It was a good thing that we started early in the day as we wanted to have a good look around Lucerne which is such a picturesque city with it’s interesting buildings, covered bridges and towers on the lake. We were lucky again to get parking very close to the city. There were a lot of students and tourists around and the cafes and restaurants were full of people, the outdoor ones. The weather had continued to be hot and sunny and we counted ourselves very lucky in that regard. It took quite a bit of planning not to take the Autobahn to Lake Konstanz as the sat.nav. kept trying to take us on it but we got there in the end after many hours of pleasant driving though the hills and towns.
The first and very well recommended campsite at Seehorn near Romanshorn was unfortunately full so we ended up at Buchhorn in Arbon which was a well run campsite with friendly staff and with the train which ran by the site. Luckily it did not run overnight and it was a handy three minutes to the station.
Maurice was feeling a bit tired the next day so I took myself off to Romanshorn where I got the ferry which took 2hours to get to the island of Mainau. We criss crossed the enormous lake and sailed by the city of Konstanz in Germany to Mainau island which is known as the garden island. Count and countess Bernadotte live in the enormous chateau on the island which is known for it’s beautiful gardens with over 12,000 dahlias and countless roses,enormous sequoias and other interesting trees.
I stopped to see the arrival of a bride at the ornate church. There were many different cafes and restaurants on the island and I opted for afternoon tea in the palm garden which was suitably sub-tropical. There were well laid out paths all over the island and I found the butterfly enclosure with a stunning array of specimens.
I walked across the bridge connecting the island to mainland Germany and caught the bus to Konstanz. I didn’t know exactly how I would get back to the campsite but I had my day ticket which luckily was valid for Germany and Switzerland and there was a manned train information office which printed me out a route map taking me to Kreutzlingen back in Switzerland and then to change to Romanshorn and then on to Arbon to the campsite. I didn’t get back until nearly 7.30pm but it was a good journey and still light.
We met up the next morning with Peter who worked for a company we were affiliated with and who had visited us on a couple of occasions in Perth. We hadn’t seen him for 5years so it was nice to catch up with him. We had coffee a few doors away from the campsite in a cafe by the lake and then he took us up into what he called the Swiss outback!
We drove past the turn off for ‘Heididorf’ on the Autobahn and on the left side was Liechenstein and Austria and Switzerland on the right hand side.
We went up into the Swiss Alps and had amazing views of the surrounding mountains and small villages. It was a Sunday and there were lots of people out and about and the first restaurant we tried was full and the one we eventually found was also very full but had room for us.
It was lovely sitting outside in the sun. I took some photos in the street and found a house selling ‘self serve’ cheese. The small fridge with an honesty box on top was next to the front door so I put the money in the tin, took my change and took a piece of cheese from the fridge. I couldn’t do that in too many countries I’m sure!
After a delicious typical Swiss lunch with Rosti and Spatzli and a nice Aperol Spritz to start with we drove along the winding very narrow roads back down the mountain and back to the campsite. We had a very enjoyable day and it was nice that Maurice had a break from driving. We caught up with computer and van housework in the afternoon. The wonderful weather continued the next day when we drove over the mountains and into Liechtenstein, a principality using the Swiss Franc. The town itself is very small and after a coffee and a walk around the mainly touristy shops we only took about half an hour to get from one end to the other of the principality.
It was strange to get the three different languages – German, Italian and French on the radio as we drove along.
All the cows we saw seemed happy cows with plenty to eat in their very green fields and we could hear them from a long way off with their large bells around their necks.
We took the long way over the mountains and stayed the night at Cugnesco near Lago Maggiore in the Swiss Italian Alps where the managers were very pleasant. They didn’t even charge me for printing out some things that I needed for our Indian visas. We had to get back to Rome fairly quickly to lodge our visas and get some vaccinations so we left early on the secondary roads down through the San Bernadino pass and over Lake Lugano to Italy and Lake Como.
We will come back to Switzerland next year to Lake Konstanz as we want to take the ferry from Konstanz down the Rhein to Schaffhausen which we didn’t have time to do this year. Maurice likened Switzerland to a good looking golf course. Everything everywhere was so neat and tidy.