Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fondue in Switzerland; Black Forest Cake in the Black Forest… Tick! And Tick!

We barely noticed crossing the Austria-Germany border. Unfortunately for our memories of Germany it was obviously the time of year to spray the fields with cowdung fertiliser = very aromatic! 

Germany was not surprisingly very similar to Austria… just a little bit more space between houses. We headed straight for Bavaria to the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles (typical German names are really long and sound much better if you yell them) and we were excited as our expectations were high. Lucky for us it rained most of the day, which meant no long queues for tickets and minimal people in our castle tours. Neuschwanstein was apparently the inspiration for the ‘Disney Castle’ but unfortunately was left unfinished as King Ludwig was deemed insane and ‘passed away’ (potentially suicide) before he completed it. His parents’ castle (Hohenschwangau) was actually more impressive to us as it had actually been used and lived in. Both made for great photos and the area was pretty special.

After exploring the old town of Fussen we found a traditional Bavarian Pub in Schwangau for dinner and entertainment. While Emily got stuck into beef goulash and spatzli with Radlers (beer + lemonade), Tim (as you can imagine) was in heaven with his pork knuckle and mash and a variety of wheat beers. The night came complete with traditional Bavarian music – which looked and sounded like a marching band on a stage wearing Lederhousins and Busty-German dresses.


We had been so impressed with the care that the German (and Austrian) people took in keeping their country clean. Everything was neat and tidy and if a garden looked a little messy, there was always someone elbow-deep in dirt getting it up to scratch. So much so that when we stopped behind a car at traffic lights while cycling out of the Bavarian region, we were shocked to see the driver throw his cigarette out the window. As it was in Tim’s reach he politely threw it back into the man’s car and told him he had dropped something. In hindsight, not the best idea when you don’t know how big the person in the car is… when he angrily got out of the car we thankfully were able to sneakily mount the footpath and make our escape – maybe not the smartest idea in the world Tim…

The rest of the day and the following was some of our most beautiful cycling. We followed the Lech river up the valley back into Austria and the town of Lech before heading off to cycle over the Flexen pass. I (Emily) barely even noticed we were at the top after our previous pass achievements, we enjoyed an adrenaline-filled ride downhill to Blundez through single lane tunnels controlled by traffic lights but still somehow with buses coming towards us. Conveniently the tunnels had windows and areas for bikes to stop and take photos.

Our first negative experience of Austria was a cranky old fat man who yelled at us in German when we tried to have a picnic. He apparently owned the random piece of grass across the road from his house… but we did find a place by the river for lunch.

Still heading west we entered Lichtenstein barely noticing the change of country except for the currency. We thought we’d give the little country some time so had dinner, watched the sunset and spent a lovely night on the edge of a cornfield. We noticed the next morning just how small the country is! – entering Switzerland over the Rhine and up past Buchs towards Wildhaus we could see the whole valley and therefore all of Lichtenstein!

Cycle paths through Switzerland were great! So easy to follow. And when the path involves the road there is always a cycle lane. We made our last pass (Wildhaus) and down to Wattwill and Jona, and were enjoying just how green it is in Switzerland! As we rode across the bridge over Lake Zurich however it started to rain… and did not stop. We snuggled in the tent in the forest listening to the steady constant rain and made the wet journey next morning into Wurenlos - our second holiday home for the trip.

After a spectacular shower (everything’s relative), Olivia treated us to a hot lunch and we settled in to complete the dreaded ‘admin’. This took all of the following day as well but as the rain had cleared and Switzerland was turning on the warm, sunny weather for us. We spent the next day exploring Zurich with Olivia and swimming in the river. A few beers, BBQ dinner with both Olivia and Timo and the day was complete.

Following day we embarked on an epic train journey with Uncle Robbie and headed up to Jungfrau. Really something special!! And the weather did not disappoint and we struggled to find any clouds to point out! The weather station had 360deg view of the mountains and glacier, and our favourite… the trek through the snow up to the hut – we were overloaded with stunning natural landscape… it was worth every minute of the long day.

Friday-Saturday our bikes looked a little lonely so we took an overnight ride to Lake Constance/Konstanz. Passing by the Rhinefall was great – they get between 250,000-600,000 litres of water down a second!! Depending on the season... sure looked like we didn’t miss out. Bathing/swimming and then camping on the bank of the Rhine with swans gliding past – the afternoon couldn’t get much better!

After breakfast we rode into Konstanz – slight detour when Emily took a wrong turn across a bridge and ended up in a different country! – thankfully no big deal in this part of the world. Beautiful by the lake but as it was the weekend, was packed with tourists and families out for the markets.

After a small afternoon tea stop at Robbie’s place, we made it home to Wurenlos and were welcomed by Evelyn and Roland who had just returned from France. Amazing hospitality, we really felt like part of the family. Another BBQ and we were both in heaven.

We set out the following day for a long drive over the Klausen-pass. Slightly different scenery – more like the Dolomites we thought… beautiful! We were treated to a traditional Swiss lunch of fish, meat and cheese by the Lake of Lucerne before heading home for a traditional Raclette dinner with the whole family… What can we say – we love cheese so are in our element in Switzerland.

The weather was not slowing down! – so we spent the next day exploring the old town of Baden with Evelyn and the following on a drive to Titisee and Schluchsee through the Black Forest with both Evelyn and Olivia. And yes, you guessed it… We couldn’t go past a piece of black forest cake! The day (and our stay in Wurenlos) was topped off with dinner later that night – an amazing fondue!

We left this morning in the direction of Geneva and are sitting having a picnic dinner by the Aare River. Life is good. By the time we posted this 3 days later life is still good but damp, after the wonderful weather we got our share of rain these last few days. Crossing into France this afternoon.

No comments:

Post a Comment