Thursday, 17 January 2013

European Road Trip Day 3 - 'Four Countries before Lunch' (Friday 1st June 2012)

We had another great breakfast at the Hotel Brend - all kinds of breads, meats, cheeses, jams and honey, fruits, juices, cereals, and yogurts (including one which Lucy thought said was Marijuana flavour... I think her German might need some improvement...) We got chatting with an Australian couple at breakfast, who were also doing a big tour around some of Europe.
I like this photo of my bedside table - some flowers which Harry had bought me from the meadow, and my lovely soft Italian leather notebook, which I kept as my travel diary. (Actually bought in TK Max!)
After the amazing views of the night before, we could see nothing in the morning! We were totally in the clouds.
Visibility gradually increased as we made our way down the hill, and carried on driving towards Austria.
Driving past Lake Constance with Switzerland on the other side, and lots of vineyards.
Entering Austria... (which behaved exactly as we expected Austria to, by presenting us with a big mountain as soon as we drove over the border.)
And then into Switzerland. We actually went to Switzerland by accident (well, earlier than we planned to), because we took the wrong turn at a roundabout. I don't think we paid any of the toll things we were supposed to (by accident) in both Austria and Switzerland, so we are probably wanted in both those countries now.
Switzerland also lived up to expectations, by again providing us with some nice big mountains. We spent 15 minutes in Switzerland. (Am I winning any awards with my amazing travel writing yet?!)
We then drove into Liechtenstein just before lunch. We parked in the capital, Vaduz, in an underground carpark and wandered around the centre for a while.
Vaduz was pretty smart, with lots of modern art sculptures around the place and people in suits. We liked it.
Scott asked me to take a photo of him and the kids in the bus station car park (nearest toilets!), as they contemplated on the fact that we had been to four countries before lunch!
We quite enjoyed ourselves, and were especially proud of our 'I {heart} Liechtenstein' sticker which we bought for our fridge at home. (The kids have said we can never get rid of our fridge - it has too much cool stuff on it.)
I liked the lovely large pedestrianised main street...
...which also hosts Liechtenstein's Parliament building:
Lucy and I then went into a little supermarket and got some bits for lunch. It was hideously expensive, though we weren't entirely sure what currency the prices were shown in! The currency in Liechtenstein is Swiss francs, but they also accept Euros. We ate lunch in the car while driving back into Austria.
We then had to get over the Austrian Alps. Scott had a route planned which would take us via motorway, but after a while we decided to follow the satnav which was saying a different way. We ended up going right up into the mountains, and along some crazy bendy roads, with snow around still.
Just when we thought we were 'up', we'd keep going further up...
...then further up....
...then further up....
... and again!
I never got any pictures which really captured how totally in the mountains we felt, or how ridiculous some of the roads were. This was us in the middle of the mountains.
At some points we had to go through tunnels, which were pretty cool. We also drove along some roads kind of clinging to the mountainside which had wooden or concrete supported roofs.
We stopped off at a ski resort, and had a little play in the snow. It was daft thinking of how boiling we had been the day before.
A snowball fight in June!
On the bridge over a mountain stream.
Some of the roads were properly scary, with huge drops right next to us. I'd be like 'Woahhh! - look at that!!!! NO!! Don't look at it Scott - look at the road!'
Anyway, we made it through in one piece, and continued along a valley, which was very picturesque, and typified by lots of chalet style houses, and meadows filled with flowers.
I liked the beautiful grass, and the cute little sheds just randomly dotted all over the place, with no paths connecting them or anything! We also saw lots of wooden kind of umpire chair things, in very random places - what are they for?!
We had spent another two and a half hours in Austria again, before reaching Germany (again!) We spent the night at the Casa Patrizia, where we had two apartments between us.
Lucy on one of our balconies. You can't quite see here, but through the trees we could see Castle Neuschwanstein.

Our living room was a vision of orange!
Lucy and Jack had the top floor apartment to themselves, and made the most of it!
(Though Lucy was slightly freaked out by a scary doll facing the bed, and had to hide it under her T-shirt...)
I made pasta for tea, (we had bought some dried stuff, and tins/jars with us from home, for the couple of nights when we'd have a kitchen) and then we drove down the road to check out Castle Neuschwanstein. From the car park, all we could see was a load of scaffholding, and I was quite disappointed. We questioned whether it would be worth coming back the next day, and going to look around it, but I'm SO GLAD WE DID!!!

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