Location: Austria Jun 8-13
Hello everyone, I will try to blog after the fact since blogging as we went didn't work out. I sure didn't see Internet Cafes on every corner, and it was all I could do to send Dale a "still alive" email every 3 or 4 days.
We landed in Munich and took the train to Innsbruck. From the train, Thia got her first look at real castles and I visited the area of my birth (born in Garmisch-Partenkirschen, Bavaria).
My cousins, Christopher and Stefanie, met us at the train station in Innsbruck. Christopher and I have chatted on facebook but I hadn't seen either of them since they were little kids. We were wisked to our hotel in Alt Stadt (old town) which was a fabulous Tripadvisor.com find. The Hotel Weinhaus was smack in the middle facing "The Golden Roof" and we were on the third floor. At the end of our trip, we still had to say it was our favorite. Chris and Stef took me to dinner with his sister Jenny and her 3 kids...more cousins! The next day we toured Innsbruck visiting my cousin Othmar (Christopher's dad) at the Bergisle museum and taking the tram up the ski jump from the Winter Olympics. We toured some churches, ate some fabulous Austrian food, and enjoyed Christopher telling us all about his hometown. Hanging out with Stefanie was an awesome surprise for me, I treasure the memories.
After picking up the rental car and surviving downtown and a major roundabout, we took off for Lechtal following Stefanie across the local "back" way which was a gravel narrow road cutting through the Alps. It was FABULOUS but took both pilot car, driver, and navigator to pull it off.
Lechtal was wonderful, more cousins. Irmgaard and Luis, Thomas, Wolfgang. I spent some time looking at family pictures with Stefanie. Very moving as many of them are not with us anymore. Saw Trudi and Manfred's grave and many pictures of my dad.
Irmgaard surprised us with a fabulous lunch in Madau, a tiny alpine village where Thomas is working as a forest manager for the summer. Thomas filled us in on some local history while we had lunch and got to know his kids.
Thia and I did a castle/church tour around Bavaria touring King Ludwig's territory. Also visited "The Weiss Kirche" which is one of my favorite churches because of the pastel colors and the beautiful setting (and also because Trudi took me there). I remember her saying something about a a black horse in association with that church. We saw one in the field next door years ago but not this time.
We got back late and were too tired to visit, the next day we visited at Irmgaard's and got directions to take the main highway back to Innsbruck to return the car and catch the train to Italy.
Location: Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Work is done, semi-packed, ready to roll, time to check out this web page.
Location: Zodiak-Yak, USA
TESTING, TESTING, IS THIS THING ON?
After you see all this, Ruth, and make any changes to the introductory pages, I can go in and say something like "watch this page for exciting adventures soon" or something.