Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Friday 20 May thru Wed 25 May. Italy and then Switzerland

We packed and cleaned the house in Nicola. It rained a bit that day - the only rain we have seen since we arrived in Europe. We were happy that the movement of stuff from the house to the car was downhill this time even though the cobblestones were just as bumpy as ever.

We drove to Chieri which is close to Torino to visit with Beth's nephew and his family. I met Greg's Italian wife, Valeria, for the first time and Beth met the newest member of the Greg Read family, nearly 1 year old Eduardo. They also have a three year old, Giacomo, who speaks Italian and English. We visited downtown Torino where they were having a parade as part of the celebration of Italy being a country for 150 years. Still hard to think of these European countries being younger than the USA, but they were independent city states until the 1860's.

We went out for a nice dinner sitting at an outside table. The food was good and it was fun watching Giacomo interacting with a couple at the next table and then dancing when a guy playing the violin stopped by our table. Of course, we had a gelato on the way back to the car.

The next day, we went to Greg's school for an international day. This is understandable since it is the International School. There were examples of food available from a number of countries where the students are from. It was fun and the food was good but it was very warm. Greg and Valeria cooked a very nice barbecue and pasta dinner for us that evening. We said our goodbyes the next morning and headed North.

We stopped for awhile in Bellagio, which was nice and scenic but overrun with hotels and shops. We continued on to Riva del Garda, per a recommendation from Laura who had at one time stayed there, and found a nice place to stay. We spent the evening downtown and had a nice lakeside dinner. The next morning, we were provided a very good breakfast and headed further North. We entered Austria and bought our windshield sticker which allows us to use the Austria highways for 10 days.

We got to meet a very nice Austrian highway patrol officer when I was confused when he put his lights on behind me and waved his lollypop sign out the window. I followed him off the highway and parked where he pointed. He came over and told me I was not who he was stopping, but it was the truck passing in the middle lane which was restricted to cars only. He thanked me for stopping and he sent us on our way.

We drove to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland to the Camping Jungfrau site. The reception office was closed, but by asking in the restaurant we were able to rent a bungalow for two nights. It is nice with a kitchen, living room, bath and two bedrooms. On Wednesday, we took the cable car up the hill and then walked for about six hours to Gimmelwald and back. It was so scenic, it is hard to take it all in. We were tired and happy to take the cable car back down the hill. The campground restaurant served us an outstanding schnitzel dinner with a salad, fries and a dessert. We are full and happy to be off our feet. Tomorrow, we head further North to Germany and then to England before catching our flight in Paris on the 4th of June.

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