Back to my travels while my Mom was here. After our first trip we had to come back and work a few days. And then Ryan and I went on the employee river raft trip in Austria, which was very fun, while my Mom went to the Passion Play in Oberammergau.
The following day we loaded up the car with our bags and camping gear and headed to Switzerland. On the way we wanted to see a teeny tiny little country known as Lichtenstein. When we first crossed into Lichtenstein we tried to get our passports stamped, but no matter where we went to ask they all pointed us toward somewhere else and back again to where we started, so eventually we realized that just wasn't going to happen.
To drive from one side of Lichtenstein to the other took about 15 to 20 minutes. It is so small that they even have a running race during the year where you run through the whole country the long way and I'm not sure it is even a full marathon. We stopped in one town and found there to be nothing there, so we got back in the car after walking around and headed to the capital. Right before we reached the city center there was a winery that we stopped at and waited for them to open. Once we were let inside they said they wouldn't do a tasting because we didn't have a group of 10. Sheesh! So we drove on into town and parked to get out and walk around and we found a Doner Kebab shop for lunch because everything else we would have had to sell and arm and a leg to afford. Lichtenstein is very expensive. When we left here we were into Switzerland in two minutes.
Our destination was Lucerne. I'm so glad we met the Swiss guy Jens in Dresden the previous week and he said we should go to Lucerne over Zurich. It was absolutely stunning. The town is around Lake Lucerne and the natural beauty here was breath taking.
Switzerland is also ridiculously expensive. I didn't expect it because $1=1.12 swiss franc however that doesn't mean they won't charge 2 or 3 franc for something you'd expect to cost a dollar. All the hostels and hotels I looked at were out of my price range, so I found us a great camp ground right across from the lake. I'm so glad that Ryan and I have acquired a couple tents while being here because camping was a perfect option.
Food was just as expensive as hostels so we avoided restaurants like a plague and followed the suggestion of my travel book to eat in the cafeteria/deli places that are in department stores or at grocery stores. The food was simple but not bad.
When we got up the next morning we headed into town and wanted to check out the market along the river. I love markets everywhere I go and this one was no different. We found food here and there to nibble on. I got some apple cake that made me think of my Granny who I remember made an apple cake that I used to love when I was little. The market ran along both sides of the river and on the far side was a bunch of middle eastern food we shared for lunch such as tabbouleh, falafel, pita, and hummus.
We had noticed some sort of a festival getting set up an an open area that we went to check out. It turned out this was Political Immigration Day in Lucerne. They celebrate all the people who have immigrated here from around the world one day a year. There were numerous food booths where people were making a selling food from their country of origin. There was also a stage that had rotating bands playing music from their home countries. It was really really cool and I think made our time in Lucerne so much more special. At least for me because I love this kind of thing but I know my mom liked it too and Ryan is so easy going he likes most anything.
We didn't eat right away since we'd just eaten at the market. We kept walking around the streets of the town. We wandered up the hill a ways to find the old city walls which you can mount and walk along and up into the clock tower in the center. It gave us a nice view.
Eventually thought we did make it back to the Festival and ate till our stomachs couldn't fit anymore. We had food from Afghanistan, East Africa, Sri Lanka, India, and the Philippines. It was awesome to see so, so, so many people from around the world. There was an African band I really enjoyed while we sat and ate, but when the next band came on from maybe Russia we were not so much enjoying their music or their cigarettes hanging out of their mouths as they sang. During the African band a group of guys all dressed a like showed up and a couple of them were in crazy costumes and it was funny seeing them dance in the dancing area with everyone gathered around. It was a very fun event.
Our walk to and from the campground was nice because we could walk along the lake in the nice park. It was a bit of a walk back and forth but it was enjoyable and I preferred it to our option of taking the bus.
Oh goodness I was almost going to skip an exciting part of our trip. That evening we went to an English Pub to watch the US and England face off in the first round of the World Cup. It was nice to have the commentary in English and it was fun to be in an atmosphere with so many die hard England fans and then the few of us rooting for the USA. The game ended in a draw which was maybe the best for us since I would hate to think of what they could have done to us if we had beat them. :) After the game we headed back to the campground for bed.
The next day we didn't go back into town. Instead we went not even a mile down from the campground to the Transportation Museum. This museum was awesome. We learned how tunnels are drilled through mountains today and went on a ride in a cart to learn how it was done way back in the day when Switzerland was first starting to put in tunnels way before all the modern conveniences we have today. We saw up close and personal so many trains, cars, and airplanes I don't even have a guess how many in total there were. The museum was in sections based on the type of transportation. The car area had a cool thing that had a different car from every year and it would bring a car down one at a time to tell you about the history of it and it's functions. It was really nifty. There was even a planetarium that we went to a show in. I was disappointed though because the show was all about zodiac signs and I wanted to learn more about constalations and planets rather than how the zodiacs line up one a month and that is why we have signs for when we are born. But at least it was a comfy seat and I may have dozed off a little bit.
After several hours in the museum we decided we should be getting on the road. We had already packed up our tents, so we just went to fetch the car at our site. We decided to drive to Zurich on the way back and stop for dinner since it was on the way. In a Rich Steve's book I had he recommended a buffet restaurant that was Vegetarian and reasonably priced, so after some searching around the city we found it. Well it wasn't exactly what I'd call reasonably priced. It cost 6 swiss francs for 100grams of food I think. You took your plate and got what you wanted from the buffet and then they weighed it and you paid. I have no clue how much 100 grams is and apparently neither did my Mom or Ryan because in total our meal was 100 swiss frans which is almost $100. Yikes! That was a shocker to all of us. We had been worried about all the extra swiss money we had exchanged, but hadn't spent. I can tell you that was the end of that worry. The food was really good, thank goodness. And when we had all finished we were stuffed, so that was good too. While Ryan was eating some hummus on his plate he bit into a plastic bottle topper that had obviously accidentally ended up there. He took it to the counter and they were very apologetic. The offered him a free drink, which he didn't really want so then they offered free dessert which he accepted. When we had finished our dinner and he went to ask about the dessert they said he could have anything he wanted and as much of it as he wanted. AWESOME! So we had a HUGE bowl of chocolate mouse from the buffet and a piece of some sort of cake from their case. They even had a chef from the back come out and explain what the piece was that Ryan had bit into and the chef made the comment, "at least it wasn't meat." Of course Ryan isn't a vegetarian and probably wouldn't have thought twice if meat had been in something he was eating. So if we go back to Zurich (which I don't care too it didn't strike me as all that nice just a big city) I would probably not eat here unless I found a money tree between now and then OR I ate a much much smaller amount of food.
We had a fantastic trip to Switzerland. I'd love to go back before we are done in Europe. We loved traveling with my Mom and we are so thankful that she was able to come over. I know that she had a wonderful time and I hope she knows that we had a great time having her here and traveling with her.