Famille Du Pentium

Another Day, Another Llama Video

Friday, September 22, 2006

Trip Report – Zurich

This time I decided that I would go out to the Swiss countryside and see a little more of the world than just Zurich.  My trip report follows.

Separately, I have quite a review coming up tomorrow for the Hotel Intercontinental Zurich.   It was quite a stay, I must say.

So this time through Zurich, I took the "Heidiland Great Country Tour", offered by Gray Line Tours.  It cost about CHF75 (about US$60) and was well worth it.  A large, comfortable motor coach awaited us for our tour.  Initially, it didn’t seem like the driver realized how hot it was in the bus – it was about 80 (F) outside, and the top front of the bus (the prime viewing seats) were a lot warmer than that.  At first, the driver turned on the A/C until it got slightly lower than sweltering, and then promptly turned it off.  I’m all for conservation and realize that European culture is more efficient with it’s use of natural resources, however hot is hot and it was plain hot.  All the same, after mentioning the temperature problem to the driver at the first stop, he took care of it.

First we covered Zurich, which was pretty standard fare… the Universty district, the Lake Zurich waterfront, and various other local sites I’d seen already.  Not bad, but old news.  Then we hit the road toward Rapperswill.  Some of our fellow tourists were actually on the "Cityrama Tour", which includes a cruise on Lake Zurich from Rapperswill back to Zurich.  Otherwise, Rapperswill was a nice little town with a castle on a hill.  We climbed the hill on foot, and then made our way back down through the little shops.  Rapperswill is known as the City of Roses because of several large rose gardens located around town, however I never made it to those, the castle was enough for me.  Time to go to the bus and have a seat.

On the road again, we made our way  toward Vaduz, in Fürstentum Liechtenstein, which is actually a small country (or principality) adjacent to Switzerland.  It is a very very small country to be sure, with a smaller population than the village I live in (Skokie, Illinois).  It is also a Constitutional Monarchy, which means it has a royal family but it’s political leaders are democratically elected.  It’s official currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF) but unlike Switzerland, FL is a member of the EU so they also accept Euros.  Oh, and American Dollars, too, of course.  🙂  But I dipped into my plastic to buy gicts here.  It’s really quite a nice city, and in the center of town is a bunch of shops and restaraunts and hotels on a very small pedestrianized street that probably makes it a very cozy place to hang out in the evening after the day tourists leave.

More information about the Principality of Liechtenstein can be found HERE.   

Onward and Eastbound, we made our way toward   MAIENFELD, also known as Heidiland, the scenic area where the story Heidi was based.  I loved the scenery and fresh air, but the Heidi House wasn’t much (nor did it cost much).  It’s certainly not a whole day, just something to do for a few hours.  Which makes me wonder why there is a hotel adjacent to the house… I can’t imagine anyone spending more than a couple hours here.  Unless they like goats.

Finally we started making our way back toward Zurich, which took quite a while because of Sunday afternoon traffic on the main motorways.  We were scheduled to return to Zurich at about 6:00 PM, but actually got back around 7:30 PM, which was actually OK because we were all in a very comfortable coach viewing the Swiss countryside on our way back. 

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 5:27 pm  

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