Home — safe and sound

We have arrived home. Recovering from jet lag on the island.

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Heading Home

We were up to catch the early tour of Neuschwanstein and it is a beautiful thing that crazy Ludwig did.  The first picture is the castle that Konig Ludwig built.  The second is his daddy’s house right across the valley.

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They are both perched on a hillside and have great views of the valley.

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We toured the castle, but they only allow pictures from the outside.  Ludwig died prior to finishing the castle and it was never completed, but what he did get completed was done in grand style.

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Looks a lot like the Disneyland castle right?  There is a reason for that.

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We then drove back to Munich stopping only to wash and vacuum the car.  This is required by customs so we don’t accidently bring back some noxious weeds or something.  The car was parked outside the hotel at the airport when this picture was taken.  Note the ticket on the windshield.  The hotel had some dignitary getting ready to depart so they asked me to move the car from the check in loop down the road a few feet and they sent a bell girl to help us with our luggage.  When I returned I had the ticket.  The hotel apologized and took care of the ticket and sent us up some snacks to assuage the inconvenience we experienced.  I was happy to just throw the ticket in the trash as the car and I will be out of country shortly.

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I checked the car into the BMW return area and took this shot of the dash.  5322 Miles (I changed it to miles prior to taking the picture — no more kilometers for this car)  The car had 4 when I picked it up making a grand driving tour of 5318 miles.

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We will catch our plane in a few hours, and I will make a summary of our trip in a final post in a couple of days, but for now — so long to Europe.  It has been a real adventure.

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Liechtenstein and Neuschwanstein

We bid a fond farewell to Hanna and Tino this morning and headed off to Liechtenstein.  After the nav system decided to loop us around Zurich for a couple of times we finally got straightened out and were off.  Liechtenstein is a push pin stop for the afternoon.  We mostly wanted to see the Vaduz castle which is perched above the city.  The city itself is a mix between old and new as you can see from the shots below.

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This is a shot straight up at the castle from the city.  We had coffee and Sushi in the city and then headed up to the castle.

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The view of the valley below is spectacular from the castle grounds.

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No tours or entry allowed so we were just happy to see it and take in the view.  After this we drove to Hohenchwangau where we had reserved a room for the night.  Our goal is to see Neuschwanstein tomorrow.  Here is a picture of it from our hotel window.  We booked a tour for the morning.

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This is also the view form our hotel window.  It doesn’t really clearly depict the steepness and the breadth of the scene.  This is southern Germany near Austria and we are in the alps.

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After the tour tomorrow we will head to Munich to drop the car back to BMW to prepare for shipping and stay at the airport for our return flight on Thursday.  I guess our adventure is coming to an end.  More tomorrow.

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Zurich, Switzerland

JoAnn and I headed for Zurich by train today.  It is a :30 minute ride directly to downtown and I did not have to find and pay for parking.  Hanna and Tino started back to work today so we met Hanna’s brother David for a tour of the town.  We walked for a couple of hours down Bahnhofstrasse and did some shopping and then took a boat ride on Lake Zurich prior to meeting David.  These are pictures of downtown Zurich.

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The boat is a part of the city transit system so we buzzed around the lake and saw the city and the surrounding area.

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There is a very cool fountain near the downtown area of lake Zurich.  It comes right out of the lake similar to Lake Geneva.

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The view of the downtown area is very nice from the boat.

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We met David after the boat ride and he took us to the University area.  This is the Zurich Technical University and his university is close by.

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The view from the Tech University towards the town is pretty spectacular.  Later we went to the biggest skyscraper in Zurich and we went to the cloud café for a drink.  It was very nice and a great view of the city.

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We then went to dinner at Die Waid and had a great dinner with the family.  This is a view from the restaurant terrace where we sat with Lake Zurich in the background.

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Tomorrow we leave Switzerland.  I have made arrangements to return the car today.

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Eglisau, Switzerland

We arrived at Hanna and Tinos yesterday.  They live in a very nice house on the hill overlooking their village.  In many ways their village reminds me of a model train set.  In the first picture you can see the train running around the foothill.  The second is the church.

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Yesterday we walked through the town, went up to the Munot fort and had ice cream.  Then Hanna and Tino took us out to meet Hanna’s Mother Annemarie.  We had a very nice time chatting and getting to know each other.  Annemarie then drove us back to Hanna and Tino’s where a great BBQ was waiting with the family including Hanna’s brother David.

This Morning we awoke to the sound of bells.  Not alarm bells, but the sound of cow bells on Cows grazing outside of our window.  OK, Swiss cow bells are not a myth.

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After breakfast, we headed to see Rhine falls, a waterfall on the Rhine river close to Schaffhausen.  It is a very wide a waterfall with a great volume of water coming over it and as you can see in the pictures it is big.

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At the foot of Rhine falls is a small building that I can tell nothing about except it is named after a famous IT manager in Marysville that perhaps I have been Schlossh with a few times.

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This is what the other side of Schlossh Worth looks like.

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The top of the falls are beautiful as well.

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We then went up the Rhine river to take a boat ride on the boat of the family.  It is called a Weidling.  This is a narrow boat that holds about 8 people that is propelled by a stick that is pushed against the bottom of the river.  It looks like a gondola with the driver standing on the back of the boat.  Hanna powered us up river for a couple of miles where we met Annemarie and had a great time swimming and relaxing on the shore of the Rhine.

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After spending the whole day in the water and walking around the falls I nearly fell asleep in the car on the way home.  We have just finished a fine dinner and we are off to bed.  We will probably go to Zurich tomorrow.  Hanna’s Brother has offered to show us around the city.

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Riquewihr

We got up this morning and we headed back to Beaune as we wanted to see the Hopital Du Saint-Esprit prior to moving on.  This is a hospital built in the mid 1300’s to serve the needs of the poor and the rich.  It is both a hospital and a chapel with built in kitchen and facilities for making and dispensing medicines.  It was a nice tour and an interesting look at care in the middle ages.  The first picture is the courtyard and the second is the medicine dispensary.

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This was the actual alter picture that was hidden away during the French Revolution and not discovered until many years later.  It is in amazing condition.

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After moving on from Beaune, we stopped in Colmar for a cup of coffee.

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This is the Alysas region of France and they produce mostly white wines.  There are vineyards everywhere.

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At the advice of a very dear friend we stopped in the city of Riquewihr.  This is another walled city from the medieval times but it seems pretty welcoming these days.  We walked through the city and found a small wine tasting room pictured below and settled in for tasting.

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We had and excellent dinner at this restaurant and that was it for the day.

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I took a few shots of the city of Requewihr a we walked about the city.  Interesting place.  Once again very picturesque.

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Beaune, France

This morning we left Tours for Beaune. Beaune is in the heart of Bourgogne wine country. It was a fairly long drive so we arrived at 3:00. We had arranged a tour of the Patricharch cellar for wine tasting and we were quite surprised and impressed.  Wine tasting is not the same here as in Napa valley or in eastern Washington.  We had to pay and it included a tour of the cellars.  The cellars are below a monastery and are 200 meters in length.  This is 2 football fields long.  I guess if you have been making wine since the 1700’s you may accumulate a few bottles.  Upon entry, we were provided with sommelier cups (the shallow silver cups that a sommelier wears around his neck in a fine restaurant).  We held on to these anticipating sampling some wine. These are the tunnels we walked through a few shots.

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The caves are dark and long and bottles, casks are everywhere.  There are literally thousands of bottles and casks stacked neatly everywhere..

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After walking for a good half hour looking at all of the wine, we came to an open room with wine casks turned on end.  On each cask was a couple bottles of wine open on them.  We tried 5 whites and they were very good.  I was surprised to see we could just pour the wine ourselves and as many helpings as we wished. –nice.

Following the arrows lead us to another open room with several more barrels and more wine.  We sampled with great enthusiasm.  Needless to say this went on for 5-6 more rooms with the wine getting darker and better as we went.  We picked up a couple of bottles of wine to purchase and moved on.

We went back to our hotel — a very nice family run place with a pool and patio and relaxed for awhile.  (I mean really relaxed).

Later we went into town and walked around.  This whole town is about wine so we looked at some stores and walked around searching for a nice restaurant with outside seating.  We were successful.  We were seated next to a family with two small girls — perhaps around 8-10 years old.  As Michel and Brigette are good Belgians, they picked as an appetizer escargot.  This region is famous for their escargot as well as their wine.  In the process of eating their appetizer, one of the girls looked at the plate and asked mother (in Dutch which Michel understands)  “are they eating snails”  the mother responded “yes” and the look on her face was so priceless I cannot describe it.

Unfortunately, when I took this picture to remember it, she looked away, but she is the blond girl sitting next to Michel holding the sucker.

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Just a perfect reaction.

So, tomorrow we head to another medieval walled city and we bid farewell to Michel and Brigette.  following that we are headed to Switzerland.  It appears our grand adventure is slowly drawing to a close.  I really miss all of you guys and gals at work, but I will be back before you know it.  I have been successful at locating chocolate but I am still working on the wheat grass.

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