Gruß Gott! (South Tirol greeting)

Today we ventured out of Italy and into Austria, though Bolzano and environs can feel much closer to Vienna than Rome. We made good use of our train passes and took the train to the Brenner pass and then changed to continue into Austria and on to Innsbruck. I remember the days when you had to show your passport on the train if you were crossing borders. We got tickets to the train/gondola/gondola up to the top of the mountain overlooking Innsbruck, and though it was a bit cloudy–wow. The views were incredible. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. After lunch and wandering around some of the trails at the top of the mountain, we came down and explored the town, which is very charming, soaking in the atmosphere and sampling some pastries. It is really the first time in several weeks we have heard English. There were small groups of tourists, but again, we are finding some hidden jewels off the beaten track that are as rewarding as the well-worn favorites. We were even rewarded with a double rainbow on the train ride home. Tomorrow we will reprise our driving tour from last year, which was one of the absolute highlights for me. Alessandro will take us into the mountains and show us the best the Dolomites have to offer. The weather should hold off on rain at least in the morning, but summer in the mountains usually means some storms to deal with as well.

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