Thursday, 23rd May – Basel to Strasbourg

We left Basel early this morning to make our way to Strasbourg. Usually we opt to avoid highways where possible because there is more to see. A good example is this church in a little town called Dessenheim – the Saint-Léger Church.

There are wild flowers everywhere at the moment as it’s the beginning of Spring, we picked a couple of these orange poppies as we drove in to Neuf-Brisach.

Neuf-Brisach is a fortified town in France intended to guard the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We parked in the free parking space just inside the city gate and enjoyed the very short walk to the centre of town. Apart from seeing the town square and buildings on the way, we found a bakery that sold many pastries and couldn’t resist buying an apple turnover for morning tea.

Another little town we came across was Illhaeusern on the L’ill River. These pictures don’t do it justice, standing on the bridge and overlooking this town was like being in a postcard.

Our next stop was the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. We managed to get some great photos as we drove closer leading up to the castle. Trip Advisor reviews indicated that it wasn’t safe to leave the car in the parking lot, apparently there had been a lot of robberies. We managed to jump out and take some quick photos without leaving the car.

That apple turnover was teasing us in the back seat so we found a random village for our coffee stop.

After doing some washing at a local laundromat we checked in to our Strasbourg hotel. We caught the tram (conveniently located across the road from the hotel) in to the Old Town, getting off at Broglie.

We made our way through Kiéber Square.

Gutenberg Platz

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

Museum of Decorative Arts

We found a great spot to stop and look out over the Rhine River.

The Gate at the Old Strasbourg Hospital

St Nikolas Church

With weary feet we caught the Tram from Homme de Fer to République, seeing the Palais du Rhin and gardens as well as the National Theatre of Strasbourg, before making our way back to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure France Switzerland

Wednesday, 22nd May – Bern to Basel

Leaving Bern fairly early this morning we made our way through quite a bit of fog to Lake Biel. It was worth stopping even just to take a few photos at this picturesque location.

Whilst we had packed a number of items to make our road trip comfortable, for example our 12 volt kettle, plunger coffee cups, cooler bag etc we dropped into Ikea to purchase a few supplies.

The next stop on our way to Basel was Solothurn, an ancient city first established around 15AD. The majority of the remaining buildings today are heritage listed. We enjoyed perfect weather whilst exploring this wonderful town and we couldn’t resist having some lunch by the river.

Through Trip Advisor we found castle ruins that we wanted to get a closer look at. They are the ruins of Neu Falkenstein Castle, built during the 11th Century. You can climb to the top of the ruins but it was noted as a short but difficult hike, we therefore decided that it was a perfect spot for a coffee stop and photo opportunity.

Arriving in Basel we checked in to our Ibis hotel and found ourselves not only across the road from the #15 Tram into the Old Town, but provided with a complimentary Baselcard that gave us access to public transport for the day.

Armed with a city map we set off to walk around the Old Town to see sights such as;

The Elisabethen Kirche

The Basel Cathedral (Münster)

Mittlere Brucke (Middle Bridge)

Petersplatz (Peters Kirche)

Spalentor (City Gate)

The basilisk is the heraldic animal of Basel and there are a number of different sculptures across the city in its honour – this was Keith’s favourite.

2019 European Adventure Switzerland

Tuesday, 21st May – Bern

We had scheduled two nights in Bern so this morning we had the luxury of sleeping in. Tram 9 right out the front of the hotel took us into the Old Town just after peak hour.

The Bern City Map outlined a city walking tour (Stadtrundgang) which we followed. Here are the highlights of our day.

Kornhausplatz and the view from the Kornhausbrücke

Ogre Fountain (Kindlifresserbrunnen)

Clock Tower (Zytglogge)

Einstein House

Nydegg Church

The Nydegg Bridge and Bear Park

Bern Cathedral (Münsterkirche)

Einstein au Jardin – where we had morning tea in the gardens near the Cathedral

Parliament Building (Bundeshaus) which leads to Parliament Square (Bundesplatz) – where we had lunch at the Storchen Bakery and looked through the markets.

Prison Tower (Käfigturm)

Bern is known as the city of fountains with over 100 of them staged across the city, some dating back to 1550. Here are some of Keith’s favourites.

We then completed the loop back to Kornhauspltaz catching the tram back to the hotel.

2019 European Adventure Switzerland

Monday, 20th May – Annecy to Bern

After such an incredible time in Annecy with Blake and Peter’s family and friends it was time for us to commence our European Adventure.

We enjoyed one last huge breakfast at the Imperial and began our trip to Bern. Firstly though we stopped in at the most adorable little medieval village, Yvoire.

The charm of this quaint little village made up for the drizzly weather. Our early start meant that we were almost the only people walking around and as we left the first tour busses were arriving.

From Yvoire we left France, making our way to Montreux, the Swiss city on the side of a mountain. It is a confusing maze of one way streets but we eventually found the parking garage – Parking du Marché-Forum. This parking garage was well researched for its proximity to the promenade and the Freddy Mercury statue. It’s a beautiful location and despite the rain we really enjoyed the walk to the Queen Studio Experience.

The band Queen recorded a number of their albums in “Mountain Studios” in Montreux. Being a huge Queen fan Keith was keen to see the exhibition where the studios have been converted to a museum: Queen The Studio Experience.

On the way to Bern we drove passed Fribourg and couldn’t resist stopping to take a few photos.

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Thursday, 16th May – Travelling to Annecy

After an unexpected 2 1/2 hour delay due to baggage issues we finally arrived in Geneva. Not withstanding the delay, our first flight with British Airways was very impressive. The staff kept us informed at all times, the service was great and the meal offered was delicious.

The process through customs was very simple. It took longer to work out which side of the airport was the French side versus the Swiss side than it did collecting our bags and proceeding through immigration.

We were then collected by a minibus to go and pick up the car that was to be ours for the rest of the trip. Now named “Pepe”, we packed everything in and headed off to Annecy on the wrong side of the road!

Only a short drive from Geneva we were excited to arrive in Annecy and check in to our hotel room at the Impérial Palace Hotel. We are commencing our holiday here for a very special reason, dear friends of ours Blake and Peter were getting married at this breathtaking location.

 

Our “day” seemed to start such a long time ago and has ranged across a number of countries and cities. We ended the day with a meal surrounded by friends, old and new at a Crepery near to the hotel.

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Friday, 22nd August – Gruyères to Geneva

Our next stop on the way to Geneva was a city called Gruyères (of the cheese fame). The city itself is basically built around a castle – Saint-Germain Castle – and now houses many restaurants and other shops catering to tourists. It is a very cute little town and has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

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Saint-Germain Castle was acquired in 1998 by the late artist H.R. Giger and it currently houses an art gallery/museum of his work. This was the real reason we were in Gruyères – the cheese was a bonus!

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Next to the gallery there is also a coffee shop that has been fitted out in Giger inspired designs.

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Once we’d looked through the Giger exhibition and had a cheese platter for lunch we left Gruyères and  continued on to Geneva.

Geneva was our last stop in Switzerland and a fantastic one. As we strolled around Geneva in the fading light, the sunset was amazing! We also found a square where some of the cobblestones had been replaced with illuminated ones, they contained slogans in different languages. We also had dinner in the old town and strolled around the trendy part of town as well.

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2014 European Adventure Switzerland

Friday, 22nd August – Zurich to Jungfraujoch

Up early and excited as today we would be driving amongst some of the most beautiful parts of Switzerland. Our first destination was Jungfraujoch via Grindelwald, a small town in the Swiss Alps where the view of the Jungfrau was noted as being one of the best vantage points.

We were not disappointed, the country side was absolutely breathtaking and the Swiss chalets just so story book. It truly was the most beautiful drive we’ve experienced so far.

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We’d driven up some pretty steep mountains in Norway, but on the way to Grindelwald we set our record at 1510m above sea level. Jungfrau the mountain was super impressive as soon as we started to get first glimpses of it in the distance. The photos below are the pictures we took from Grindelwald/Jungfraujoch, pretty much as close as you can get to the mountain without actually taking the rail or ski lift up.

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Once we’d had a coffee and taken a million photos we headed off to Lauterbrunnen to see the Staubbach Falls.

Switzerland was turning it on for us today, we saw parachuters, base jumpers and helicopters as we indulged in some Swiss Chocolate and a coffee in Lauterbrunnen overlooking the Falls.

It’s hard to imagine but both Keith and I spent about half an hour sipping our coffee and not saying a word, what we were seeing and experiencing just didn’t seem real.IMG_7010 IMG_6916IMG_6961IMG_6940IMG_7024

We tore ourselves away from our view and continued on our journey to Gruyeres. One of the lakes we drove around on the way, Lake Thun, was amazing, the water was crystal clear.

Such a strange day for us weather wise, as expected chilly in the mountains and as we made our way down we quickly did an outfit change to accommodate another gorgeous sunny warm day.

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Very soon we came around a corner and saw something amazing in the distance! Here is a sneak peek of Gruyeres!

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2014 European Adventure Switzerland