Bidding our farewells to Tom and Alice we hopped in the car and started the engine – well at least I tried. The engine wouldn’t turn over and I figured the battery was dead. Looking about the cabin I realised I had left my phone charger in the power socket and this must have drained it. Luckily Tom had jump leads and so fifteen minutes later we were waving goodbye as we made off down the road.
The road to Luxembourg was uneventful and before we knew it we had crossed over the border and approached the city. I had no mental vision of what Luxembourg was like, but was amazed to find it towered above the countryside, built as it were atop the sides of deep river gorges. Great mediaeval walls protected the core of the city and insightful city planning had left the area particularly green and populated with trees.
Unfortunately it was a bank holiday, so we got to see little that was actually open. Mostly it was just a few shops and restaurants in the central square.
We stopped that evening for a meal at a local restaurant where I tried a local dish of ‘weinzozoss’ or sausages as I tend to call them.
The next morning we set off for Zurich. The drive was long and took us through France. We stopped at lunchtime time just outside of Strasbourg, but didn’t stay to look around. At this point I was raging at the French driving style and wanted to hit Switzerland as soon as humanly possible.
We arrived at the Swiss border and purchased the motorway vignette. This forty euro sticker is required if you want to use any of the motorways in Switzerland. While it’s possible to get about on the minor roads it takes significantly longer to do so as they go over the mountains rather than through them!
As soon as we left the border outpost the road plunged into a series of tunnels, the car emerging occasionally into the bright sunshine in order to blind us, before diving back down.
We got to the edge of Zurich at rush hour and slowly edged around the ring road. Our campsite was on the other side of the city, perched on the edge of a lake and we arrived just as the sun was setting. The tent went up in record time and we relaxed by the shore, taking in the azure waters as the firery sun reflected oranges and reds.
The following day we relaxed around the camp and took a swim in the lake. The waters were cold, yet the perfect remedy to the heat.
Everything in Switzerland is so clean. There’s no litter anywhere and the lake was no exception. The streams that fed the lake were crystal clear and although we were essentially still down on the plains, I got the impression they sourced from higher climbs.
The next day we drove up to Liechtenstein. This small principality only runs about 20km North to South, and we were headed for the main town Vaduz (well technically Schaan, but I couldn’t tell where one finished and the other started).
Walking around it quickly became apparent that we could not afford to stay here. This was the domain of the super rich. Ferraris, Astons and Lamborghinis prowled the roads and the shops sold watches that cost tens of thousands pounds. Still it was fun to look about and explore.
Nicole found a mobile phone on a bench, and seeing it was unlocked set about on a quest to return it to the owner. A few WhatsApp messages to the owners daughter later and a reunion was scheduled with the person who had left it on the bench many hours before and was currently touring neighbouring Austria! Apparently this country had one of the lowest crime rates in the world and I can well believe it. Nicole’s efforts netted her a small reward which bought a couple of drinks and we set off again fresh the next morning.