day 27 (9/28)
we had a slow morning in Lazise and got on the road about 10:45 AM headed towards Austria — so long Italy! i had a place reserved at a youth hostel in Innsbruck, but it was still expensive, so i set the GPS to take us to a smaller town about 20 minutes away and up higher in the Alps. we got there and this place was everything you’d expect from a village in the Alps. some of the people are even dressed like the stereotype. well, come to find out there was a festival and parade going on so that explained that. in any regard, the GPS had me turn onto a dirt road in the village. i was leery because of the weirdness this GPS has already taken us through, but i followed it. well, this wasn’t a driving road; it was a hiking path and the path does go right to the hotel i had identified. but the path got more narrow and more narrow. just imagine me on the side of a mountain on a hiking path that is smaller than the car and i come across a meadow (slanted because this is the Alps). i pull out into the grass going up hill so that i can complete my turn going down hill. it works and i make it back out without incident. whew. the hotel is closed for the summer. apparently this is a ski resort town and you can see slopes all around. the people at the closed hotel (more like a bed and breakfast building) send me towards the center of town for lodging. i get there and a parade is going on so i can’t drive to the hotel. i have the kids and paula go watch the parade of horses and horse drawn carriages and people dressed up traditionally, etc. — pretty neat stuff and i find a hotel. this is a 4-star hotel with a multi room apartment available for us and this place has all of the extras like a sauna, massages, hot bath (in a half barrel thing) and all that jazz. AND, it’s well under $200/night. i have been pricing places in Innsbruck and this village is way, way cheaper. whew!

we decide to eat lunch at our hotel. keep in mind that none of the hotels in this town are giant like in the USA; rather, these are just 15 or so bedroom buildings. we explore the town and the many shops and look for a playground. the kids buy some rocks at a rock shop and we find a single playground thing which satisfies the kids for now. we also discover an incredible indoor swimming pool. we plan to go back tomorrow for JD’s birthday. this pool has giant boulders in it and you can climb up on the rocks and jump or dive into the pool. should be a thrill. stay tuned for that. in the meantime, Paula came across a playground and mini golf place. so we headed off and played on the playground — not too shabby. then we had dinner. JD got wienersnitzel and fries and loved it. Ellie had spaghetti. Paula had something with potatoes and beef or something. i had sauerkraut and a bacon dumpling thing after having goulash for lunch. i don’t think i’d have ever grown tired of Italian food, but it’s nice to have variety again and i am trying the most traditional Austrian foods . . . and they’re good thus far. cheers for now.

updated photos from Lazise are now available here.