Thursday, July 23, 2009

EU trip (Switzerland), Day 15

DAY 15

It was going to be a long day for us. We packed up everything into the van and I went 10 minutes ahead of the car to return the bicycle that Sajeel brought last night. This was the same bike troubling us last night and I had to stop several times to fix its tire before reaching the shop for return. It was 8’o clock at the return time. We said bye to Sohail and family and drove towards Luzern.

Luzern is a nice city with big lake as one attraction. We spent some time there to walk around and as I mentioned earlier it was just like another EU city if you are not staying there for longer time. This much time gave us a good glimpse of the city and we were able to pick a few souvenirs from there. Luzern’s main attraction was Mt. Titlis that we had explored in the last two days. We also walked around the river and saw the two very old bridges over it. Flowers were the keynote for this city as well and they had plenty of those to massage your eyes with soothing colors.

We left Luzern for Zurich. We planned to spend a few hours in Zurich before driving towards Amsterdam and would make a stop by evening somewhere for the night. The probable stop was after the Black Forest in Germany. But when we reached Zurich we had a lot of trouble finding the appropriate parking and all the more it looked to us a big city and not to be covered in a couple of hours. So we contemplated and decided against staying here. We would leave it for another visit of Switzerland and may land here to start our trip. But still we managed to drive around to have a good feel to take along from Zurich, also paid a Euro each to use the bathroom at the main station.

The next stop in mind was Black Forest, which is the birthplace of the famous Cuckoo Clocks a couple of centuries ago. The GPS was not giving us a proper stop for that so we used the wifi to find some town with in the Black Forest region and started driving towards that place. We crossed into Germany with in the next two hours of driving. The terrain, scenery and architecture changed a bit to give us a German feeling. We took a break at one service center for lunch and continued driving, as the stop was still a couple hours away. We noticed that the traffic had increased on the highways in Germany, roads were very busy by this time and it was already afternoon. We reached the town in BlackForest (Another mountainous region to be covered in another trip to EU) by 5pm. It was to our disappointment that everything was about to close there and this particular town was not the one we intended to reach. And the other town was another 90 miles away into the mountains, and we were not ready to go in an opposite direction at this stage. So we had no choice but either to continue driving or have a stop over for the night, our dream of buying Cuckoo clocks was shattered. If we had stopped then we would be wasting half a day next day while driving to Amsterdam so we decided to reach as close to Holland as possible and then stay somewhere. Our GPS was still showing a good 7 hours drive from where we were.

Anyhow we enjoyed the German highways having no speed limit and we drove really fast on some areas but could not do justice due to busy roads. And then we got stuck in the traffic for about 2 hours; this break was always a tough one for the driver as well as for the passengers. We found the road opened after a good two hours of crawling on the road. But we had some more surprises on the way, the dark clouds started gathering as far as we could see the sky. And it was not far when it started to rain cats and dogs. The rain was very heavy at times and thunderstorm was just half an hour away. It started to get very dark and the thunderstorms really got worst. But with all the obstacles we continued our journey slowly. It was quite late in the evening but now we were not in the mood to stop on the way. We called ahead to Formula 1 hotel in Amsterdam and got the necessary booking of two rooms already. The weather got worst and worst and we had to make couple of unnecessary stops to wait for the better weather conditions as the visibility reduced to zero at times. The drive was treacherous and tiring, it was already more then 12 hours since we started our journey in the morning. The weather remained like that until we finally made it to Amsterdam at about 2am and 18 hours of journey. We just crashed in our beds as soon as we reached our hotel in the Zaandam area.

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