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Mike's Excellent Adventure to Europe 1993

Part 7: Zurich

We got up early in the morning and drove across Austria towards Switzerland.  We drove from Innsbruck all the way west to Bregenz.  We were debating about going to Lichtenstein, but decided to just stay on course and continue on to Zurich.  So, we went to Bregenz, which is the Austrian town on the edge of a huge lake called the "Bodensee."

As we drove the three or so hours across Austria, I tuned the station to a traditional "oompah" music station.  By the time we reached Bregenz, John told me he had enough of the "oompah" music.

The highlight of this trip was when we went through one of those long tunnels in the Alps.  We went through the Arlberg tunnel, which is 8.7 miles long!  They have radio stations that broadcast in the tunnel, so you can listen on the long trip through it.  (You might remember these tunnels from recent years when there have been horrific collisions and fires in them.  Luckily, they were safe when we went through.)

Alberg Tunnel
(Photo: Department of Geography, University of Innsbruck)
The very long Arlberg tunnel.

So, we got to Bregenz and drove around town a little bit, and then decided to drive on down along the lake towards Constance.  We found out that the Austrians and Germans call the lake "Bodensee" while the Swiss call it "Lake Constance."  We crossed into Switzerland, which was the easiest border crossing I ever did - we held up our military IDs, but they didn't even ask us to stop so they could examine them!

So, we stopped at a lot of the little towns and villages along the way.  It wasn't the fastest way to go, but it was very scenic.

Say 'Swiss cheese' - get it?
Gary, myself, and John on the edge of the Bodensee.

So, after a slow drive along the lake, we cut inland towards Zurich.  We got to Zurich around sundown, and made a quick trip around town.  We had some dinner, and then we went on our way.

Cheap camera...
Downtown Zurich.  I wished the picture had turned out better.

Better picture of Switzerland
Another picture of the Zurich center.

We had to be at work the next morning, and we knew it would be a long trip back up to Kaiserslatern where our base was at (have you put it together yet?), and so we quickly left Zurich and headed up to Basel, at the Swiss, German, and French borders.  We then crossed back into Germany and screamed up the Autobahn back to our base.  I set a record - I got our Vectra up to an office-high speed of 210 km/h!  As I was screaming down the road averaging 200 km/h, Gary decides to read the owner's manual.  The Opel driver's manual says that the tires are only rated for speeds of 150 km/h, so speeds above that should not be sustained for very long.  Gary read this to me as we were taking the final exit off the autobahn to the base - after going for about 4 hours at 200 km/h...

At some point on our journey, I pissed someone off while driving and got flipped off.  It was very interesting seeing how people flip others off in the different countries; every place someone did something different.

Continue on to Part 8: Bolzano