I left you last time from my lounge table at the Holiday Inn Express in Affoltern am Albis. This is a pretty little town just a little north of Lucerne. Our afternoon’s journey took us through valleys bordering the Alps and early in the evening we pulled in shattered from the drive and the heat.
In Affoltern we checked in and I got the blog knocked out, finished my beer and got up to head to the elevator. Just as I got to my feet I caught a glimpse. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Three tour buses pulling up in front of the hotel one after the other. Not only was this a bus tour Mecca, it was the same folks from Interlaken who we had dodged several hours earlier. I picked up my pace to try to get on the elevator (one only) before well over a 100 bus tourists were assigned their rooms from their yellow flag carrying cyborg leaders.
Epic fail, too late. The procession had begun. Deanna and I looked at our concierge with sad puppy dog eyes. He took pity on us and brought us into the back of house to use the staff elevator to the 6th floor. I kinda felt like a rock star escaping a throng of rabid fans “out the back door of the theatre”. It’s good to be an IHG Spire customer as several of my brothers in arms know too well.
The following morning the breakfast area was like feeding time at the zoo. If you felt like taking your life in your hands now was the time to try and jockey for position at the trough. I could not understand the bus tour banter however I think they were enjoying shutting us out.
We regrouped and waited for the surly drivers to arrive and bark loading times and other orders at the bus tourists. It did not seem to me that they liked their job by the tone they took. What I did notice however is that these fellows were clearly not to be trifled with and they must be well known for driving off leaving tardy passengers behind on a regular basis. That all being said the breakfast room cleared out in seconds and calm was restored. Bliss.
The following morning was spent in Laufenburg, Switzerland. The place is spectacular. The photos do not do it a quarter of the respect its owed.
The remainder of our day was spent travelling through rural Switzerland and the black Forrest of Bavaria. We finally called it a day in Fruedenstadt, Germany. It was a treat to check in to our little Bavarian hotel and soon after we were into the middle of town and the centrum platz. We made for the local Brau Haus and quickly got down to business with Pilsners and an unreal selection of pigs knuckle, sour kraut and schnitzel.
A wonderful meal served by typically grumpy fifty something ladies dressed in local garb (use your imagination). Dinner was fantastic but Allistair was a little put out by the amount of Kirsht in his Black Forrest Sundae. Back to the hotel and soon to sleep.
We woke not too long after and joined our fellow guests for a wonderful breakfast and then packed the car for our journey north. We set the GPS for Wetzlar just past Frankfurt. Wetzlar is home to Leica camera. It’s factory and world HQ. I have been a devoted fan of Leica cameras since photography became a hobby. Their history is long and colourful. Without Leica we would not have enjoyed so many of the photographs we call iconic today. Leica have provided tools for the best and brightest photographers to capture & catalogue history.
We enjoyed coffee and cake at the Leica cafe’ to begin with then moved on to the exhibit centre, gallery and store. I have been lucky to own a Leica in the past but not recently and today makes me lust after one now even more.
From Wetzlar we moved onto Ghent in Belgium this afternoon. The autobahn and an average speed of 175 kmh helped with our arrival time but not my nerves. You think you are Sebastian Vettel (you are welcome Heir Biefeld) as you rocket along but furious Germans are on your bumper cranking their high beams so that you get out of their way because they want to go much much faster. Germany is scary but go anyway, we met some lovely Syrian dial-a-dopers (economic migrants doing well, you might say) last night after dark in the platz. I call them as I sees them and these telephone based narcotic delivery specialists were doing quite well for themselves by the look of their bling, several burner phones and shiny new runners. Anyway, we are here and resting before we spend the next couple of days wandering Ghent prior to moving on to conclude our trip in Amsterdam.
I leave you with this. Don’t bus tour. It really looks like the most miserable of times! And what do you see? You see what others tell you to see and then you wage war with your new friends (you never wanted) at the buffet every morning and night until its all gone and so is your will to live. It sounds shit cause it is shit.