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Published: October 2nd 2011
Flying over the Alps
Photo Dad took on their flight to Brussels. We would drive over them in a few weeks.
My parents had volunteered to babysit Tamara while we went to Portugal. We returned on a Monday and four days later the Easter holiday week began. We took this opportunity to take Mom and Dad for a nine day vacation to some of our favorite places in Europe.
17 April 1987 Good Friday. We drove from Brussels to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. On the way we drove down the Rhine River from Coblenz to Bingen to see the many castles that dotted this most interesting stretch of the Rhine before returning the the autobahn to Rothenburg.
We arrived at Rothenburg about 3 pm. We stayed with our farmer friends in their zimmerfrei, the couple we had first stayed with some ten years earlier when we lived in Germany. We talked with them a bit before heading out for schnitzel at a local gasthaus and a stroll around the town. Dad had bought a new 400 mm lens for his camera, but it wasn't a zoom, so he had to take pictures of things that were far away, and made them much closer.
18 April 1987 Saturday. After breakfast provided by the farmer and his wife, and farewells, we
departed Rothenburg headed down the Romantischstrasse, passing through Nordlingen and Dinkelsbuhl; arriving at Neuschwanstein Castle about noon. We had lunch at the village at the base of the castle and then took the horse drawn carriage up to the castle for the tour. We are amazed each time we visit the castle. After the tour we took the horse carriage down to where we had parked.
We headed towards Reutte in Austria where we caught the back road past Linderhof Castle, King Ludwig's hunting lodge, to Oberammergau. We had seen the Passion Play there in 1980 with my parents. We walked around the small town window shopping.
Then we were off to Garmisch, passing the Ettal Monastery on the outskirts of town. We checked into one of the AFRC hotels where we spent the next two nights. After dinner at the hotel, we drove to the Riessersee, on the southern outskirts of Garmisch where we walked around this small lake, with the Zugspitze looming high above it.
19 April 1987 Easter Sunday. We spent the day in the Garmisch area, first at the chapel for their Easter service, then with our major activity being the acsent of
the Zugspitze. We took the cable car to the top and had lunch at the restaurant. We spent some time just taking in the views looking across the vast expanse of the Austrian Alps. What a breathtaking sight.
After taking in all that we could, we took the cog railway back down the mountain, and drove back to Garmisch. We walked around the town. We ate dinner back at our hotel and had a good night's sleep.
20 April 1987 Monday. After breakfast we headed from Garmisch to Innsbruck, Austria where we stopped to see the sights. Then we headed over the Brenner Pass into northern Italy, turning off the autostrada at Bressanone where we had lunch.
We headed east on the back roads to Cortina D'Ampezzo, a well know ski resort in the Italian Dolomites. We had some gelato there. The drive from Cortina to Aviano was down through the mountains. It didn't look very far on the map, but the roads had many curves, and much of it was under construction. Tamara was going crazy, so Linda and Mom took to tearing up peices of Kleenex, licking them and then sticking above her head in
the car. They would blow on them to make the peices flutter, which amused Tamara to no end. This worked until it got dark.
We finally made it to our hotel in Aviano and had a late dinner in a nearby restaurant. We turned in for the night, but during the night Linda became ill, requiring medical attention. Luckily, there was a U.S. Air Force hospital at the nearby air base, which was open in the middle of the night. They checked her out, but couldn't do the tests until morning.
21 April 1987 Tuesday. So we were back at the Aviano Air Base hospital first thing in the morning. They did whatever was necessary to put Linda in good condition, and we were off to Venice by about 10 am.
We crossed the causeway and parked at the large parking lot on the other end, and then took the vaparetto to Saint Marks Square. We had lunch at a trattoria somewhere in the maze of steets off the square. Then we hired a gondola to take us around the canals, where we saw Marco Polo's house, and passed under the Bridge of Sighs, although not at
sunset, as in the movie "A Little Romance."
We caught the vaparetto back to the parking lot and then drove west to Verona, where we walked around the town, specifically to see Juliette's balcony. We then drove to Garda on the east shore of Lake Garda, and down and around the southern end until we arrived in Sirmione, on the peninsula that juts into the lake.
We got our permit to enter the town so that we could drive to our hotel and unload out luggage and park the car. Then we walked back to the Scagliari Castle and through the old town behind its walls. We had dinner in a trattoria followed by a good night's sleep at the hotel.
22 April 1987 Wednesday. We slept in, as this was going to be a day to recouperate from our long drives. We had breakfast on the hotel patio looking out across the lake. After, we walked to the Roman palace at the end of the peninsula where we had great views of the lake with the Alps in the distance.
After lunch we decided to check out some of the towns on the western shore
of Lake Garda, and went half way up the lake stopping and walking around a couple very quaint towns before turning back. We had dinner back in Sirmione, and then turned in for the night.
23 April 1987 Thursday. We departed Sirmione and passed Milan on our way to Lake Como, where we headed along the west shore to Switzerland. We stopped in Lugano for lunch and a bit of sightseeing. We got back on the autostradda and drove through the Alps to Luzern where we checked into our hotel. We strolled around town, and crossed the Kapellbrucke, remembering our first trip there in 1964.
24 April 1987 Friday. After breakfast we drove to Zurich where we stopped briefly to get a picture of Zwingli's church. he was one of the early Protestant reformers. We generally do not spend much time in big cities, so we were soon on our way.
Our next stop was the Tibetan Buddhist monastery near Winterthur. My parents were married in Labrang, part of ethnological Tibet, in 1949. Although they had to evacuate China shortly thereafter, my Dad has had a continuing relationship with the Tibetan people. He spent many vacations visiting
the Tibetan communities in India and Nepal, and even met with the Dalai Lama. So for him, this visit would be the highlight of our trip. He spent a couple hours talking to the monks.
Our next stop was Rheinfalls near Schaffhausen, Germany where we stopped to see the falls and have a late lunch.
Then we drove through the Black Forest and rejoined the autobahn at Freiburg, where we headed north through the Rhine Valley. Near Mannheim we headed west towards Kaiserslautern, and stayed at a hotel near Ramstein, where we had lived from 1977 to 1980.
25 April 1987 Saturday. We drove by our old house in Glan Munchweiler, but didn't stop to see our old neighbors; we weren't sure whether they were still living as they were quite elderly and in poor health when we left seven years earlier.
We got on the autobahn and headed to Trier, for a quick break, before heading to Luxembourg. Just before getting to Luxembourg City we stopped at the American Cemetary where General George S Patton and many of the troops that he had led across northern France and in the Battle of the Bulge are
After a moment of silence, we drove into Luxembourg City for lunch and sightseeing. From there we drove through the Ardennes back home to Overijse.
My parents flew back to the States on April 29th which is both my Dad's and Linda's birthday. We had their birthday party and cake for lunch before taking my parents to the airport.
We had hoped to see Mom again in October when Rosanna was born, but my Dad had to go onto dialysis. So my Mom stayed with Dad and my Aunt Beulah came for six weeks in her stead. We had a wonderful time getting to know her again, as I hadn't spent much time with her and my other aunts since Christmas vacations during college. We would see my parents again for Christmas when we went back to the States.
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