A Travellerspoint blog

DAY 108 - Sunday 16th August - Neuhausen to Hallau to

... Schaffhausen to Diessenhofen to Oberstdorf (Germany) 'Happy Birthday to Stef'

It's time to sing the birthday song to the birthday girl who's 29 today, just like me. Yes i'm 29, just like all the others state when they are in their 30s. That is until you reach the next decade of the 40s in which you'll forever be 31...well until the decades of the 50s but not thinking that far ahead! Now the weather may not be showing the birthday girl some sun but you still can't take away the scenery that surrounds us. As we look to see everyone with their waterproofs on as they get out of their cars, we are putting on our bikinis. Yes its slightly cold, yes there's light drizzle with no sun to warm us up and yes the lake may not be as refreshing as it could be but Stef wants to jump in the river and there may not be many opportunities for me to also.

So off we go and head to the quiet area of the river that we went to yesterday, where Ellie had a swim, as there were steps to get in and out off too. As we got down to the river side we let Ellie off first and jump in to get it out of her system the most, then it was my turn...and in i went in which the hairs on my arms were standing to attention but once I jumped in it was quite refreshing still, not too cold. Stef on the other hand is looking very wary and not sure about it. I try to coax her in and I'm doing so from the same spot i'm swimming in as with the tide being quite strong i'm swimming treadmill style!

After trying to get Stef in for a swim i'm failing but then she puts her legs onto the steps ... getting closer. Suddenly a boat comes by and looks to dock to where we are (but still room for us to swim in) and that's it, that's the excuse, that she can't possibly get in now!! Well i did try! So swim done (well mine and Ellie's!), van up and ready to go but our first stop is back to the waterfalls to take a photo of the map of the villages upon the river here. One thing i failed to say yesterday was that these Waterfalls, Rheinfall, is the largest plain waterfall in Europe, little bit of a fact for you! The villages we decide upon are Hallau (going back on yourselves for 10km), Schaffhausen and Dissenhofen before heading to Oberstdorf (Germany) to stop for the night.

On route to Hallau we need to find croissants for breakfast and thinking about it now with it being a Sunday we may not be so lucky. Scrap that, we see a petrol station which has a Spar attached, hurrah! Keep forgetting sometimes that i'm not in Spain and Italy where food items are not sold at Petrol Stations like we are so use to at home. Stef went in and bought the biggest croissants known to man so i think i won't be needing lunch later! We arrive at Hallum and it's not quite what we read about but its got charm. Mind you we have to remember its a Sunday so not much is happening so the whole Village is deserted. Here in the Bronze Age weapons where found, the first traces of a settlement date from the Roman era and the Bergkirche St. Moritz is listed as a Swiss Heritage site of national significance which was built in 1491. So this is where we decide to cook and eat breakfast, up by the church which is surrounded by vineyards, and breakfast is cooked and served consisting of the croissants bought this morning, bacon and scrambled egg. Yum!

Also up the hill towards the church were signs for some Roman ruins and as we were going on up suddenly we're not too sure a) where the next sign is and b) are we going in the right direction? After breakfast we continue up the hill and see another sign and follow the arrow. About 2km later we see the same sign but going in the opposite direction. Confused.com! We head back to see if we missed a turning but nope, nothing, nothing until we see the same sign we followed to go the way in which we've just come. Confused.com. Then it's the wording i start to recognise from my GCSE days...what the sign was trying to tell us was that we were on a Roman road....so we drove on a Roman road between those two signs!!

Next is Schaffhausen and more things are open in this small town, shops are shut but restaurants and cafes are open for the tourists mostly i think. Rain is still drizzling on down with a chill in the air so we have our coats on to see this old city with 171 bay windows built in the Renaissance period with artistically painted facades. This was a city that came to being at the location where trading ships had to set anchor because the Rhine Falls made it impossible to travel further. City seen and before moving on we settle on a shortbread and jam biscuit to share with a drink at a cafe. That was mainly lunch as breakfast was still digesting its way down! As we drove over the bridge we looked behind and saw a castle on the hill....so we turned round to head on up to see it! Turns out its the Munot which is a 16th century fortification surrounded by vineyards and serves as the city's symbol. The ring shaped fortress today is a tourist attraction but also host various events up on the open top.

Next is Diessenhofen which took us in and out of Germany again as we are so close to the boarders here, and you know when you're in Germany with the yellow road signs that they have here! Cute village and as its the last place we are going to visit in Switzerland then it's time to get rid of the remaining swiss francs that i have in my pocket. So off to a very lovely hotel / restaurant and bar and head on in to get us a couple of drinks for just over the 10 swiss francs i have left. I put all of my money in-front of the bar man and ask what two drinks can i possibly get for my money, so 2 beers?! He says that should cover it but Stef doesn't want a beer and so is asking for something non alcoholic thinking it'll be cheaper than what she had in her head. 'Stef, just say what you'd like and lets see if he'll give it to us as he's being helpful so far!' So we ask for a pint of larger and a small glass of white wine and he servers whilst taking the coins off the bar for payment. Now i'm 100% sure, and knowing Swiss prices, that we didn't have enough at all for the drinks but he gave the drinks to us anyway which was lovely of him.

As we sat outside i could see the barman point to us with a guy next to him. This guy comes on over and speak Swiss German of which the barman shouts over, 'English, you need to speak English!'. Not sure he knew much English as he kept speaking Swiss German and pointed to Stef's boots and then to mine saying All Stars! Don't know exactly what he was trying to say but he shook his head at Stef's shoes! Also i think the barman was showing us to this guy, as turns out he was the boss, so he's probably showing him who he gave cheap drinks to!

Drinks done and we head into Austria but soon back into Germany (!) on route to where we are going to rest our heads for the night. The drive was full of woodlands, mountains, castles, painted homes / buildings, rivers and lakes of which Stef wished to see deers but too close to the main road they wouldn't come this far. Its getting dark by now and the first campsite we come to we find its closed but actually that became a blessing in disguise. The next one was a car park area by a restaurant which had great facilities of a WC and shower etc. Its certainly time for food but as its 9.01pm i'm not sure if they'll still be serving food at this time, especially as its a Sunday.

We go on in and try anyway but the kitchen closed at 8pm and i thought so as before we went through the door i could see the kitchen being cleaned on up! We could though take in the restaurant, which was so authentic with the family (who owned and lived there) dressed up too, with a bottle of wine as we still needed to raise a toast to the birthday girl. What the lovely lady did do was that once the kitchen was cleaned up so managed to rustle up some bread and cheese for us to have with our wine. Perfect!

The bill came and i handed over my card as i was out of euros with being so use to just having swiss francs. The lady owner / waitress shook her head. I then handed over another but again she shook her head...and then another. Well this isn't working out too well! She went off and returned with a card that they only take and the reason being is that the numbers on the card are flat, unlike all of my cards (and cards that i've only known!) had the numbers raised slightly. With being half a bottle of wine down and no cash i told her that in the morning, if she trusted me, that i would bring cash in which she told me the nearest ATM machine was 4km down from here. I did try to give her my driving licence as collateral but she trusted us luckily. Well that was an interesting end to the day! After a long one time for bed...and time to explore Austria better!

Posted by emmabrown1014 03:06 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 107 - Saturday 15th August - Zurich to to Neuhausen

'Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls'

We wake up and it was a bit chilly in the night to say the least, in fact the cold reminded my of the days in April when i did Land's End to John O'Groats coming across rain and snow on my travels! The skies above were looking overcast once more but for now the rain was holding off...just! I'm up at 8am for when reception opened so i can get the washing done, and for that i need money changed but i'm slowly running out of Swiss Francs so not sure what i can get. Change given and with check out at 11.30am i have enough time for 2 loads it seems but not enough money so one load it is...bedding and towels will just have to wait for another day!

Washing in and back to the van where it's time to get some breakfast and it's looking busy at the shop already with it's cute seating area outside on a lodge decking area and fairy lights. Croissants chosen and its time to check in on the washing with a swap over to the dryer. Now you would have thought that i would have gotten to grips with the dryer as it was the same for the washing machine, that when you pressed the program you wanted to just then press start. Why i was flummoxed as to why it wasn't working i don't know...until some kind lady kept repeating a word to me. I turned to her blankly and she just went ahead and pressed start Job done!

We had a walk around the lake exclusive to here and its a shame we're not to be able to jump into it but it had a slight chill to it even though there was a man's head bobbing about out of the water talking away to the people on the side. There was a really lovely bar / restaurant also and if we knew about this last night then we would have certainly have come down here as i'm positive it would have been open, even though i couldn't hear the chatting as its near to where we were. There was a large marquee set up next to it with tables being arranged ready for a wedding it seemed. Beautiful setting, its such a shame the weather was how it was.

Okay so showers are done, washing is done, van is packed, breakfast eaten and we are off...but only 2km down the road heading in the opposite direction of Zurich in which we were going to see this time in daylight. Now do you remember what was 2km down the road from the campsite from yesterday's blog?? It's the Lindt factory!!!! As we headed on down i was disappointed as there i was telling Stef of this chocolatey aroma that hits your nose so pungently for there not to be one when we came across the factory. Seems like the machines are not working on a Saturday to give off those smells but the shop is open so all is not bad.

Oh wow, just a massive shop full of every chocolate mix known to man with the covering of Lindt chocolate and what was more surprising, especially the way that Switzerland has been shaping up, was that its all so very very cheap!! A lady walks on round with a tray of different flavours for you to try...wine tasting, cheese tasting, spicy meat tasting and now chocolate. I think my travels of tasting are now complete and i'm sold on the lime flavoured crunchy chocolate! My problem was that there was so much to choose from so i chose wisely and when i didn't think i had enough then i went for the pick and mix to get one of each of the balls...just to make sure i'm getting a variety to test my likeness.

To the till and i feel its going to be a whopper but 22 euros ain't bad for the what i had and still cheaper than a main meal in Switzerland of which this would take me a week to get through if i'm good...but that's only if i'm good! I ask Stef to drag me on out otherwise we'd never be moving and we headed on in to see Zurich once more. Parked up at the same spot and we walked on by the lake once more where Ellie got excited as she's spotted a place she can jump in on...so we find a stick so she can. We throw it in again but the ducks are heading to the stick so Ellie looks to me before she jumps in and lets that one pass. So i find another and throw it in but the ducks even more so crowd together where its made a splash and Ellie looks to me once more with the face saying, 'really....you really want me to go right into the middle of those ducks to get the stick'. Come on Ellie, time to move on! Stef i think got it right, i think the ducks thought we were throwing in food for them to eat, they'd be disappointed when they try to chew on a stick!

As we started walking around the city, and moving away from the lake, that's when it happened...the rain started to fall once more. Every now and then we try to take refuge by a shop door openings but what's that really going to achieve as you're still going to be wet no matter how many seconds you manage to stay out of it for! We keep on walking and Stef needs to change some money as she's only got Stirling so we head to the train station, as guided by some workers who we asked, and went to the Western Union. Turns out the train station has the cheapest food in Switzerland...at a small size but still cheaper! Stef got some chips with a free fried prawn by the guy serving which kept her happy until we were able to return to a cafe we first spotted to grab some lunch. I spotted a spinach and feta quiche that i couldn't wait to dive into.

Cafe found and quiche is in the oven to warm up, which hopefully will warm me up too, whilst Stef has a huge salad (even though it was a small) with goats cheese and a delightful spinach and feta muffin to complement it. One trouble we had was that as there were no tables inside so it meant finding a tiny spot on the tables outside where there was a covering but only a tad. But that bought up another issue...birds, Stef is petrified of birds so Ellie has to be on duty to make sure they stayed well away! If its not heights its birds with these visitors....what am i petrified off i start to wonder.

Food eaten and there is only so much rain you can withstand so we headed back to the van for heat and dryness before we head onto the .... well the waterfalls!! So we go from the rain to a waterfall, what better thing to do when its already raining water, who'd figure! On route and we find a supermarket to get some food for dinner and breakfast the next day, both to be cooked on the stove in the van el fresco style. Food bought and then not half an hour down the road i see something different to what i'm use to...the signs are changing up ahead....we are heading into Germany!! Boarder control we fly on through our end, coming on in to Switzerland there's a bit of a queue but we don't care about that. Now Neuhausen is in Switzerland according to the guide as to where we are staying but obviously going via German, but no tolls to pay unlike the shock me and Del were getting ourselves into when originally i saw my first Swiss sign!

As we forgot a couple of items from our shopping list, of which there were only really 6 items on it and we still managed not to come out with it all, we found a German supermarket and wow....the prices are so very much different! You are basically looking at a near half of what we are paying in Switzerland which bought us to the point, why didn't we buy it all here...which brings me to another point, how did i know we were going to head via Germany which stock cheaper food. Cheaper prices noted for when i'm in Germany and also the petrol ain't too bad here also.

Neuhausen is right on the boarder as when we crossed through a small avenue of trees to get to where we were staying to park our van and our heads later we hit Switzerland again. Parking on up and its packed here...and its a shame that its still raining but everyone looks wrapped up in their waterproofs, us on the other hand a different story! We head down through the trees and down the steep muddy trackway to the side of the lake which takes us to the waterfall and what a sight to see and one formation that started 500,000 years ago. We see a map of the other villages on this lake, places that may be worth a visit so we take a photo to see if they are on route to where we are heading tomorrow, which is half way to here and Innsbruck...so we are quite flexible!

At the waterfalls we see a wedding party heading on in to the stone circular building built on the lake with a bridge to get over to it, again a beautiful setting but the weather is rubbish for it. That's when i told Stef that myself and Del gatecrashed a wedding and then i saw an idea formulate in Stef's mind. No, no, no...i'm not going there again! Also i think 2 sodden clothed and dripping haired people may be caught out as gatecrashers as soon as we step foot in there and also you can see by the window overlooking the waterfall that they are only at the sit-down stage. You need to wait until the bride and groom have gone and be drunk enough to have the confidence to waltz on in and start chatting to the wedding guests from my experience!

Back to the van and we're not quite done with walking so we wonder to the other side of the place in which we've parked to see what else there is, and there are another set of steps which head on down to the side of the lake where its so very quiet apart from a boat that's parked on up. Ellie takes this opportunity to wanting to jump in the lake so a stick is found and thrown and the current is quite strong but she's a good swimmer. Suddenly she's slow getting the stick and then finds herself getting close to a massive wooden pole on its side that corners off something from the shed next to it where the boat is docked and Ellie thinks she can climb on this to get over and out the other side, but its still not coming out of the lake that way.

After teaching Ellie where the steps were before she went in all that obviously went out of the window and suddenly as i see Ellie looking like she's trying to grab onto the slippery wooden pole and not getting anywhere fast it looks like i'm heading on it so off comes the camera, the lead, the....nope she's got it, she's coming to the lake side where there are rocks to help her on up and out! Things like that never stop her because as soon as she's shaken herself down its stick time at my feet once more to throw on in...this time she finds the steps to easily get out after guidance from me!

After Ellie's exercise we head to the van to cook up some pasta whilst opening up a bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 which from my knowledge now of wine in that region is a good year. One glass of wine down, dinner cooked and we walk on down the steep muddy pathway to the side of the lake once more to look at the view of the waterfalls as we eat...not forgetting the remainder of the wine. As we sit on the bench i think those passing us as we ate and drank liked our thinking of a picnic this evening! With a glass of wine left to go Stef spots a small wooden boat that has one chair in front of the wheel and wooden benches on the side for tourists to sit. It's all tied up to the side and easy access on so we enter and relax to the gentle rocking of the water on the boat whilst we enjoy the rest of the wine and view. Perfect. Suddenly dark descends down quite quickly and with not much light to find our way back up the steep walkway we head on back, and its been a long busy day so bed it is as tomorrow will be a busy one too...also as it's someone's birthday don't you know.

Posted by emmabrown1014 22:55 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 106 - Friday 14th August - Zug to Zurich

'The Curse Of The 2m Car Parks - Strikes Again'

Time to wake up and have a walk over to the lake and as it's the crack of dawn its so quiet out here...well apart from the runners taking in the cool air as the rain has stopped at the moment. Walk, wee and poo done (in that order) and an early off to get to the campsite in Zurich to have a shower as it's really time after not having one for 7 days now. Then washing to be done and the cleaning of the van, all perfect this plan, and what made it even more perfect is that on route there was a massive aroma of chocolate in the air before i could see that the Lindt chocolate factory is only 2km from the campsite...and it has a shop!! Going there before we leave here that's for sure.

Well this plan was going to be perfect, and it was until i got to reception. Apparently they have a check out of 11.30am and apparently they can't let you in until they've assessed what they've got and that means not coming back til 2pm...really, but can you not smell that i need a shower desperately?!? So we had about 3 1/2 hours to kill and after finding the centre of Zurich i found a place for which i could use my permit. We walked along side the river and was about to sit down by the harbour, as i could pick up some free wifi, and that's when it hit me...massive drops of rain. There's certainly been a bit more rain recently these last couple of weeks, and i'm meant to be in Europe, in August, travelling in the summer still! Not just us Brits who can moan at the weather it seems during the summer months.

So we find shelter under the bridge but it's not really easing off but at least its turned to a light drizzle so you can move on round the city, although at first i thought i was heading to the city but there was a sign pointing the other way...time to do a u turn! Into the centre and across the bridge we come to a very wealthy and beautiful city. As the rain was still pouring obviously Ellie was still getting wet and when do you think she found the best spot to have a shake to dry herself, even though there was no getting dry? Well she decided the best spot was right outside a 5* hotel with a man in a very expensive suit waiting for a taxi. She shook right onto his nice black, was dry and expensive looking trousers. I'm so so sorry i said but he just laughed as we walked on by, Ellie could you shake anywhere else less acceptable?!

Time is ticking on and it's nearly 1.30pm so i make my way back to the van and back to the campsite, a little earlier than 2pm to make sure i'm in a queue to get in as by the sounds of it it may be getting busy with all these checks of spaces in-between check in and check out. At reception it sounds like i'm getting one of the last spots as the girl is glad mine is a tiny van compared to the motorhome beasts that are around so i can park on up. One downside is that its too far away from plugging in for electricity but that's not the end of the world, at least i'm in and can get a shower.

I park on up and i see loads of spaces available, even ones closer to the electricity units but maybe the others have booked and coming later. Shower time!!!!! And with it being one without a token i can take as long as i want...and savour each and every moment of hot water after being soaked through with our walk around Zurich. I try to get the van as clean as possible but with each step in and out with the muddy feet i had to admit a small part of defeat...and I didn't have time to wash and dry my clothes or bedding so that'll have to be done later. Time is ticking away and so much so that i must run to get Stef!

It's a bit tight getting to the airport on time as, a) yes i faffed around getting the van ready and with my shower, b) there are roadworks being done in the city so i'm diverted the long way round, c) it seems like London as when you have traffic lights every 100 yards that they must turn red before you are able to reach the next set, d) i can't take the toll road i forgot as i don't have one of those permit things you need, e) the rain is slowing everyone down and finally f) the buses have priority over every single light and passage way!

Getting nearer to the airport and i'm 15 minutes after Stef's already late arrival time of which i checked before heading off...just enough time to park on up and run to the arrivals gate maybe, but wishing i could lose at least 5 minutes of that. That wish came true as TomTom wanted to take me one way but a sign i saw to the airport was pointing another so i took the sign even though i was only 3km away...now this was a bonus albeit for one small thing; i found myself on the motorway!!!! Of all the times i've been in Switzerland i've avoided it and now this happens, i'm on the motorway which was meant to be avoided at all costs as i don't have a permit thing...but i was only on it for 1km so i think i got away with it.

Heading to arrivals and i see that i need car park number 3 as that's where EasyJet comes into and so i follow although i had a bad feeling about this and time wasn't on my side if anything was to go wrong. Oh how wrong it went as car park number 3 was underground and as i went up the slip road on the overpass i was on i saw the sign that the maximum height was 2m. Brilliant!! And i'm on a one way slip road to that very car park with no way off!! So i reverse to get back onto the main overpass once more and i could keep myself in the left hand lane of the slip as this was sectioned off as you came onto it by cones before bringing the two lanes back into play.

So i waited, and waited and waited and....well i got bored and started reversing even more so that in the end someone had to let me out as no one was stopping. A BMW 4x4 stopped to allow me space to reverse out, flashing his hazards on so that everyone behind him would wait...Thank You!!! So time has definitely slipped and i have no idea now how i'm meant to park up as car park number 1 and 2 were also 2m heights...so where was i meant to park?!?!?

I went round again, round the overpass to choose where next to go and i decided upon drop offs, even though i wasn't dropping off but it's the only place left and it didn't have a sign with a height restriction on it. Its a small airport so it looked like arrivals and departures were next to each other and as i pulled out the ticket to get the barrier to open and let me in i found a spot. Now looking around and noticing the time in which i must have missed Stef through the gates i wondered what best to do. As i jumped out the van I still trying to come up with a plan as I grabbed my phone but then who is right in front of me shouting....'Emma!' It's Stef!!!!! How on earth did you get to be exactly where i parked up and you spotted me looking so calmly as you did as i'm in panic mode right now!

Turns out that Stef didn't know where we were to meet up but the arrivals gate was the best place so i could see her but she wandered out to the drop off area of all places. The timing of everything went well; from the delayed flight, from me making up time on the motorway only to lose it again trying to reverse out of the slip road, to Stef going to the ladies room and finding herself at the drop off. It was that perfect the timing that i had only been holding the ticket for less than 5 minutes and 5 minutes was free as i tried to pay at the machine just in case but it didn't want any of my money. Whoop whoop!! Better than 10 euro charge for doing the exact same thing in Bologna with Del!

So like Deacs, Stef bought the rain with her from the UK...anyone else coming out can you please stop it with the rain as i'm getting bored of it now! It takes double the time to get into the centre of Zurich as the traffic is the heaviest traffic i've seen in Europe. We were at a standstill and i couldn't figure out if it was normal peak hour traffic or the rain slowing everyone down. As we sit at one of the traffic lights the guy next to us starts chatting (windows down as still warm even though it's raining!) and says that my left back brake light has gone. Also that i should have my lights on as they've changed the law in Switzerland that even during the brightest of any days that the lights have to be on. Strange but i took what he said as i'd get fined otherwise he said.

A police car then tries to come out to the road in which i was on...you can come in-front of me so you don't see the rear left brake light isn't working! Still in traffic and i try to do a sneaky on another road but then we sit in traffic once more! Finally we get to the parking space where i was earlier in the day as we've decided to see Zurich before going back to the campsite. Rain is still falling and it doesn't seem like it's gonna slow down anytime soon but it's lighter than what it was. As i've done a walk around this morning i'm able to show Stef the sights in which to see and we start on one side of the river in which there are more cafes and restaurants.

So with that we decide to eat and it was time to experience the cheese fondant that i've not had before and we find a really cute restaurant a few roads off from the tourists areas and had a lovely table at the back so that Ellie can have her own space. And what a fondant it was...as we're trying not to burn our mouths but its so good that you keep scooping for more not caring that it's still burning the top of your mouth! With that we had spicy sausages and a side salad which got cleaned out and off the plates. The price of the meal you try not to think about too much otherwise you'd starve yourself out here, and it's nice to have at least one meal at a restaurant...even with it costing about £18 for a cheese fondant made for one!!

Next was a walk around to the other side of the river, the posh part with designer shops and 5* hotels. What we both agree on is the window displays here are second to none. It's a strange thing to mention but it's not when you have something that is a massively a cut against the rest of Europe that it actually makes you notice them more. The displays here really do showcase their products of flowers, chocolates, children's toys, antiques, clothing...everything! The other thing about this part of the town, with the expensive items in the amazing window displays, is that it seems like its all independent shops. There were a couple of designer shops but all in all the majority was independent which was so refreshing to see.

Up upon the park area where you could see Zurich from above, with the lights on the bridges and shining on through the cafes and bars, there was a guy dancing on the ledge. Now this ledge had a good 100 feet until he could hit something but the music was taking him somewhere with his drink swaying in his hand for him to find extra riskay dancing on a ledge...each to their own!

Zurich at night is done and we head back to the van with the rain stopping to give us some dry time. As we head on down the road we spot about 1.5km's from the campsite something going on with lights, restaurant stands and drinks being served. We park on up and they have got this so right here, its a festival in which there are stages in which to see artists, whether it be dancing, singing, magicians, comedians, etc, where you can pay to see them on stage or you can move on round the bars and restaurants to see the street performers for free as they are showing off their talents also. We obviously went for the free range and i did something i've not had to do before....and that was for Stef's wine i had to pay a 2 euro deposit to make sure i returned the glass back!! And yes being on a budget i made sure that glass was returned upon exiting!

One of the acts though was just weird, so weird that i can't actually describe what skills they were trying to showcase as there didn't seem to be any skills?! Moving on and on a bridge we could see a stage on the other side that was set upon the lake with flamingo dancing going on, looking all very dramatic. Then by the bars and restaurants there was also a bonfire lit with everyone pretty much using all the spaces between the friends and strangers to keep warm on this wet filled and cold day. Time to go as i was getting nervous that the barrier to the campsite would be closed for us to get back into our little parking space for the night. Time was 10.45pm and as we got closer i could see that the barrier was up so we were all safe, phew!

An added bonus was that the shop was still open for us to get a couple more drinks to end the night. So we parked on up where i notice one thing...there are so many spaces around here still free so i'm left wondering why i'm stuck in the smallest one available!! Not only that but i had to manourver around a tight angle from hitting a van next to where we were going to park and the huge awning opposite pegged up. After finding our way in we headed over to the shop and the lights were still on with someone sweeping up. The door says it shuts at 11pm and it was its 10.58pm...get in!!

I try the door but it's locked and the girl looks up from her broom and shakes her finger. I stand looking confused so she comes on over as i show the time on my iPhone, 11.58pm She said according to her watch it's past 11pm and therefore she's closed....but i'm on GMT iPhone time, you can't get more accurate than that, it's like dialling the talking clock!! She's having none of it so we head round the corner to the toilet and as we head back to sit outside the shop for a moment i see a man exiting the shop, pulling the door so most definitely open, holding a bag of crisps. Erm lady, how come he was allowed in...did he talk louder than me?!?!

Day is done and so are we, as somehow also the rain takes it out of you that little bit more. Stef gets herself prepared for her first night on the top bunk of the Bongo. Night roomie! Another roomie to take their place on the top bunk and for Ellie to get confused for when she hears banging going on upstairs as they are getting themselves comfortable to sleep.

Wish List - Stef's safe arrival: tick

Posted by emmabrown1014 22:27 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 105 - Thursday 13th August - Weggis to Brunnen to Zug

'Tan Time'

The van started to get very warm early on so it was time to get on up and instead of having a shower at a cost of 2 euros i decided to go and have a swim with Ellie in the lake although my scalp is in much need of one i'm feeling! Off to the lake and its just me and Ellie once more until i see a lady come on down with her dog but i don't take much notice of them first of all as Ellie is keeping me busy bringing back the stick that i throw into the lake.

As the lady stands close to me i notice that she is holding a white stick so i deem it only polite to say something as so far the only thing she would have heard is Ellie splashing into the lake and shaking herself dry but not knowing who else is here. I say hello and she says she has limited english but as often enough their limited english is better than my Swiss German so we get on by. She's holding a toy for her dog that i can see is what will be thrown into the lake and i quickly realise that as she's heard Ellie jump into the lake that she's waiting for her to be out of it so she can throw hers in as she doesn't want to throw it on top of Ellie head as she can't see where she is! We get to take it in turns so when she hears that when Ellie is out she gets to throw hers in for her dog.

Stick throwing done, the lady and hers depart, and its time for us both to have a swim and get a semi wash whilst a bit of exercise of a morning. After a little lay down for us both to dry we head back to the van and i've decided that with the difference in weather this past week, and not being able to keep the tan topped up, Ellie took shelter to keep cool under the van as i had a tanning session by it. Why is it i can never lay in the sun...just can't do it. After an hour that was my lot, all done and i head to the kitchen area to take the water out that i've kept in their fridge as ours obviously is next to useless and its certainly needed today the cold water.

Reading the brochure the famers wife gave us i read that Weggis is really a town to see and then Brennen which is home of the Swiss Army knife. Weggis is so cute and we find a parking spot to use the permit once more which was right by the lake. Here the boat comes in and takes tourists off to see other parts of this lake, like Brennen, but we're taking the road route. Ellie has a swim in the lake and another dog joins her, only for the dog still to be on the lead with its owner and so its doing the treadmill version of the doggie paddle trying to get close to Ellie with her stick!

Having a walk around the town i come across the cutest sign to ask that dogs are kept on the lead, a cute wooden dog with a chain around its neck and attached to the tree near to it. Then i see a sign outside one of the shops which states, 'Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it'. So very true! What Weggis is also famous for is Twain first arrived here in 1878 to gather material for his satirical European traveologue, A Tramp Abroad...mine's not quite the same! Then he returned in 1897 with his family in financial difficulties and mourning the death of his daughter, they were looking for a quiet place to regroup. Stayed here for 10 weeks and he wrote, 'I believe that this place (Weggis) is the loveliest in the world, and the most satisfactory. The scenery is beyond comparison beautiful... Sunday in heaven is noisy compared to this quietness', he wrote in a letter that summer.

Next over to Brennen and we find another permit parking place not far from the harbours edge and have a walk around here too. The sun is baking and i feel that my tan is starting to come back again finally and again free wifi like there was in Weggis. Its the small things in life at the moment that make me happy!

So off to .... well i wasn't entirely sure what the plan was for today as we were running out of places to stay before we come to Zurich and ready to pick up Stef tomorrow. I thought about going to a real campsite so that i could wash the van, clothes and bedding but then we'd need a campsite for Step's first night as it's always nice to settle yourself with having all of the amenities at your front door step after travelling. After changing my mind a few times i made a decision that as Step's flight didn't get in til 4pm that meant we could get to a campsite first thing in the morning, have a shower and clean the bedding, clothes and van, which still gave plenty of time to get to the airport.

So the next place i could park up at, cheaper than a campsite but still a charge, is Zug which kind of reminds me of an evil planet somewhere in the Galaxy. Once we get there I can't take a left into the campsite which basically was right on the lake of which you needed to drive underneath a railway line to get to it. I take a right at the traffic lights few yards up to turn on round so i'm on the right side of the road for the entrance but then i see the permit sign again...hmmmm, could i do a sneaky as i can park in a row of cars under a tree which becomes a dead end in the next 200 yards. So i park up between cars and have a walk around this area first which has a tennis court, a stream running around it, a football pitch, child's play area, all in around blocks of residential flats so seems very safe enough.

Off next to the lake where the campsite is and on route we go through a tiny field just by the traffic lights at the crossroads of a major road with cows in it. There was also a barn in which you could hear more cows were in there too. What i did find amazing was that by the shed was a sliver dispenser machine, and with this machine you could bring your own bottle and for a coin to have fresh cold milk right from the barn! Turns out the campsite is packed, rammed even so i'm left wondering if there would have been a space anyway! I look at the prices at reception and the Swiss continue as they mean to go on, be expensive here for everything, absolutely everything! So the decision was made, i'll stay where i was instead.

It's still baking hot and having a swim in the lake this morning i'm not feeling the benefit now. Its too busy on the lake to go for a swim with Ellie, and i can't tie her up as i do so i use the outdoor showers; you know, the freezing ones you take by pools etc. Well it didn't matter how cold it was as it was heaven, and i managed to at least get my hair underneath it for a bit of cleanliness! And yes under my clothes there was a bikini so i wasn't doing this naked or in my underwear! Manage to find a sneaky spot for Ellie in the end in the midst of the people sunbathing with a tiny cove of trees covering it...tiny bit of privacy from others and cool her down.

Back to the van and we put the covers up as the rain started to fall with thunder and lightning thrown in too and now i'm sure no one will notice a van parked up with someone, instead taking cover! I put the permit out on show in case anyone is looking as you get 2 free hours from 7am the next morning, and i'm thinking that leaving at 9am will be better than 7am!

Posted by emmabrown1014 13:23 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

DAY 104 - Wednesday 12th August - Giswil to Lurzen to Weggis

'Stars at Night'

Early rise as the main road is turning into just that, a main road and full of traffic, even before 7am! Also the church bells over the road are going mental on the hour, on the quarters and halves! Even though we are on a main road what you could still see in-front and to the side of you were high mountains with old Swiss cottages on the flat land below with churches everywhere you that you see a town, city or village.

On one of the mountains i'm sure that i can still see snow on the very tips, or is just the material is composed off...can't be snow. Next on the itinerary is Lake Lurzen, another Swiss lake and Lurzen being a town to see. In fact once again there could have been numerous of towns to visit as each and every one of them looked so cute and colourful and reminded me once more of being in a fairytale place, a magical land you use to read as a child.

At first we weren't going to visit Lurzen but heading on through it looked too beautiful place not too so we searched for the Simon Says symbol sign to park on up. One car park section spotted and needed to do a U turn as i left it too late to be able to get to the left hand lane to pull myself across and then over the railway line. Coming back on down and then i come to the traffic lights after sitting in traffic for 10 minutes, no really, coming the other way was a nightmare and then i come to...'no right turn'. What?!!? So down i went again and turned off to pull on round but the street was too tight so i continued up the road, and up, and up, and...well is there a space in which i can turn around?! Finally at the top of the hill i did and hoping that there are still spaces for when i get down. So left hand turn done at the traffic lights and there are still spaces so all is good.

We walk down the lake and into town of which we had a sneaky swim in for Ellie as we parked so far down. Nearing the town it's funny how many people look to Ellie, but then i can't help wonder if its because i have her lead over me so i have my hands free. Are they wondering who's taking who for a walk as Ellie will be good as gold right next to me but when she gets a smell on i get dragged off my feet and try to jump my way across in a subtle way. Not quite working i don't think!

This town is certainly something and its packed with tourists and you can see why as there is so much to admire and see from the wooden walkway bridges filled with flowers to the old buildings with painted art on them and towers on the river. On the way back we head to the spot where Ellie went for a swim and she's diving in to retrieve her stick once more. As i go to throw it once again we stand it down for the day instead as when i went to throw it i turned to see a woman strip on down to her bikini in one quick movement and then dive off from the edge, where Ellie was too, and into the lake for a swim...i'm thinking before you land on her head Ellie diving in the same we'll dry you down in the sun before we get to the van instead!

Off to the next and we find Weggis of which TomTom has taken me down a grass looking track, the ones that take you into farms where the large tractor tyres have made the brown marks to place yours upon to use as a dirt road. And that's exactly what i had come to it seemed, a farm. I parked up on a grass field which was on the lower grounds to the farm house being above and there was just one other motorhome with 5 lads and a guy living in a wooden lodge it seemed that was there to stay. At first i did wonder if we should move on to another site but after settling ourselves having something to eat i wandered up to the farm house to say hello to pay instead.

The farmers wife was lovely and managed to get through our limited English to stay for one night of which we gave me a map of where best to go for a walk, especially with Ellie as it was dog friendly for her to jump into the lake. This is looking better. Then she showed me the barn / building next door which had kitchen facilities as well as really clean toilets and showers. Looking even better! So we went off to find this part of the lake where Ellie could swim and it turned out it was our own little private spot as the others were a bit further down with more sunshine and parts of the lake to jump into.

On route there were livestock of which the cows were just roaming around free. Ellie wasn't too sure at first but they soon ignored each other as there were plenty of other smells Ellie could zone into. As we got to our private part of the lake there were boats in the middle anchored on the spot, 4 of them tied together for a chin way it seems. One guy from the boats got on his board and stood up to paddle his way over to the mini speed boat near to us where he then tied the board to it and motored it back to the bigger boat. What a life! Then i saw another lady from one of these boats stand on a board and paddled upright as one of her dogs was sitting on the front taking a ride. Then i wondered if with her paddling along for a good hour whether she thought she'd exercised the dog with its walk...yet it was just sat there!

A couple of kids from the boats were in the lake for the couple of hours we were there...they never got out in all that time, just swam and played on the lilo they had with them. Ellie had her swim and i had a few chapters of my book read so we headed back to the van for dinner where we found that another 5 motorhomes had come to park up also. So therefore this must be a great place to be and one i'm glad we stayed here for. What a couple of motorhomes had done was to park up the hill that was on the side to us as there was enough of a slope to drive right onto the top of it, with just enough room to park on up. Nice spot it turns out, especially as the stars came out at night with such a clear view.

Posted by emmabrown1014 13:07 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

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