Our big adventure travelling through Italy with our dog Tikka begins here – A flight into Germany and then off to Austria for an overnight night stop before continuing into Italy to visit Florence, Tuscany, Rome, Ravello and Venice.
So why aren’t we starting in Italy? We chose to fly direct into Munich on Lufthansa with Tikka in mind. AirTransat had the only direct flight to Rome from Vancouver, but they have a no dogs in cabin policy, so that was a non starter for us. Lufthansa was brilliant, fussing over Tikka making sure she was ok. After a comfortable 10 hour flight with our dog snoozing in the cabin at our feet the whole way, we landed and we were out of the terminal in 30 minutes with bags in hand looking for a good place for Tikka to have a long pee. No holdups in customs – it was a breeze and you can read about the process of getting a dog ready to go from Canada to the EU in this post.
Grass was within a 2 min walk outside Terminal 2, so super easy to find a place for relief.
Before jumping in our rental car, we took a minute to stretch our 8 legs, give Tikka some water and grabbed a quick bite in the outside square – lots of options for something to eat and all dog friendly. Currywurst was our choice, a local street food of sausages with curried ketchup, and a personal favourite of my huband’s.
When we were checking out options for what car rental company we wanted to go with, we asked about having a dog in the car with us and the reply was ‘no problem’. Although Tikka is a low shedding dog, we brought a towel with us anyway, to try keep the dog hair mainly isolated to her sleeping spot. And we picked up a new travel tip when travelling with your dog. As we were on an international flight, we were given blankets on the plane and we held onto them – they are a good size and thin so easy to pack and we’ve been using them in the car as well as over any furniture that Tikka wants to curl up on.
Ok, time to get on the road! Easy drive out of the airport and we were on our way to Austria. This vacation is all about driving around Italy however, to make it easy on ourselves we only wanted to do a two hour drive after our flight so stayed in the charming Stubaital valley in Tyrol, Austria, just south of Innsbruck.
Major note to self for another trip, to stay in this area for a few weeks. So gorgeous and heaven for any dog that wants to hit the trails. It’s all about enjoying the views of the mountains, exploring meadows and winding your way through the little towns. There is even a handy planner for Austria that you can map out your hike.
We chose Mieders to stop overnight, booked ahead of time, and the Alpenholtz Hotel couldn’t have been better. It’s slow for travellers at the end of September, as it’s in between the summer tourist season and the upcoming ski season, so we enjoyed the fresh air and how quiet it was. A perfect stopover for travelling with a dog and a big paws up from VanDoggo!
Dinner was at a local restaurant and we enjoyed our first meal with Tikka under the table before we crashed in our bed and our little travel dog snuggled in for the night. Sweet sleep…we were tired and looked forward to a nice long sleep after traveling so far. Of course our eyes sprung open at 1 am. A couple hours of watching Austrian TV in German finally got us back to sleep again. Tikka seemed unaffected, snoring on the sofa. So jealous.
We all ventured out the next morning for a healthy wander around Mieders before our drive to Florence and Tikka made some new friends. Just like big dogs but they moo instead of bark and you need much larger poop bags. We wandered through the paths and fields, and feasted our eyes on all the amazing views, the reality of actually being on vacation started to set in.
And we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore when we stumbled across a cute vending machine on the side of the road that stocks fresh eggs.
A quick breakfast put on by the hotel brought us back from our morning stroll and after we repacked the car, gave Tikka the map to navigate and we were off to Florence!