The wine we had drunk with dinner the previous evening was so good that we decided we had to buy some to take home. By the time we had completed our purchase it was nearly midday when we left. Although the journey would have been quicker we decided not to travel on any of the motorways that day but to enjoy the scenery at a more leisurely pace.
An hour later we entered Switzerland and started our drive through the beautiful Val Bregaglia – hiking country, and villages of slate roofed houses with sgrafito decorations
views at Lake Maloja, where there was still snow on the upper peaks
wind and kite surfers at Silvaplana and distant ski slopes above the resort.
Leaving the valley with its lakes we climbed up to the Julierpass, a rock-filled, rock-strewn landscape carpeted in pink flowering thyme.
Avalanche breaks (upper left in photo) reminded us that nature can be harsh.
to the crystal clear lai da Marnorera. We heard the bongling (I love that word) of cow bells and smelled freshly cut grass.
From Chur (apparently Switzerland’s oldest town) we drove north parallel to the motorway with vineyards on our right and high mountains behind, past plum trees, maize and peaceful cattle dozing in the shade. Even the traffic moved slowly here.
15.50 we crossed the border into Liechtenstein. Everyone has heard of Liechtenstein but few people, us included, knew exactly where it was.
Small is beautiful in the shape of the castle at Balzers.
It was a prosperous-looking (lots of banks here) and clean country. Apparently it has a very high suicide rate because the temperature varies so much in the course of a single day.
16.25 crossed into Austria at Feldkirch.
17.50 crossed into Germany. Queues of cars going into Bregenz stretched for miles and we were glad we were going in the opposite direction. We finally arrived at our hotel in Friedrichshafen at 18.40. I had to phone the hotel to find out how to get to it as it was in the pedestrian area near the lake (Lake Constance/Bodensee). The weather was so nice that evening that we were able to dine in one of the many lakeside restaurants.
Next morning I went for a walk before we left the hotel. There were very few people about and it was very peaceful.
Friedrichshafen’s links with the aircraft industry were obvious even in the sculptures in this fountain
Before leaving Friedrichshafen we visited the Zeppelin museum – a fascinating place. When the zeppelins were making transatlantic crossings it would have cost you the equivalent of 5000 euros in today’s money for a one-way ticket. We then went to visit the Dornier museum which was hosting an open day and you could make a short flight in a Junckers JU52, a WWII transport aircraft, for a small fee.
Driving through so many countries in one day with minimal border controls it was hard to believe that we weren’t traveling through one big country as the scenery in one merged seamlessly into the scenery in the next; the only visible demarcations were the number plates on the cars and the different languages on the signposts.