Travel: getting lost in Italy

It feels like so long ago, but this delightful Sunday happened just a few weeks ago - the day we took a wrong turn and ended up in France!

I have mentioned this before but if you are planning a trip to Switzerland please note that most of the country is closed on Sunday due to labor laws prohibiting work.

This made for the perfect excuse to borrow a friends car, driving from Vevey to Aosta Valley (Italy) via the Great St Bernard Pass.

The land of 1,000 castles - here we come!

Great St Bernard Pass: Founded in 1049, this pass has a rich history but was new to me. It's name comes from a monk crossing the Alps to provide hospice care and the dogs were large/hearty enough to help him. So much history to absorb (dating back to the Roman Empire).

This drive takes about two hours and is filled with amazing views on winding roads.  At the top of the pass, you pay a tunnel fee and drive through to Italy. We didn't need our passports (but do keep them with you).

Once you cross you will descend about 4,000 feet on twisty roads, to reach the village.  For this winter gal, you can image my excitement to discover we were entering a 'TUNDRA' climate.

We had lunch at a family owned Italian restaurant located high in the Alps, for a local/remote experience.  Just ten minutes across the border, we were surprised they do not speak any French!

tip: if you plan a visit to Switzerland, learn a few key phrases in French, German, and Italian. 

Aosta Valley: Land of 1,000 castles. If you know what the castles look like they are easy to spot. We passed at least a dozen, stopped to photograph a few of them before reminding ourselves that sometimes it's important to just drink it in, and not stress over seeing every inch. I also couldn't pick just one castle/fortress to see.

We needed to get back before sunset, to avoid icy, windy roads as we backtracked over the pass. Somewhere along the way we made a wrong turn... no worries though, the GPS was there to guide us {whew}.

We ended up traveling home via France. Passing through the Mont Blanc tunnel, with a leisurely drive exploring Chamonix.

Chamonix is magical - a must see. It's a hidden treasure.  The blue glaciers high in the sky looked ready to start an avalanche at any moment.  It was a warm sunny day, filled with people snowshoeing, skiing, cc skiing, paragliding, and more...

The drive from Chamonix to Vevey is spectacular. We HAD to stop at Rhone Valley, the sun was setting which mean heavy shadows from the mountains but let me tell you it's nature at it's best. Passing a few waterfalls on our return, we arrived home just in time for a quick run and dinner.

I'm going to be a day trip planner before I know it.

It was an amazing three country day - I will take a Sunday like this one anytime.

I hope you are enjoying traveling with me.