a car. Any suggestions will be appreciated. </p>

Europe has an excellent train system and could take you to your various destinations. That way both of you could relax and enjoy the scenery

Thank you Jack. We will look into that option. We have used the train in Italy and it worked well.

We rented a car in Venice and drove to Slovenia for a couple of days. Very beautiful and interesting, particularly around the lakes. We were very surprised at the number of English speakers we met...far more than in Italy. We came back to Italy and spent time in the lake district (paricularly Lake Como)and drove to Cortina via Balzano...one of the most beautiful drives we have ever experienced anywhere. Also spent time in Ravenna and Verona, but that is more than you will be able to do in the time you have.

There are wonderful remote back passes up from the Italian Lake District into Switzerland that you may want to explore, as well as the back country roads north of Vicenza into Marostica and Asolo and then on over to Lake Garda and up the Brenner into the Italian Tyrol and the Dolomites too.
The Berner Oberland and Lake Brienz (Hostelerie Linderhof is a great stop) in Switzerland taking local hikes and cog wheel trains up into the Alps is worth a few days too around Interlaken and the drive on the north side of Thun is also lovely as you head out of Switzerland via Basel and then maybe over to Munich and all the castles and wonderment of the Bavarian Alps and small villages before you make the run up to Frankfurt and over to Bamberg/Neurenberg and on to Rothenberg and the Romantic Road for what ever detours that can also offer.
From Venice to Frankfurt you can almost point your car in any direction you want with a good dining guide like Michelin or even better the Slow Foods guides to Italy and other countries and move from small and out of the way wonderful meal to meal.
8 Days can get you through some pretty wonderful scenery and stops almost no matter where you go and yes, sometimes a car is the best way to really go out of your way in depth, not worry about traffic and parking in the bigger cities or hassle with luggage an on and off loading by train (which still remains a wonderful way to see Europe) but this part of the winding and mountainous Alpine Country is best served by a car.
May is my favorite time to be in this part of the world, particularly in Northern Italy because all the fields of red poppies are out in the spring green grass. And the tourists are down (just a little bit - it is almost 12 month tourism now in EU)
I used to live in this part of the world so I know what treats you are in for and being willing to drive its back roads. The distances go very quickly. It was a two hour drive to Venice from Desenzano, Lake Garda and a four hour drive from Desenzano Lake Garda to St Moritz to give you an idea. Hotel Piroscafo in Desenzano is a perfect stop if you want to explore that area more.