Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Oct 04, 2005

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I will begin this entry by letting those of you at home in on a little secret that Bill and I have discovered during our travels. Please take out your driver`s license, turn it over, and look at the box indicating whether you are an organ donor or not. If you are, we have some shocking and disturbing news for you. In the unlikely event of your premature death, you are probably thinking that your organs will go to help a needy person in the USA. Sadly, your organs are being ground up, molded into an unidentifiable, funnel shaped slab of meat, skewered, spun on a spit, and then served to thousands of Europeans on a daily basis in a delicacy known as the Dönor Kebab. In every city we have visited, and on nearly every street, one can purchase this questionable meat that is sometimes actually cut off the spit with real power tools. It is served in a pita and comes very cheap. We have been told that it is actually a Turkish food, but as concerned citizens who are both registered organ donors, we are not taking any chances (so we only purchase it when we are really over budget).

Scenic Train Trips
Valle Verzasca Dam
Lucerne, Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland

September 2
Today we spent countless hours on a train bound for Switzerland. Nothing sensational to report as a result. However, we did encounter our first problems with the flooding that occurred a few weeks ago in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. What should have been a quick 2 hour train ride, turned into a 7 hour train, bus, train, bus, train excursion. Many of the rail lines had either flooding or had mud slides on top of them so we were not able to take trains the whole way. We did enjoy a brief lunch in the country of Liechtenstein (yes, there is a country called Liechtenstein) which is so much like Western Austria and Eastern Switzerland, it is rather unremarkable. After a long day, we did make it to Chur, Switzerland where it took us about 2 seconds to realize why people had said that the country is an expensive place to visit. Our bottle of water cost 9 US dollars. Sweet.

September 3
Today consisted of another long travel day, however it was much more pleasant as we took a scenic train ride to the Italian portion of Switzerland. The train took us over mountains, by glaciers, and through countless tunnels. The scenery was truly incredible.

We arrived in Lugano, Switzerland and enjoyed an Italian meal replete with characteristic Italian customer service (or lack thereof) and listened to some music as Lugano`s blues music festival was taking place.

September 4
We took a day trip to Locarno, Switzerland to visit the Valle Verzasca dam, and the world`s highest fixed point bungee jump. This is the same dam that James Bond jumps off of in the opening sequence of the 007 movie "Goldeneye." For those of you who know my husband well, you can only imagine the childlike glee he was experiencing as he planned to jump off the 220m tall dam and secure his place in 007 fame. Unfortunately, it was prohibitively expensive and the fall itself was no longer than any other bungee jump we have seen before, so my James Bond opted out. Still, the view was pretty incredible and we did enjoy watching others jump and critiquing their different screams.

September 5
Today was a travel day from Lugano to Lucerne, Switzerland. Half the day was spent on a scenic train, while the second half was spent on a very pleasant, 3 hour boat ride across Lake Lucerne. The weather was fantastic and the lake absolutely beautiful. We were even given free lunches (which we paid for when we bought the tickets) which were truly sensational. Overall, it was a delightful experience.

After arriving in Lucerne, we ate dinner, walked across the city`s historic wooden bridge that nearly burnt down 300 years ago, and watched some locals feeding the ducks and swans who live on the lake.

September 6
We made our way from Lucerne to Geneva, Switzerland today and were once again slowed by the flooding. After countless hours on a bus, we arrived, did our laundry, and went for dinner. After dinner, we were joined for drinks by our hostel roommate, Allen, from China. It was very interesting to listen to him talk about his country and to learn about modern day China and how communism plays out there.

September 7
We awoke today to discover that Allen had left us a parting gift before leaving on his train: a bowl of lettuce. Next to the lettuce, he left a note telling us to enjoy it. What a guy.

So, we ate lettuce for breakfast (just kidding, I don`t eat vegetables any time of day) and went to the International Red Cross Museum. The museum was fantastic, providing an interesting and detailed history of the Red Cross and what it has done since its inception. The visit was slightly marred when we asked one of the employees if we could make a donation to the victims of hurricane Katrina. He told us to wait until we returned home and then described how Barbara Bush made some nasty comments about the victims coming to live in Texas and never leaving. Not only did we doubt that Barbara actually said this, but we also questioned his "neutrality".

Overall, we are not crazy about Switzerland. It is outrageously priced and does not have a distinct character due to the influences of the surrounding countries (Germany, Italy, and France all have their own sections).

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rickbranstetter on

Bill, just being on such a grand adventure as you and Sara are sharing makes you a great 007 in my book. Grandma has been worrying for days about you jumping off the dam. I'm going to tell her you jumped and are now six foot five inches. She will be impressed. Grandpa will tell all of his cronies at the mall.

We got Sunny moved into her apartment. We met her boy - friend, Johnnie. Nice young man from Alabama. Grandfather and he could communicate quite well with each other. I had no idea what they were talking about most of the time. I might as well have been watching PBS Master Piece Theater!

More train stories in your next update!

fuschiaeastwood on

Too bad you didnt have the theme song playing while you jumped off. That would've been cool.

billandsara on

Re: barbara bush

Thanks for clearing that up. It sounds a bit ambiguous, but I´ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Hope you are enjoying Italy! See you soon!

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