Crossing into Germany to Switzerland by train, we felt like we had to make a stop at the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. A visit to the fortress has to be booked minimum 48hours in advance so we decided to do the quick, cheap and easy version where we booked a bus ticket from Füssen to the village of Hohenschwangau where we could walk 20minutes up to Marienbrüvke for a perfect view of the castle. The only problem was, just like Venice, the place was packed with Asian tourists- to the degree that you almost constantly walked in a line with the masses. After walking back to the train station in Füssen, which took another half hour, we had just spent one hour and paid only 2,25€ for our visit, unlike people who had spent lots of time and money waiting in a queue for their guided tours of the castle.
The queue for the compulsory photo from Marienbrücke
The evening and night was spent in München at the annual Gay Pride (Christopher Street Day) and Tollwood, free, open air festival before jumping on a train to Berlin early the next morning.
Gay parade on Marienplatz
Berlin was perfect for just spending a few hours before my evening flight. The train station is close to Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Genocide Memorial and the Rechstag Building. Food stands are plentiful and I got to do some gift shopping before flying back home to Trondheim.
During the last two weeks we had stayed somewhere new every single night and were happy to finally spend two whole nights in Zürich together with my friend Isabelle, who I first had met in Bali three months ago.
The fortress by the lake in Neuchatel
On our bucket trip bucket list we had hiking in the Swiss alps, and Isi had suggested a trip to Creux du Van, which was exactly the trip we had been looking for. We took the train from Zürich to Neuchatel, stayed there for an hour before going to the village of Noiraigue in the French part of Switzerland where the trek started. After a steep 1,5hr hike we found ourself sitting with our lunchpack, dingeling our feet over a mountainside that had the nickname “the Grand Canyon of Switzerland”. The weather was great and so was the view.
Another thing we had on our travel bucket list was hitchhiking, so we asked a couple of Swiss-Italians if we could get a ride to the nearest town, which happened to be Môtiers – the town where absinth was invented. We quickly ended up at one of the destilleries, where Sara, who’s husbands’s family had been destilling since the year 1797, even through 100 years of abolition. She offered us a glass of each kind and explained the history of the drink and how it was made.
Having a “backpacker shower” on the Limmat River- right in the middle of Zürich city center
Our day trip was more than we could have hoped for and visiting Lake Zürich, the city center and eating home made Swiss food with local beer and wine was a great break from our otherwise quite hectic eurotrip itinerary. On the way to Zürich we also made a quick stop at Chur to try the World’s longest toboggan ride- feel free to check out the video on my instagram profile here.
Going from Austria to Switzerland, we were bound to travel through the country of Liechtenstein. Even though the railroad runs by, there is no train stations in the country. That is why we got off the train in the small Swiss city of Chur and jumped on the bus to Vaduz.
The half hour drive there was nice, passing though the small village of Schaan with vineyards an old church, before the bus finally stopped in Vaduz.
I was surprised to see how small the country really was. Geographically it was bigger than the countries of San Marino and the Vatican which we had visited earlier in the week, but in Vaduz there were almost no people. It was like any village would have been in Switzerland, with a church and at a castle, but nothing more. Taking the bus back to Switzerland, to the city of Sargans, we had crossed the whole country with just over an hour of driving, so for anyone who wants to go there to get some kind of special experience, I just guess there is none. Vineyards and castles is something you have all over the alps. On the vineyard that we did visit there, we looked at the restaurant where the prices for the average appetizer was around 50euroes-way too expensive for our budgets! Looking it up online afterwards I realized that we had been to the Prince’s own vineyard and that this was the country’s most exclusive place to dine.
There is also a trek in Liechtenstein called “the Three Sisters” (die Drei Schwestern”) that one can do, but since I guess that would not have been any different to hiking elsewhere in the Alps we felt like it was enough to spend just one day in the Principality of Liechtenstein.
The view from the Prince’s winery
Venice sounds like a clichée, but it was actually super nice! To get there by train you have to drive over a long bridge and when you get out of the (St. Lucia) trainstation, you are stepping right out on the canals!
Although this place was completely packed with tourists, I enjoyed every bit of walking the narrow streets, seeing the gondolas go by and smelling the food that was cooked along the way. I noticed how every bridge over the canals were constructed in different ways and it was not the most famous ones, like “the Bridge of Sighs” or “the Grand Canale” bridge that was the most beautiful in my opinon. It was the quiet ones where daily life went on for locals.
The Bridge of Sighs is probably the most famous and therefore full of tourists
We only spent the shorter part of a day in Venice and we could have easily spent more. This city lived, by far, up to its expectation and just walking around in the streets was like getting lost in a maze where there was something beautiful around every corner.
The fifth smallest country and the oldest, San Marino was just 30kilometers away from Rimini. As there were no train stations in the country, we rented a motorbike and drove up the hill to the fortress city and capital of the country, which was also called San Marino.
The fortress was on a steep hill overlooking Italy. Driving up we were surpassed by Ferraris and Lamborghinis, so it seemed to us that a lot of people living there were quite rich. When we finally got to the top and looked down it became clear to us why. The view from San Marino down over Italy was absolutely stunning.
We just walked around and had a look at shops, museums and restaurants. Almost all shops were selling knives and airguns and it is still not clear to us why. We grabbed a pizza to go and took some photos of the streets, churches and monuments before heading back to our hostel in Rimini. When crossing the border to Italy it was hard to believe that we had seen all the highlights of a whole country in just one day.