Monday, 8 August 2011

Switzerland - Liechtenstein - Tunnels

Today we said goodbye to Switzerland with a few parting shots and ended up in Innsbruck, Austria. On the way we passed through Leichtenstein.

Leichtenstein was first on the radar as it is a tiny country in Europe. Researching what was there we found that the capital Vaduz had a castle, and our destination fate was sealed. We had some difficulty parking, as all spots were reserved for shoppers and in the end took a punt, after which we realised it was Saturday and those particular shops were closed anyway. Our accidental touristing magic had kicked in again and we were lucky to find a beach volleyball satellite tour (which is international competition but not at the top level). We sat in the sun enjoying the athleticism and pump up music, looking forward to our own tournament in 2 weeks time. I was lucky to have Lee on hand to answer some of my questions about technique and to take his predictions on the winner of the three semis we watched. Leaving the volleyball was not easy for us and outshone the castle and main town.
The people we spoke to had excellent English and I will remember them all being well dressed as a high end designer shop was having a 70% off sale.

I don't know what Swiss government rules are, but as soon as we were over the border, houses were made out of substances other than wood. It was incredibly scenic, to the point where we had to be specific when we said, "Wow, look at that!" as otherwise the response would be, "Which bit?" . Our first impression of Austria wasn't as scenic as Switzerland as we travelled inside tunnels for most of the motorway.
The longest we have been in so far was 16km. We were quite excited to hear our first song in German today. We've had the radio on each time we drive and mostly it's like listening to a classic rock station with an announcer we can't understand. Our impression of Austrian
architecture was not helped by our suburban entry into Innsbruck, which appeared to be blocks on blocks of 70s high rise flats.
We were staying in a hotel run by an Austrian couple, which had an authentic family feel. The hotel was halfway up the mountain overlooking the city. We had dinner there, which for me was Tiroler Groestel (boiled beef and potatoes, fried, and a fried egg on top). It
was a bit salty, but balanced by sauerkraut. Our wallets left dinner feeling much heavier than any outing in Switzerland.
Again our accidental touristing worked out for us as we headed into the old town and discovered a summer street festival with performers before heading home to bed (woohoo Saturday night!).

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