We were quite surprised and excited to learn that we would also be visiting Italy. The purpose of the trip was in fact to take us to a shop belonging to a friend of Paul, our bus driver, where we would be encouraged to buy liquor and Italian leather handbags ... whatever! We can be hard nosed about not buying stuff!
We enjoyed a lot of delightful scenery on our way through the Austrian Alps and into the Italian Alps into the delightful little village of Vipiteno.
The place was chock-ful of tourists, although - unlike places like Prague - we heard very little English being spoken around us.
As we expected, we were not in the least tempted by the booze or the bags - they were not very special prices at all - so we wandered around the tiny streets between the mountains.
we found a nice little cafe
and had a genuine Italian Cappuccino.
There is this lake, where on a good day you can take one of those photos with such clear reflections it's hard to know which way up to hold it.
Despite the bus driver visiting it with us three times, we never did catch it at a reflective moment. Nevertheless, it's a beautiful spot.
Innsbruk, capital of Austria
Bet you didn't know that - we didn't! So after Vipiteno, we dropped into Innsbruk. We had lunch at a MacDonald's - haven't done that for a while! At this stage Crosby had caught Peter's cold/'flu and wasn't feeling too flash.
Another church - a cathedral - and more spectacular marble and painting.
The second castle we visited, known as the "wedding Cake", the palace at Linderhof is where Ludwig actually chose to live.
It's not that big, and lavishly decorated inside, and again, not that old. In fact it's all very sad for so many reasons. The throne room that never had an audience, the dining room for him alone, the exquisite paintings and sculptures, all just for Ludwig himself.
Again we couldn't take photos inside, but the grounds were beautiful too.
Statues, and fountains - including one that periodically shoots 30 feet into the air - and beautiful gardens.
There were beautiful walkways overgrown with vines,
and statues of horses with serious sinus problems.
We climbed the hill to the man-made grotto, all set up with lights and water to watch operas - by himself.
That's water running down those steps. The man certainly had an eye for beauty and a sense of fun, but in the end they all thought he was mad and it seems very sad.
Time to move on to another post.