Micro states of Europe travel blog

A final look at Vaduz

Water sports on Lake Geneva

Colmar, France train station

Grilled shrimp in Luxembourg

Facade of Notre Dame Cathedral


Not as cool in the room last night but not bad either. Will be doing some resting on the three train legs today.

My worry wart roomie had set his own alarm for 0545 even though he did most of his packing last night and only needed 25M or so in the loo. He has a bad habit of taking all the shower gel, failing Sharing 101 basics.

Got the blog done by 0630 and showered. Brekkie was expectedly fine. Stan down a bit early, noting the 'sparkling conversation' at brekkie. His great contribution was noting the dehumidifier made lots of noise.

It's 0810 and over an hour before departure. Time for a walk. It is quite cloudy but it was nevertheless rather warm. Went to the cathedral [of St Florin], taking whatever shots interested me along the way. In the small world category, the Kunstmuseum in town has outside a Botero which would translate to a large bronze of a nude, BB-esque woman.

With our 0930 departure, time for a second shower to cool off. By the state Lou left the toilet, I don't think toilet scrubbers are a feature of Lou's loo.

A few emails to travel friends and then off. The Moocher and BB even let Peter move their bags on flat surfaces; good grief. Lou sat at the back, not wishing to enjoy my company; ha! ha! ha! We were off by 0940, a bridge shortly after putting us in Switzerland. Peter said in case of war the Swiss have all the bridges dynamited in addition to bunkers in case of nuclear war. He mentioned 8.3 million, an obvious reference to the population. Not sure who but somebody asked if that was the population of the country. The level of dumbness on this trip defies description.

A map went around, a chance to orient things in terms of geography. We were soon by Lake Constance. Texas Mom asked where do the trains start. Train Heaven, I guess. As you can see, there are going to be numerous candidates for Darwin award winner today. Lake Zurich was soon off to our right. A few raindrops on the windshield were the first of the trip.

By 1040 we left the main highway and continued the approach to Zurich close to the lake. There was one non-descript photo op re Lake Zurich. There was a splashy new building near where we stopped, obviously under construction. The Moocher asked Peter about the building. Does he look like the architect? When the driver suggested it was an insurance company, she pontificates 'what else?' What else are you, Moocher, but dumb?

The Sergeant Major wanted into today's competition. There was a parking lot with the number 259 lit up. She asked if it was the remaining parking spots. No, Sergeant Major, it was registering the number of stupid questions the A-B veterans have asked on the trip. Driving through Zurich, one of the great European cities, the Moocher has her nose in a book. What do you expect of a tourist. Lots of bicycles and trams in the city. Got to the train station at 1120. Went for a bit of a walk to while away some time, picking up a large pretzel for lunch, using Swiss francs. The station was not particularly busy and no policy/military presence seen.

Our first leg was to Basel, from 1208 to 1312. We had reserved seats. The Sergeant Major and the Moocher, sitting several seats away from their bags, moved closer for security purposes. Pretty sure that was a case of bags looking after bags You have to laugh at people being so worried about non-existent worries. Another larger group of older kids was aboard. Quietness was an idle concept until they got off the train at Lenzburg, 19M down the rails. Swiss efficiency with a departure at 1208. Not even a whiff of wifi aboard. One of the tunnels was very long, the ear pressure reminiscent of plane travel.

I think pretty much everyone else made a contribution of 2 Swiss francs to the Zurich train station loo. The Moocher probably went twice. Is it offbeat photography to even consider a shot of down the shoot of a train toilet? Had my pretzel so sated until dinner [I am still carrying my likely ever increasingly melted chocolates if necessary]. The Texans moved into position 12M ahead of schedule. Took the reserved sign as a souvenir. It was sticky on both ends. I managed to fold it over in spite of the unwanted assistance of former engineer Stan.

Peter comes by and says 'Get ready', meaning something more than a tad obvious. What does Stan ask him? If the next stop is for you. I think the brains of most of these people work on two speeds: slow and stop. Lou must want to move to Houston as he was moseying down the aisle way early.

Basel was the fifth stop. It was just a kaffuffle getting off and getting to the next platform, about as far away as possible. Some will undoubtedly think it was the trip's version of 'The Great Race', getting bags on the train. I leisurely took a seat, having done my job. Loser Lou aka LL got up the escalator and forgot which track to head toward. Peter was wheeling the suitcases of the SS Queen Mary and the Moocher. We--well, some--were late, the conductor unhappy at having to leave late. Dunno where we passed the border with France but Mulhouse was sporting the red, blue and white of the French flag. There was an intermingling of architecture with less alpine features and more brick. After Thursday morning, I won't miss the laugh of the Texas mom. No more alpine conditions here. It is flat and largely agricultural.This leg was some 45M to Colmar, France, arriving at 1405. The parade for the departure began 5M early.

We have over an hour to the last leg at 1530 which is 2H into Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. It could have been a real mess with the short connection and people unfit enough to move fast enough. We had no ducats without Peter. The conductor would have been within his right to signal the train to depart without part of the collection of misfits aboard.

The usual sense of high panic with boarding, BB taking forever to slug her suitcase. Others start to panic that only 3M stop. Short straw with LL as a seat mate. Fortunately he slept most of the journey. The seating system is a bit bizarre as the numbers are not consecutive. Cleaned up a few things on the computer to pass the time, Spider the focus of the last hour.

We reached Luxembourg City rail station c 1750, some 20M late. There were stairs down, prompting the Flabby Five--BB, the Sergeant Major, Stan, LL and the Moocher--to take the lift down. Whatever else, the Texans hold their own on not delaying people. Picked up for the 1.2 kilometer drive to the Hotel Simoncini. We are fairly close to Notre Dame Cathedral. Check in was slow. While LL was organizing who should get in first with the Texans re different floors, I left with the elevator. Getting a few minutes later into the loo, the floor is all dirty with his shoes--he left it like that. His NYC place must be a pig sty.

1915 rendezvous for dinner so a few minutes to get the blog up to date. There will be few photos today unless I go for a post-dinner meander.The meal was pretty good. The place was Greek so the starters Peter had ordered were of that ilk. Had grilled shrimps for a main course, spending some of A-B's money. The dessert was something Greek that I could not pronounced but a nice pastry item.

The Moocher and Stan [hereinafter SS for Stupid Stan] sat opposite each other and yapped nonsense and old trips like only old goats and old bags could. It at least made for some cutting remarks. The Moocher was in fine form over dessert, mooching from others and providing opinions. Shut up, you dumb English transplant. Hey QE II, do you want the bitch back?

It was still very light when dinner was over so took a little stroll. LL came along like a puppy dog. Went to Notre Dame Cathedral but there was a concert inside. The hotel seems to be in the old quarter but will wait for the WHS tick tomorrow on the tour.

Back to the room for a bit of email, news and blog, the latter to be finished tomorrow.

There are 11 others in the group. I will give the 4 Texans a pass re nicknames. They have largely stayed within themselves and have not held things up. The two British Columbia sisters need a dynamism lift but are generally fine. Of the other five:

Ann..The Moocher

Bess..BB for Big Bess or the SS Queen Mary

Lou..Loser Lou

Phyllis..the Sergeant Major

Stan..Stupid Stan

All of them are multiple A-B clients which about says it all.

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