We "killed" a week in Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.
With Frankie fixed and rearing to go it was time for us to return to our much loved Austria! We had a little bit of time to kill before we welcomed our next visitor into Frankie, so we thought we’d cover a little more ground in Austria, and maybe even sneak in some of Switzerland if we could manage it.
Our aim in Austria was Innsbruck. We’d heard that it was a hub for white water rafting and we were pretty keen to give it a go. So after one very long day of driving, and passing through 4 countries, we arrived in Innsbruck. We’d had a little look and found a couple of camping spots that we thought looked good. Well the first one would have wanted to be a 5 star campground being 41euro for just 1 night, and nowhere near the centre of Innsbruck. Being on a budget, we decided to move on to campsite number 2. When we arrived at this one we quickly found out that the site had shut for the night around an hour before we arrived. By this stage we were getting quite tired. Nevertheless, we persevered. We arrived at the next campsite at around 9pm to find the restaurant/reception closed and barricades across the entrance. Strike three, we thought. Despite this, Maddie wandered in while I waiting in the van. Thankfully, the owner saw me parked there and came out to show me where to come in. And, we’re glad he did. by that stage I’m not sure I could have handled driving around any longer. So after a quick dinner we crashed for the night, back in the brisk alpine air of Austria.
The next day we had a bit of sorting to do. First thing on our to-do list was to sort out Frankie’s battery issue. When we were in Croatia the mechanic had mentioned that our starter battery was pretty stuffed so we thought we should probably get ourselves a new one. After driving to a couple of places with no luck, we eventually arrived in the industrial area and found a mechanic that was able to replace it for us. Now naturally, being in Austria, we thought it was best that we went and had a schnitzel while we waited. We also did a spot of grocery shopping and a quick stop into the hardware store. We were ticking things of the list white quickly.
So with a new battery and a dent in the budget we drove Frankie back to the campsite and mounted our bikes to ride into Innsbruck. We spent the afternoon strolling through the streets, looking in shops, and generally relaxing after the strenuous activities of the previous days. While we were there we also booked ourselves into some white water rafting for the next day, which we were very excited for.
After a slow start the next day we packed up Frankie and headed toward the starting point of our white water adventure. After collecting our equipment we were off with our 2 guides, and 3 Germans. We arrived at the river, had some quick safety and paddling instructions, then hit the water. The water was icy cold on first touch but it didn’t take long for the neoprene suits to start working to keep us nice and comfortable. We were on a Grade III river and loved every minute of it. It was too strenuous at all and we had plenty of flat water to practice falling in and saving each others lives. All in all it was really fun and we’d definitely go again.
Once we’d dried off and changed our clothes we headed out toward Switzerland. We had however decided that, since we were passing by, we might as well drop in to Liechtenstein for the night. Now neither of us had any idea of what to expect from Liechtenstein as we’d never really head much about it and we hadn’t done much research, so we thought the capital city would be a good choice. Now I use the word “city” here pretty loosely as Vaduz is more an average sized town, taking us approximately 10-15mins to ride our bikes across it. In the first hour of being there I think we saw around 10 people and 5 cars. That being said it is a very nice town. We also took a walk up the Vaduz Castle the next morning which had a really nice feel to it. It was like looking at what a castle would have looked like when fully intact in medieval times. Unfortunately we could go in as it’s the private residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
After our stroll around the castle we headed toward Zurich which was only a stones throw away from Vaduz. Unfortunately, Red Bull had inconveniently planned one of their home made flying machine events for that day and there was absolutely no room at the caravan park we wanted to stay at. So we went a little further afield and found on that felt like we were driving into and American trailer park. Nevertheless, there was room for us so we took it happily. we went for a ride through Zurich that afternoon and even watched a few homemade contraptions fail miserably in their attempts at flight.
The next day we did a walking tour of Zurich. Now I’ll be honest. Zurich (and all of Switzerland) was absolutely stunning. The city and clean and well kept. Their trams are so quiet you can’t even hear them coming. But it is expensive! I had always hear that but when I saw just how bd it is I was shocked. We just about had to sell a kidney each to eat the Cheese fondue we had for lunch. Aside from the prices we really liked Switzerland and our time there was over all too soon as we were on a schedule.
We drove that afternoon south through Switzerland, dropping by a couple of nice lake cities, until we reached the mountains where Switzerland meets Italy. And there, after scaling a mountain that we thought unconquerable for Frankie, we found one of m favourite camp spots so far. Nestled at the top of Gotthard Pass is a little group of building best a lake. It was free for campers to park there for the night and there was a line up for good reason. It was stunning high up there in the mountains, some with ice still on them, and the lake in the middle. We went for a walk up one to see in we could reach the ice on it’s side. We did, and all was going well, until the way down. Getting a little confident in my mountaineering skills I was proceeding fairly quickly. Until I hit a rock covered in a thin layer of dead grass. Naturally, the grass gave way under my foot, and down I went. Twisting at an unnatural angle I managed to protect everything except my right knee, which came down heavily onto the vicious top of a gravelly rock. As you can imagine, I left quite the chunk of skin on that mountain, but luckily I was otherwise unhurt. Despite that little slip up, I still loved that camp site. And with that we headed into Italy.