After Neuchâtel we spent 4 nights in Colmar including a day trip to Strasbourg. I’ve included some photos (link above) but won’t go into any detail on the non-Swiss part of the trip apart from mentioning the saga of the French train tickets which has already been chronicled at bit.ly/34fxdgD.
After the Alsation sojourn we headed to Konstanz to meet up with our family. We last visited in June 2017 and reported previously on the Lake Constace area at www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/the-reluctant-travellers-swiss-adventure-part-6.
While in Konstanz our son took us on day trips to Meersburg, just across the Bodensee from Konstanz, Lichtenstein and Bregenz in Austria but for the purpose of this forum I will just comment on the trip to Lichtenstein.
Vaduz was a couple of hours drive from Konstanz. Halfway down the motorway our driver realised his 2018 vignette had expired (by about a year!) He pressed on and somehow managed to avoid getting caught. He wasn’t so lucky on the trip to Bregenz when the Navman took him onto the entry ramp for a motorway where we were greeted by the Austrian constabulary. No vignette? That will be €120 thank you very much sir. "But officer, I didn't plan to use the motorway, the Navman brought me this way . . ." didn't wash. But I digress.
Vaduz is a fascinating place. I often wondered why people went there but it is really an interesting blend of old and new. Some very modern architecture. Very clean and tidy as befitting a pretty rich little principality.
The drive up to Malbun is very scenic and not a little hair-raising. You can catch a bus and I’d suggest that’s well worth doing. At Malbun a chairlift takes you higher to a popular hiking location. There is a restaraunt with great food and great views.
The kids really looked after us during the time we were in Konstanz but they eventually had to go back to work so we headed off to St Gallen for 3 nights.
On arrival at the Hotel Dom we learned there was a massive fair on at Olma. We skirted around it, checking out the attached fair ground and market stalls, then went up the Mühlenwegg lift (funicular) in the afternoon. There is a nice walk along the hilltop with fine views over the city. On the way back we followed the nature walk which parallels the funicular track back down to the city. It’s full of waterfalls and gushing streams. As an aside the hotel didn’t offer us the Appenzell Holiday Card (www.appenzell.ch/en/accommodation/appenzell-holiday-card.html) which I only recently discovered was an actual thing. Worth asking if you stay in St Gall. They did give us this great little visitor guide (www.thisismysaintgallen.com).
The next day the weather was perfect so we hopped a train to Appenzell and then on to Wasserauen and from there by cable car to Ebenalp. The hike around to Wilderkirchli and the Aescher Gasthaus (aescher.ch/en/) is really something. There is a short way there and a longer way back. We opted to do the short version both ways.
Rather than retrace our steps back to St Gallen from Appenzell, we returned on the slow train (there seems to be a “halt on request” station every kilometer or two) via Gais. This was a really entertaining ride with the train running down the main street of many of the villages.
The Appenzell Region is really beautiful; the brilliant green of the farm lands contrasting wonderfully with the autumn leaves of the mountainside forests. On another trip we will spend more time there.
Our last full day we spent wandering about the quiet streets of the St Gallen Altstadt and doing the Abbey Library (www.stiftsbezirk.ch/en/ ). The audio guide (multi-language) which you can get when buying entrance tickets covers outside the Abbey as well as inside and is well worth getting. We spent most of the day wandering about but did find time to squeeze in a legendary St Gallen bratwurst for lunch. Not to be missed!
And so, after breakfast the following morning, to Kloten . . .
We had an early flight the next day so we had decided to stay at the airport. Somehow we had managed to luck a seriously discounted room at the rather posh Radisson Blue which is attached to the main the airport building. Great location. The airport is full of all manner of shops and eateries.
We checked into the hotel around midday and a half-fare ZVV day ticket covered our travel to and from downtown Zurich where we spent some hours taking in the sights.
We basically followed the MySwissAlps recommended walking route (www.myswissalps.com/hiking/zurich ).
The UBS Polybahn funicular was interesting. After several false starts the the car set off up the hill. We had a look over the city and then went back to the Polybahn to descend back down to the city. The car clanked and made signs of moving but didn’t actually set off. Several people got off. Several people got on. This process was repeated a number of times until we gave up and joined the departees to walk back down the hill.
Niederdorfstrasse was not quite what we were expecting. Many parts had a definitely grungy feel to them. It certainly has character. Bahnhofstrasse is full of expensive and exclusive shops if that happens to float your boat; ours wasn’t. The best bit of the walk for us was Lindenhof Hill with its park and observation deck overlooking the Limmat River
Anyway the overall route is easy to follow and well worth doing if you have a few spare hours to fill in Zurich.
Next day we were at the Qatar check-in at 07:00am. We had hoped to get some views of the Alps as we headed south from Zurich but the weather said otherwise. It was pouring down as we taxied away from the terminal.
Amazingly about 15 minutes after take-off the clouds parted and we got some great farewell glimpses of the Alps.
For pictures of all the places mentioned above see the links at the start of this thread.
That’s all folks. Thanks for following along. Merry Christmas. Ciao.