Friday, March 4, 2011

If youThink this is about Austria...... are right - in a way. But not altogether.

Back in 1990 I was - rather, WE were - afforded an opportunity to go to Europe for ten days. It was an offer that came at the last minute and was too good to turn down. It was a basic ten days to Austria, with an optional side trip to the Oberammergau passion play. However, the Passion Play was sold out and we were going to end up with a free day midway in the Austria basic tour.

We had never spent time in the Tyrol region of Europe and it was an exciting experience. We went to castles and beautiful churches - visited Innsbruck and its golden roof - and Crystal stores. We went to Lichtenstein and admired chalets
and even endured something like 27 hairpin turns climbing a mountain to a ski resort (there was snow even in July!). And we loved the small village of Ischgl where our alpine hotel was located and the Tyrolean music and dance programs.

However, when the side trip to Oberammergau came up, and we didn't have tickets, we began to wonder what to do that day. There's only so much sightseeing in a small town like Ischgl, and even less shopping opportunities. So those of us who were not headed for the Passion Play got together to see what we might do. Someone said, "Let's rent a car and go to Italy for spaghetti." At first glance, that seems odd, but we were very close to the Italian border and we said, "Why not?" So we hired a car and driver for the next day.

We did not stop to think that it might not settle well with the travel company, and when the company representative heard about it he came to the conclusion that he better go with us so that we did not become an international problem.

To make a long story short, we DID go to Italy, we Did have spaghetti, we had a wonderful time, and we got back to our Austrian hotel before the group got back
from Germany and the Passion Play. What fun - and we all survived - including the company representative who breathed a sigh of relief when it was all done and said it was worth every minute of our time together.

But it didn't end there - we added another ten day tour onto the Austria event. We took an extension that included France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. By the time it was over we knew, without doubt, that the old travel saying that 'If it's Tuesday, it must be Paris' has some truth to it.

So the title is true -- if you thought this was going to be about Austria - that was true, but was only a part of the whole story.

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