Country Roads of Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria

Zurich to Munich

Friday, 21st September, 2007
Saturday, 22nd September, 2007
Sunday 23rd September, 2007

Friday, 21st September, 2007

Drop Cap ere we are in Zurich after what seems like a full day's travel. Only because we spent most of it hanging around Oslo Airport.

Our shuttle arrived before 10:00 and our flight was not until 16:30! So there was a lot of hanging around before we could even check in. Once we could though it went remarkably smoothly and fast, even though SAS had about sixty flights out between then and ours.

Drop Cap he flight was quick and relatively comfortable. It was a very small jet plane which did not hold more than about ninety blase seasoned travellers doing what amounted to a bus ride for commuters.

Once there we picked up our bags and went out to find a shuttle bus to the Swissotel. We had to wait about ten minutes and then were the only passengers. No problems at reception and we have a nice room on the 19th Floor.

Drop Cap e went out and visited the MacDonalds across the road from the hotel and had our second Big Mac meal of the tour. Golden Arches march across the world!

Drop Cap omorrow we meet our Tour Manager. I hope he/she is as well organised as Lene. One more night and it will be go-go-go again!

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Saturday, 22nd September, 2007

Drop Cap e lazed around this morning, just going out to get some stuff at a supermarket, (Co-Op!) and to pick up some hot takeaway for lunch. The Hotel is out of Zurich proper and we would have had to get a train in to see anything of the city.

Drop Cap e met our Tour Manager at about 14:00. His name is Elmar and he is Austrian. He is not as organised or as organising as Lene and like Tony, our TM in Tasmania, he thinks he has a sense of humour but he hasn't. What an indictment!

Off in the coach with driver Bernd.

Old Zurich photograph

Backstreets of Old Zurich, Switzerland

Drop Cap lmar took us through heavy traffic caused by a workers' demonstration march (in Switzerland!) and showed us the sights of Old Zurich.

Grossmunster Cathedral photograph

Grossmunster Cathedral, Zurich, Switzerland

Drop Cap e saw the Grossmunster with its twin towers, the Fraumunster with choir windows by Marc Chagall and lots of lovely old buildings with quaint signs and names like House of the Swan, House of the Panther etc.

Zurich Limmatquai photograph

River Limmat Zurich

Drop Cap e walked around the block bounded by the Bahnhofstrasse and the Limmatquai, strolled by the river and had an ice cream. The day has been incredibly warm (by comparison with Oslo anyway) and promises to remain so.

Drop Cap he group came together for drinks and intros at 17:30 and is a more than normally mixed bag.

Americans are the largest group, then Aussies (including Lynton and Leonie, a honeymoon couple from Penrith!) There is one NZ couple who plan on following the All Blacks World Cup tour like Rowan and Shirley on our Scandinavian tour) one British couple who work in Malaysia (she is Asian but a Brit) and a young man and his aunt from Singapore, very odd.

Several family groups, a couple from Melbourne with their grown up son about Geoff's age, an American girl with her aunt etc.
There were two single girls, one mid twenties and the other late thirties, I would guess and the rest of us were couples of retirement age.

There were two retired American ladies from Florida, travelling together, one of them had won the tour playing Bingo! Half her luck. But the group seems pleasant and keen to co-operate which is good because Elmar does not seem to have the knack of easy communication. Still, we shall see.

Drop Cap e went out to see if we could find a restaurant for dinner, but the only one which seemed reasonable was packed to the doors. So we came back and had a really delicious steak at the hotel dining room.

An early start tomorrow. Ah the joys of touring!

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Sunday 23rd September, 2007

Rheinfall photograph

Tourist Boats, Downstream of the Rheinfall

Drop Cap oday was quite a long day as we had the cases out at 0630 and left at 0730.

An hour's drive took us to the Rheinfall, Europe's biggest waterfall, but unfortunately the early hour meant that the morning fog had not lifted and we could not see very much of it. Mac was pacified for the loss of the waterfall view by meeting a ginger and white cat at the Gasthaus by the fall.

Drop Cap e went on, through the Swiss/German border where stern-faced border police collected all our passports for checking.

Then into the European Union en route for the island of Lindau (connected to the mainland by a causeway) on Lake Constance, which has shores also in Austria and Switzerland.

Lindau Rathaus photograph

Rear of the Old Rathaus in Lindau

Drop Cap e were given an hour and a half free time here, to stroll the lovely old streets and alleys, explore the lake front and have a bit of lunch.

Mac and I had melted cheese on vegetable baguettes and ate them out in the Rathaus square and watched the passing parade.

Lindau spires photograph

Tiled Spires in Lindau

Drop Cap he Old Rathaus is an incredible painted building and all the other buildings are so old with so many towers with colourful tiled roofs.

Drop Cap e left Lindau and headed for Munich, stopping on the way at a motorway services place where we put fifty cents in a machine which gave you a ticket. You were then allowed to use the rest rooms, beautifully clean, and could then use the fifty cent ticket to buy something at the refreshment shop. Mac used mine to subsidise his purchase of a Bounty bar.

I am getting a cold, I think. It is so hot outside and so cool inside. I bought some Fisherman's Friends in Zurich and am sucking on them.

Drop Cap unich didn't really impress us much, it was seething with humanity as Oktoberfest has begun and the boozing is in full swing everywhere.

Munich Rathaus photograph

Rathaus, Munich, Germany

Drop Cap e stayed in the main square to watch the Glockenspiel at 1700, a rather cheesy little jerky display on the Cathedral tower which was otherwise completely wrapped in scaffolding.

Then we were taken to our hotel, the very classy five star Arabella Sheraton Grand, which had a Rolls Royce and a Bentley parked outside. Our room was great, especially the bathroom and there were lots of nice little touches, like complimentary shopping bags and umbrellas.

Not that we needed them but still.

Drop Cap e had an optional dinner tonight in a traditional Bavarian restaurant, which was great! The food was good and fairly unusual for us, Weisswurst and mustard, sauerbraten and spatzli, and of course, apple strudel.

An accordionist serenaded us with everything from Walzing Matilda to the Star Spangled Banner.

Drop Cap ut before dinner we went to the Hofbrauhaus, a Munich tradition, particularly in Oktoberfest.

At home I would run a mile to avoid this place but had no choice.
It was very large, three floors, vaulted ceilings with painted panels and the noise was unbelievable, roaring with talk, song, laughter, oompah bands, you name it, and so smoky it was like breathing fog.

We just had orange juice instead of a litre of beer! Didn't stay too long, and as we were leaving the police appeared to be raiding it. Not our scene, particularly as smoking is permitted everywhere! I think Neil and Radha would have enjoyed it, but Geoff would have hated it.

Anyway the rest of the evening was great fun.

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