Switzerland 2008 Trip Our Trip to Switzerland, Germany, and Austria in 2008

Our Trip to Switzerland, Germany, and Austria in 2008

In 2006 and 2007 Marguerite had many great travel adventures so she felt sorry for George and encouraged him to take a trip to any place as a Georgie and Margueritie Adventure. Since George has been everyplace he wanted to go he picked Switzerland and Austria since he never wanted to go there and never has been. We looked at a very tight MJ schedule and came up with the only dates possible, May 23 through June 6, and George found a tour. Well,the tour was cancelled so we decided to go on our own via Eurorail pass and hotels.com.

We took many pictures and explored many opportunities. If you would like more info, please contact us.

Principality of Liechtenstein

We arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, at 8AM with no sleep and rented a car to drive to Liechtenstein to check out the little Principality. We got to Vaduz, the capital, at 10 AM on Sunday and the sleepy little town was not too impressive. In this photo MJ is checking out some of the local art. We had lunch and continued on back to Zurich. Seeing the Alps for the first time on the way. Very impressive. Central Europe was going through a heat wave at the time yet snow was 3,000 vertical feet away. Waterfalls all over.

Starbucks in Zurich

When we got back to Zurich about 3 PM MJ was in no shape to tour Zurich. So she went to bed at our hotel and George toured Zurich on his own. The next morning MJ was back to herself and got a Starbucks to get her motor running and off we were to Munich, Germany, by Eurorail. Driving a car on the small streets of European cities is not something George wanted to do.

Mad Ludwig's Castle

On our way to Munich we stopped off at Neuschwanstein where Mad Ludwig II built his castle. In the photo is George with the Castle in the background. The photo is taken from the old castle, which was built by Ludwig’s father, Maximillian. Maximillian’s hunting palace was not bad and Ludwig grew up in this palace (one of many owned by the King of Bavaria). But Ludwig wanted something bigger and better and built the most famous castle in Europe (anyway this is what they say at the castle). The new castle was only lived in by Ludwig for half a year before he died and was not finished. You see this when you take the tour of the castles. Ludwig II never married and was said to have a gay relationship with Wagner the composer. The castle was dedicated to Wagner’s works and has a great concert room. See Wagner for more information.

The Castle, Another View

We walked down from the castle and this is MJ and the castle from a different perspective. There are so many pictures of this castle because it looks different from the angle you are looking at it. It is not a real castle (defense fortification); it is a pretend castle dedicated to music. The throne room is most outstanding ... but they never got to build the actual throne chair .... but the castle does have one toilet for the king near his bedroom.

Old Castle

This is the old castle built by Maximillian and where Ludwig II grew up. It was an old castle built by the knights of old and bought by Maximillian and remodeled extensively.


When we got to Munich we took a short ride to Dachau. Home of the infamous Nazi “work” camp. Here MJ is at the front entrance. The camp was not a death camp but a camp for working, medical experiments, killing just a few folks, and general Nazi party time activities (of course the German people were not responsible for this, only the Nazi party). They had an old crematorium and a new crematorium. Some Nazi’s say the new one was built by the Americans because Dachau was not a death camp. The new crematorium had a delousing facility, disrobing facility, gassing facility, body storage facility and then crematoriums, about 12 I think, with 3 bodies at a time in normal operational mode per fire box .... gotta give it to the Germans for efficiency. They ran out of coal at the end of the war so they just buried the folks in a common grave. Four RAF female officers were also shot here and cremated because they parachuted into France during D-Day activities apparently not in uniform. People can develop most interesting mentalities as the Germans did in WWII and as we have under Dubya the First i.e., giving rich people tax breaks that bust the budget is good because it trickles down to the poor and torturing one terrorist is good to save millions from a “mushroom cloud” but torturing one person to save another person is bad .... American math is most complex.

Munich Summer Palace, Queen's Retreat

Here we are inside a small out building on the palace grounds for the queen/princess of the palace. She had her parties out here as did Marie Antoinette in France in her out building/village at Versailles. In fact this palace looked a lot like Versailles on purpose to include the hall of mirrors. Germans can’t be outdone by the French.

Famous Munich Beer Hall

In this photo MJ is at the famous Hofbrauhaus in Munich (http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Germany/Bavaria/Munich-36623/Nightlife-Munich-Hofbraeuhaus-BR-2.html) . MJ was here in 1964 with her Vanderbilt friend Gretchen and other Vandy students. In later years she was here with Crawford (husband A). George did not like the food and the German band was a little loud for his tastes. But the beer was good in the extraordinary hot weather at the time.

Salzburg Castle

After Munich we went to Salzburg, Austria. In this photo you can see George with the Salzburg Castle in the background. We visited the castle, Mozart’s home, and Hellbrun palace outside of town that had many water trick fountains (http://www.visit-salzburg.net/sights/hellbrunn.htm). Salzburg was an independent state under the leadership of an elected Arch Bishop. This palace belonged to one of the archbishops.

Salzburg Palace

Here a lady tourist is sitting in the Arch Bishop’s seat at a water trick table at Hellbrun palace. She is not getting wet but the guests would have been getting wet. Guests could not rise until the Arch Bishop rose, so it led to many very wet guests! We got very wet going through the demo of all the trick fountains. Also in Salzburg we attended a Mozart concert put on by some students at the Mozart school in town. Very professional and good .... students from all over the world attend this school, mostly from the old Iron Curtain countries.

Eagle's Nest

We then took a tour to Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s Eagle’s Net. Hitler bought a little place down the mountain in 1933 and for his 50th birthday Martin Borman had the Nazi Party make him a little house on top of the mountain called Eagle’s Nest by us tourists. It is not far from his estate down the mountain. At 9,000 feet it was cool, in the temperature domain, and cool in the visual domain. Many famous people have been here, invited (like Neville Chamberland and Mussolini) and uninvited like Ike Eisenhower.


The next day we moved on to Vienna (only called Vienna by us English speaking folks, called Wein (Veen) by the locals because it is named after the local river going through the town. It was a Roman fort at one time to protect the empire from the heathens to the north and east .... this I did not know. It has more beautiful buildings per mile than any city I have run across in my travels. The centers of European Culture in the 18th and 19th centuries were London, Paris, and Vienna. London and Paris because of mercantilism and Vienna because of all that Spanish gold inherited by the Hapsburgs. Here MJ is in front of Schönbrunn Palace (summer palace of the Hapsburgs), which is outside of Vienna.


We then took a high-speed boat to Bratislava, Slovakia, on the beautiful Blue Danube. The Danube is not that beautiful and not blue. Kind of a small Mississippi. It this photo MJ is in front of the castle in Bratislava that George climbed up to and MJ did not. We had our most fancy meal here in a modern style restaurant on top of the bridge. Most interesting bathroom, you can contact George for pictures of the place.

Bratislava Mickie Dee

Here George is in front of the local McDonalds in downtown Bratislava, not far from the American Embassy. George ate at most McDonalds (but not this one) in most of the cities we visited, however, Burger King was also sampled and they do make a better hamburger. Neither hold a candle to In and Out burgers but these franchises are not yet in Europe. Still the record for most McDonalds in Beijing. More there than in New York City.

Belvedere Palace

When we got back to Vienna by train (interesting seeing the old Communist train facilities of Bratislava and the Neutral train facilities of Vienna .... like stepping back in time), we went to Belvedere Palace. This palace was given to Prince Eugene by the Hapsburgs for defeating the Ottoman Turks who almost took Vienna (like they did Bratislava and Budapest and Athens, etc.). Prince Eugene was well compensated for his efforts however when he died childless the Hapsburg took it back. It is now an art museum.


We then went to Innsbruck, site of many Olympic Winter Games. This is a view from the train station to the ski jump inside the city limits. Ski facilities, both north and south of the city, can be seen from downtown Innsbruck (which means city by the bridge that crosses the Inn river). The city is large and was the capital of Tyrol in the old days.


The next morning we went to Zermatt, Switzerland, in the middle of the Alps. This is a ski resort and the home of the Matterhorn Mountain. The photo shows MJ in front of the Matterhorn in downtown Zermatt. We stayed at a nice resort hotel and took our only swim on the trip. In the summer this is a Craig Tyndall paradise with many hills to climb if you can get the sheep to move out of the way. All night in our hotel we could hear the sheep talking in the mountains surrounding the village.


The next morning we were off for Geneva, Switzerland. By the way, the train up the mountain to Zermatt was most interesting. It had little grab mechanisms on the train like a roller coaster to grab the track going up the steep hills otherwise the train would never make it up the mountain. The water falls and the Alps were beautiful. I digress, back to Geneva. Geneva is in the French section of Switzerland and therefore it is not as clean and well organized as the German section. The photo is of George in front of the famous Geneva fountain, which shoots very high in the air.

UN Office in Geneva

This is MJ in front of the UN facilities in Geneva. The "Broken Chair" is sidewalk art that is a tribute to the people killed and maimed by land mines in recent years. We did not get into the UN for a tour (not enough time) but we did see the folks going to work and the guard dogs and the limousines of the diplomats. Security was very tight everywhere around the UN campus.


This was our final destination, Lucerne, Switzerland. This is a photo of the city taken by George from the top of one of the old wall towers he climbed up. Yep, you guessed it, MJ did not go up. We went to Lucerne because Carol Archibard said it was the most beautiful city she saw in Europe. Well it was OK. But compared to London, or Paris, or Rome ...... I don’t think so Ms. Carol.

Lucerne Lion

This photo is of MJ in front of the dying lion of Lucerne (http://europeforvisitors.com/switzaustria/articles/lucerne_lion_monument.htm). It was carved into the rock way before our Stone Mountain, Georgia, or Mount Rushmore, South Dakota monuments (by the way, I did get MJ to climb to the top of Stone Mountain when we were dating but now that we are married, no more climbing for the girlie). When I visited Mount Rushmore they did not let us climb up it. The purpose of the lion is to remember the dead Swiss who fought for Louis XVI of France. While the Swiss have not been in war for hundreds of years they have been hired out as mercenaries.

Our trip came to an end, we were about broke (the dollar is not worth much anymore) and we were exhausted. Very glad to get home to our dogs. Thanks to John and Barbara Warner for house/dog sitting while we were on the trip. Our next trip will probably be a cruise a few years from now ..... if then. But in the meantime MJ will undoubtedly be off to explore new lands with her sister and friends while George explores cross species interactions with his dogs.

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