Had a good night's sleep, got the car packed up and had set off by 8.40am. We went to the carparks at the bottom of Castle Neuschwanstein, bought tickets, then walked up a winding mountain path through forest, up to the castle.
After feeling disappointed with the view of the castle yesterday, when we got up the hill today and saw it from the other side, it looked as cool as heck!! The mountains surrounding it, and the views all around were impressive too. We hung around outside for a while, standing on the slightly scary over-hanging viewing platform.
It was a long way down!
We then went in the courtyard, and waited for our guided tour to begin.
After that we walked along a path, which had a great view of another nearby castle - Schloss Hohenschwangau, and took us to a ravine with the bridge over.
It was quite high up!
In Austria, just over the German border, we hit a traffic jam, and moved 7 miles in over 1.5 hours. (Half of the road was being excavated.) We seriously could not complain about the view or the weather though!
Early on in the traffic jam, when we were on a bridge, we happened to see a helicopter rescue going on, with people on the outside of the helicopter, winching someone up into it.
We finally got moving at about 1.30pm, and still had 4.5 hours of driving ahead of us to our Italian destination.
The Austrian Alps were beautiful. Snow capped mountains, meadows with more of my little huts, cows with cowbells...
We also drove past Innsbruck, and saw the ski jump used in various Olympics.
It was funny to notice the almost immediate changes in the style of buildings once we were in Italy.
We ended driving for 6 hours straight, and it was fine - didn't really seem that long. The kids were good. Here's Harry with his swan from Neuschwanstein, and his journal.
I'd also seen the idea on Pinterest to dry out blobs of watercolour paint onto sheets of paper, and then the kids could use them to paint with like a mini palette, with the use of a water-filled paint brush. Here's Harry painting a volcano.
Definitely Italian looking! Snapped this out the window (like all of the journey pictures), but I really like it. (You can click on any picture to see it enlarged.)
Our destination in Italy was the house of an old Secondary School friend - Sarah. Her American husband works for the military, and they live near Vicenza. We had lost touch for ages, but then found each other again through Facebook. Sarah and I met up in Nottingham more recently - both our sets of parents still live a few streets apart, in the houses which Sarah and I grew up in.
Sarah had prepared a lovely meal for us, and we had a relaxed evening chatting. It was just great seeing her again, and getting to know Mitch a bit, and their children.
Sarah and Mitch have two lovely kids - Zoe (6) and Jake (8). Our kids all got on well, and went off and played together. Their house is pretty big, and they live mainly upstairs - all marble floors and balconies. Harry and Tom slept in Jake's room, Lucy and Jack slept in the downstairs living room (though Zoe really wanted Lucy to sleep in with her!), and Scott and I had a lovely guest bedroom.