10 July 1998
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. With the crooked borders, we went into and out of Switzerland a couple of times on the same road. We didnít have any trouble finding the Rhine Falls. It is not a clean drop like Niagara, and not nearly so big, but has a couple of steps in the falls. There are stairs down the side and sidewalks halfway around. You can even get a boat ride to an island out in the middle, but we passed. The last time we went into Switzerland, the border guard informed us that we had to have a sticker on the car to drive on Swiss roads. We hadnít got any Swiss money yet, but they accept any kind of money at the border. George ended up giving them a $20 bill and the rest in German marks. They took a long time figuring it up in two kinds of money. The Swiss are very honest and wanted to make sure they gave him the right amount of change, in Swiss franks of course! We think this sticker is their alternative to toll roads. It is good for a year, or in our case, for a day.
We were driving through a small Swiss town when we looked up and directly in front of us was a statue of William Tell. I hadnít run across that in researching for the trip. We stopped and took some pictures, but I have no idea what town we were in.
That part of Switzerland is very beautiful, like rolling high meadows. We passed through Zurich, where our Bollinger family is from. After seeing it, I think it is a miracle they found their way out of town, let alone halfway around the world!
The little town I had picked for us to spend the night in turned out to be perfect, the last stop before a 12 mile long tunnel under one of the highest passes. We exited and pulled into one of the first little hotels. We had a comfortable room, with a great view, a pleasant walk, and a delicious dinner. We went back to our room and had the window open when a train passed by on the hillside just above the hotel. Fortunately, they are electric trains so they werenít too noisy. Not five minutes later, another passed by higher up the mountain on a different track. We soon figured out that the trains would pass by on one track, circle around the mountain and pass by on the other track going the other direction. That continued all night, but didnít keep us awake. When we checked into this little hotel, the proprietor had asked for our home street and village. I started giving our address but he kept saying no-no, just street and village. He couldnít believe there were such big addresses.
The next morning after breakfast, George asked the innkeeper for the easiest way to get back to the autobahn. He told us not to go that way - that it was much better to go up over the pass. We said we wanted to go through the tunnel. He said it would take two hours to get through it, and that traffic was at a standstill. He was right. We could see the traffic jam as we drove up toward the pass. There was a lot of traffic going over the pass, but it was moving fast. We had a beautiful drive, took a lot of pictures, and got over the top in less than half the time of taking the tunnel. By the time we got back on the autobahn, there was very little traffic on it.
The highway up to the pass; snow-catching roof over the autobahn; village by the lake.