Our week in Aviano was pleasant but uneventful. I worked and the boys hung out mostly at the playgrounds on base. There were three nice playgrounds within walking distance and the boys had fun making “English” friends. (Friends are categorized according to the language they speak.)

We left at 0700 on Saturday morning but still hit tons of traffic traveling north to the Austrian border. We saw a 10 – 15 km back up that convinced me to leave even earlier on the way back! Despite the traffic, the ride was scenic through a valley with mountains on each side. The last leg of the journey was through a pass which was obviously closed in winter. I was a little freaked out. There were precipitous drops a meter from the side of the road which was winding and tiny. Luca drove cautiously (i.e. slow) and soon we had a line of cars behind us. It was a long, long time before they could pass. They were pretty frustrated and each saluted us with a beep! (The Austrians and Germans also drive fast but they do drive well….unlike some other nationalities that I shall not name… ITALIANS.) The scenery was breathtaking with green pastures and the loveliest, most healthy looking cows I‘ve ever seen. It was tough for me to take it all in considering I had to focus on keeping my breathing relaxed.

Finally, we reached our destination (sigh). Easy to find because it was well marked unlike another country that shall remain nameless….ITALY.) Reception was closed but we buzzed and out came the most relaxed looking dude. There was no real check-in so we asked where to go. He points to a field where many tents were already pitched. “Wherever you find a spot.”

Hmmm, ok. I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of not having our own clearly delineated campsite. However, the Austrians and Germans are easy to live with. They are quiet and considerate. There was a large group of young people next to us. I saw beer bottles and feared what was going to transpire later in the evening. They sat around drinking beer and talking quietly. Huh?

Our “spot”

RV spots – pretty tight!

View of mountains from campsite

Many people cleared out on Sunday leaving us more breathing room. It may be different from U.S. style camping but it was still nice. The campground was small and had a river next to it which was popular with kayakers and rafters. There is so much to do in Lechtal Valley (http://www.ausserfern-direct.at/austria/lechtal.php). There is hiking, great biking (easy and difficult), kayaking, paragliding and touring around the little villages. There is also both downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter.

River by the campsite – Very cold!

Kayakers enjoying the swift current