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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Day 4 - Germany

I hurt my left foot when I tripped and fell on the way out of the hotel restaurant after breakfast this morning.

In panic mode, negative thoughts swirled around my head. I couldn't believe that this tour of a lifetime that I had put on the back burner for 27 years culminated to this! Despaired at the situation, I was on the brink of tears.

Although I was insured for this trip, I decided against seeing a doctor for two reasons:

1. The  hubs and Rodney would have to remain behind in Switzerland with me, while the rest of the group would proceed to Germany without us. As we did not know the extent of my injury or how long it would take to get my foot fixed, it would be terribly unfair to expect the rest of the group to wait indefinitely for us. This was a very compact tour (5 countries in 8 days) and a delay would disrupt the entire schedule and itinerary.

2. We would have to find our own way to rejoin the group in Germany or whichever country they may be by then.

No, I was not going to miss out on any part of this tour that I had dreamed of all of my life. I didn't fly halfway around the world for nothing. Enduring the pain, I assured everyone that I was fine and limped my way to the coach with The Hubs and Rodney as my crutches.

Pain or rain... Germany, here I come!

Isn't it amazing how adrenaline can make one almost invincible!?

Luckily for me, the Rhine Falls was an hour's drive from Zurich so I had time to rest my poor throbbing foot.

As soon as we reached SchlossLaufen, we could hear the thunderous tumbling and rumbling of Europe's largest falls.

Then, as the full expanse of the falls unfurled before us, our jaws dropped....

We were spellbound!

The teal water...the azure sky... the white foam......it's hard to describe the mesmeric blue vista.

There are some things you just can't capture in a photo. A frozen snapshot couldn't possibly do justice to what we had witnessed.

Here's a video of the falls taken with a drone by Youtuber schrägoben


I had to hobble all the way down this path from the top where our coach was parked so I could get a closer view of the falls.

Every step was worth the pain!











After SchlossLaufen, we crossed the border to Germany and arrived in Titisee, in the southern Black Forest in Baden-Württemberg.

On the way to Titisee we were told that the Black Forest is really dark green and not black! Its dense fir population  makes it appear almost black  from a distance, hence the name Black Forest.

The forest where tales are spun: sinister, fanciful, mysterious, mythical...

Our tour in Titisee began in Drubba Shopping, a quaint place where we were given a briefing of how cuckoo clocks are made.






Cuckoo clocks galore!
There are clocks for every taste, and budget. Back in Malaysia, I could buy a brand new car for the price of some of these!

The  mechanism in a cuckoo clock works in tandem with its melody and automata : moving trains, dancing figurines, water wheels, even wives beating up husbands!

My favourite was the Romeo and Juliet cuckoo clock.

The cute little door opens up, the cuckoo bird looks out and cuckoos out the hour.  Once the cuckoo has finished, Romeo climbs up the ladder to reach his Juliet, only to fall back down again as Mr. Capulet threatens him with his hay fork. Dancing figures also turn to the sound of music.


This mill house clock is just as adorable. 3 woodsmen work the mill. One chops while the other two saw wood! A water wheel turns and happy couples dance to the music!



There's something magical about the cuckoo clock, don't you think? It's amazing how they have survived the test of time (pun unintended) for hundreds of years and are still around and cherished in  many homes today despite the digital age.

While admiring the clocks, I was contemplating getting one as cuckoo clocks are so quintessentially German. Having one ticking in the house would be the perfect memento of our visit to this wonderful country.

 "Nah, they're probably made in China.", Rodney remarked.

"Please, they are a 100% German made!!", a guttural voice corrected us in heavily accented English.

We turned our heads to find a man suddenly standing beside us.

Ooops! That remark wasn't meant to be heard!

The man who was staff then proceeded to give us a very long and detailed lecture on where each part of the cuckoo clock was sourced! Clearly, the Germans are very proud of their cuckoo clocks!

 Sorry! Our bad!

And yes, we did buy a small one that didn't cost us an arm and a leg. It is now ticking happily in our living room and will be treasured forever. That darn bird can be quite annoying! Contrary to what we were told, the silly bird is never on time —  always late by a few minutes.

LAKE TITISEE

Lake Titisee against the Black Forest backdrop



After a delicious German specialty meal of pork knuckles, we headed for Heidelberg, an hour's ride by coach from Titisee.

Heidelberg, a medieval town in southwestern German is famous for its university. Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is the oldest university in Germany. Perhaps it was the pain in my foot that was numbing my brain or that I was having a sensory overload but I couldn't recall visiting any old university! I checked with The Hubs and he said that the only thing he could remember about Germany was the pork knuckle meal!! :smack:


Our walking tour of Altstadt (meaning old town) began with a photo stop in Kornmarkt.

KORNMARKT

Heidelberg is broken up into many different market squares. Each has its own personality and served a purpose in Heidelberg's history. Fish, vegetables, and other goods were sold separately in each individual square, hence their names. This square is Kornmarkt or Corn Market.

You can see the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle (German: Heidelberger Schloss) up on the hill

The Madonna statue at Kornmarkt
In an attempt to motivate the citizens of Heidelberg to switch to Catholicism, the Jesuits erected a Madonna statue in 1718.

MARKTPLATZ

The Marktplatz, is the city´s main square with the Church of the Holy Spirit at its center

It's really hard to put into words how enchanting  Heidelberg was with its Baroque-style Old Town, cobbled streets and fairy-tale castles. It was like something dreamed up by Disney.




The Carl Theodor Old Bridge (German:  Alte Brucke)
This 18th-century bridge spans the Neckar River.


The Nekkar River

The day ended with a Chinese dinner at a restaurant nearby and a 2 hour drive to Frankfurt where we checked in to our hotel for the night.

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day 3 - Switzerland

We left Zurich for Mount Titlis, Engelberg early in the morning by coach which took about an hour.

Engelberg is an alpine town in central Switzerland where the station for the cable cars going up to Mount Titlis is located.

The scenic ride to Engelberg was breathtaking. Storybook chalets and the snow-capped Alps unfolded at every turn! The vista was just like a page right out of the Heidi classic I grew up on. It made me want to yodel!

Because I have anemia and was at risk of high altitude sickness, the three of us decided to hop off at the Trübsee middle station while the rest of the group took the cable car ride all the way to the top of the mountain.

No regrets!  Not going up to the summit  meant more hours of frolicking in the snow at the Trübsee Snow Park!

We experienced snowtubing for the first time and it was super fun!  More photos and videos in my upcoming post.

Love, love, love this photo of us.The peaks of the Alps make such a postcard-perfect backdrop.


Reaching 10,626 feet above sea level, Mt. Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest peak.

O ho lay dee hee!!
Mt. Titlis
After Mt. Titlis, our coach shuttled us off to Lucerne.

LUCERNE

Lucerne is a lake city in central Switzerland known for its charming medieval architecture. Its old town (Altstadt) is amongst the prettiest in Switzerland.

Our group photo at the sad Lion Monument.


More photos and explanation of this poignant sculpture in an upcoming post.

ALTSTADT (OLD TOWN)

Many of  Altstadt's  buildings were constructed in the Middle Ages, with the chapel bridge (Lucerne's icon) built circa 1300.
The Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke) is a wooden pedestrian bridge that spans the Reuss River.
It is named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel. Built in 1333, the bridge is one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe.

Paintings on the interior of the covered bridge.
Two thirds of the  paintings were destroyed in a fire in 1993. Out of the original 158 paintings, only 30 were fully restored and are on display today.

Swans around the lake lend a fairytale charm to this beautiful city.


We spent the rest of the evening meandering the cobbled pedestrian streets, seeking out the numerous hidden squares in the old town.




Wandering around this old town was like walking into a medieval movie set!

You can see murals like this painted on the ancient buildings.

We loved the little squares with the beautiful fountains.






A wefie with the Swiss Pinocchio in front of the Casagrande.

Inside one of those quaint souvenir shops.

You don't have to go far to see a Swiss flag; they are everywhere!

There are a few things that are quintessentially Swiss and cheese fondue is one of them.
Our visit to Switzerland wouldn't be complete minus a fondue!!

Our very first Swiss fondue at the Fritschi Restaurant.



Best rösti ever!!!

The raclette was amazing too. Yummmmm!



You can't go all the way to Switzerland and not buy a Swiss watch!

Unlike what we thought, the prices of branded Swiss watches over here were just about the same as those back home.

Just because...

A Rolex or even a Tag Hauer is way out of our league so we settled for a Swiss Military Watch for my son Josh who couldn't join us on this trip.


Musings Of A Tired Mummy