day 26 (9/27)
another day on lake garda . . . and today we drove up to the city of Garda. i was there on bike yesterday and there were vendors everywhere, but today there weren’t any other than the shops in the city, and there are quite a lot of those. Paula and the kids shopped and then found a school playground (not realizing that the kids actually go to school on Saturday mornings here — ah well). they played and found a rope slide thing that was loads of fun. they took me back to this playground to show it off after i finished . . . doing laundry. i did a few loads to get us all up to date as we prepare to move on. we drove back to the castle (Lazise) for lunch.
in the afternoon we walked back to the hotel. i took a nap while Paula took a walk and the kids played with their toys. for dinner, we decided to make reservations at Midieval Times for dinner and a show. this is set in the year 1096 or so (i read it and forget the specific date now). you are given a crown as you enter and your crown has a color — 4 total colors. we had blue on our crown and we sat in the front row of our section. they adverstise that it’s all you can drink — pepsi, beer, water, or wine. i chose the wine and drank 1 glass and didn’t even finish. same with Paula. they don’t give you a small glass of wine, they fill a king and queen’s cup. and they would have brough more if we had finished. the kids had pepsi. they star by placing your metal plate and very sturdy plastic mug in front of you. people bang their mug on the plate and plate on the table very loudly and it’s quite the commodation. Ellie and JD weren’t sure what to think as this noise was taking place. but then the show starts and the food starts arriving. the show has 4 Knights competing for the hand of the princess (to marry). they compete in various events while riding horses around the arena and dressed in costume. for jousting, they had a ring that was just about 5′ in front of us and the ring was only about 2″ in diameter, yet these 4 guys could be going full speed on their horses and get the ring on their joust stick. i think they got it about 10 out of 12 times between them. i was amazed. they also competed in archery (many bullseyes) and sword fighting, etc. the show was quite elegant . . . and interestingly enough, they announced everything in Italian, then in English, and then in German. so just about everyone could listen in.
well, the food started arriving and it started with a bowl of soup — no silverware. you just tip the bowl up to your mouth and drink/eat. they also provided a piece of bread with toppings. but you should have seen JD’s eyes when the big part of the meal showed up. they actually gave each person his or her own chicked that had been cooked, obviously. the whole chicken. they weren’t large chickens, but for kids like JD and Ellie these things were giant. they also threw down some fries and squirted some ketchup if you wanted. an apple topping and ice cream desert finished things off (and Italian coffee for Paula and me — not American coffee, mind you — they’d laugh at our weak coffee). but the show is what Ellie and JD loved (here’s a youtube video if you want the gist of it). they really got into cheering for “our” Knight and booing the other 3 Knights. they were standing and yelling and raising their thumb and then lowering it, etc. they really got into it. the whole show and dinner lasted about 2 hours so it was quite the experience.
i am up late trying to figure out where we’ll go tomorrow. probably Switzerland or maybe back to Innsbruck, Austria. if we go to Innsbruck then we’ll probably hang out a few days and then head over to Prague in the Czech Republic. if we go to Switzerland, we’ll hang there a few days and then up to Luxemborg or something (i don’t know). it’s really getting hard to find lodging for a family of 4. 2 double beds like you find nearly everywhere in the USA is very, very uncommon here. many families who travel end up taking longer “holidays” (vacations) and they rent an apartment for a week or so, which we’ve done a few times when i had more time to research. we might try a youth hostel again to try and save money??? i hope we’ll know more when we wake up tomorrow. heh.