… and I have arrived at his favourite holiday resort. And we had to stop so that Strawberry Moosecould have his usual photo opportunity
We’re staying for a couple of days while we get our respective heads together, and we need to do that too because of the dreadful night that I had last night. Never mind what time I went to bed – I was still wide-awake as late as 03:05 with no sign of ever going off to sleep.
But I must have done at some point because not only did the alarm awaken me at 06:00 (and I even beat the third alarm to my feet) there was something recorded on the dictaphone too.
A girl whom I know from Crewe put in a visit last night. She was going off home and I’d lent Caliburn to her to tow a caravan. I walked back through Shavington to Vine Tree Avenue where Caliburn was parked. We could see my brother and father in the distance – my father was getting ready to come home from work – it was 06:00 and he was getting in his vehicle. As we went past, down the street was a policeman who was interrogating a couple over a book which was something like a book by Kerouac or something. He saw the two of us and made some kind of remark to which I made some kind of remark back and mentioned the book that I was reading. He clouted me with a book so I clouted him back with a book. By this time I noticed that this girl was actually holding my hand as we were walking down the street. One thing that was going through my mind was that the tax on Caliburn had run out and I had vehicles without tax parked all over the place. I was wondering if ever it came to the push that they might be towed away where was I going to put them. I got to wondering what my father would have to say about me lending someone a vehicle that didn’t have any road tax. And more to the point what would a person say, where would she be parking it or leaving it and the closer I got to home the more I was thinking about this.
There was plenty of other stuff to do this morning and then I went to breakfast.
My room is over there in the annex so I had to cross the garden to reach the main part of the hotel. On the way over I passed the postman delivering the mail. What cought my eye was not the postman or the post that he was delivering but the machine on which he was delivering it.
50 or so years ago everyone laughed at the Ariel 3, and yet here we are today, which just goes to show what proper publicity and marketing could have done for the British motorcycle industry had they put their minds to it. But being stuck in a timewarp of the early 1950s, british industry totally failed to move with the times.
I had to decline the cheese and the ham but the rest of the breakfast (included in the price) was very acceptable and despite the cost of the night’s accommodation, it was all pretty good value for Switzerland.
Collecting all of my stuff together I headed off – as far as the local Co-op. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there had been an issue at the Hotel last night in that the Swiss plugs are different from the rest of Europe. The hotel had lent me an adapter but I had to hand that back this morning.
It’s not the first time that i’ve been caught out by the lack of a Swiss adapter so I reckoned that I may as well buy my own while I was here.
While I was here, I bought a baguette. In France it had cost me €0:45 but here in Switzerland where there is no Common Agricultural Policy it cost me €1:90. The silly Brits are going to be in for quite a surprise once the Transition Period is over.
Most of the day was spent driving all the way through Switzerland in the sweltering heat. Slightly north of east towards the Austrian border at Dornbirn.
Stuck behind slow-moving grockles for most of the day, and roadworks after roadworks after roadworks, it took ages to cross the country. It really got on my wick.
With the temperature at 35°C and feeling like every degree of double that, I was driving along the side of Lake Lucerne from Luzern north-east when I came upon a scenic viewpoint at the side of the road.
The views from here were tremendous. For example, down at the end of the lake I could see the town of Kussnacht where I turn off eastwards and head eventually for the Austrian frontier.
There wasn’t any shade at all here unfortunately, not even in the lee of Caliburn, but having been stuck behind all kinds of traffic in the streets of Luzern and Merlischachen, I was running much later than I wanted to and I had been ready for lunch for ages.
Chewing on my sandwich I had a good look around at my surroundings.
Across the lake from me is actually a “seaside” resort, the Strandbad Seeburg. That would have been a great place to go for lunch had I had the time. A nice relax on a sandy beach would have done me the world of good and I might even have gone for a paddle.
There are also bound to be several good hotels over there too, because the town is the birthplace of César Ritz, the founder of the “Ritz” hotel chains. He died there in the town in October 1918.
It’s a shame that we aren’t going that way.
That’s the spine of the Alps down there, on the border between Switzerland and Italy and it would seem to be the place to be right now because it wil be much cooler up there at those kinds of altitiudes. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that WE’VE BEEN IN THE SNOW UP THERE WTH CALIBURN in July.
If there hadn’t been as much haze around today, we might have been able to see snow. But as we’ll be pushing on into the Tyrol we might be lucky in finding some snow ourselves – or at least some cooler weather.
With that in mind, we pushed on into the town and then headed east.
In between Lake Lucerne and Lake Zurich we pass over a high range of mountains heading north-east, climbing out of one valley into another.
As we climbed up the pass, there was quite a distinctive mountain away to our right in the east that seemed to dog my viewpoint. I’ve no idea what mountain it might be but it piqued my interest. Eventually I cane to a place somewhere in between Steinerberg and Sattel where I could pull off the road and take a photograph it.
And it wasn’t just the mountain there either. There’s a modern concrete viaduct of either a road or a railway over there too, and there is some type of large bird, maybe an eagle, flying around over there too. And I didn’t notice that until I returned home.
The views were just as interesting to the south as well.
That’s the town of Steinen down there, I reckon, with Seewen in the distance, all of them in the valley of the Lauerzersee. We can see the spine of the Alps in the distance and just imagine how spectacular this view would be in cold weather when there would be no heat haze. But then again we wouldn’t have been able to climb up here in Caliburn as easily as this in the middle of winter.
Having taken our couple of photos, we headed off north-eastwards in the direction of St Gallen and the Austrian border.
A little further on we pick up the railway that has been following us through the mountains much more precariously that we have been travelling on the road.
As we drive through the Sattel Pass through Rothenthurm and out of the other side on the way to Biberbrugg the railway line makes another one of its regular level crossings across our path and I’m in luck at this one because as I approach it, the barriers come down and a couple of minutes later a train rattles past.
This is one of the 11 Sudostbahn, the South Eastern Railway FLIRT RABe526 trains made by Stadler, a model of train that works on the railway networks of many countries all over Europe and North Africa and even in North America, the city of Ottawa having purchased 7 for the upgrade of its “Trillium” Line and its new link to Ottawa Airport.
Eventually I reached the border and crossed into Austria.
Just outside Dornbirn I fuelled up with diesel. €1:06 a litre which is a relief after the prices that I saw in Switzerland and I subsequently saw it even cheaper too.
From Dornbirn there are two ways on into the interior of Austria. The first, and most common way, is along the main road, past Bludenz and either through the Arlberg Tunnel if you have plenty of cash or over the Arlberg Pass.
But there is another way – the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse Highway, the modern-day L 200, over the mountains. Despite it only being 63 kms long from Dornbirn to Warth, It took an unbelievable 75 years to build, construction having been started in 1879.
The final section, from Schrocken to Warth, despite being only about 10kms, took 25 years to build and was not finally completed until 1954.
It’s quite narrow, especially at the older Dornbirn end and not possible to take a coach over it which is why I’ve never been that way before. But Caliburn, Strawberry Moose and I managed it quite comfortably.
It’s a spectacular road and one of this days I’ll post the dashcam footage. You’ll find out why a 53-foot touring coach wouldn’t ever come this way
At Warth we turned off towards the Fern Pass and after a good hour in the mountains from Dornbirn, we ended up in Lech. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE and on several occasions too, including once with Nerina. It’s a place that Strawberry Moose, Caliburn and I really like.
Once we’d taken our photograph, we had to hunt down my hotel.
And it took some finding too. House numbers in Austria don’t follow any logical sequence and someone once told me that they are numbered in the order in whcih they are built.
Considering that it was one of the cheapest hotels in Lech, this is one of the best places where I have ever stayed and I’ll let you know tomorrow about the breakfast. If it’s anything like the rest of the hotel, it’ll be tremendous.
Having smuggled my slow cooker into the hotel I was able to make some tea.
While it’s cooking, I can tell you about my room It’s quite small but very comfortable and a nice view looking north-west. With it being the height of summer it’s staying light pretty late and we have a beautiful red sky at night- a sure sign that Zug is on fire, I reckon.
And having had my tea now, I’m going to bed. After that dreadful night and the fact that I haven’t crashed out at all today, I’m ready for it.
A few days here to recover my strength and then I’ll see where we go from there.