12th October 2018

We were back on the train today using our Eurail Passes, this time travelling from Salzburg, Austria to Zurich, Switzerland, with a stopover in Innsbruck. We caught the 8.56am train; the closer we got, the higher and more picturesque the mountains became. After our two hour journey, we arrived at the charming little city nestled at the foot of, and surrounded by, mountains.



Fortunately, Austria's stations have convenient storage lockers, so we didn't have to drag our luggage around with us. An elderly German couple were having troubling following the instructions (in German, no less), so Rona jumped to their aid and showed them how it was done in typical helpful-Rona fashion.



As usual, we gravitated towards the older part of town, where the buildings dated from as early as the 14th century. We even found a place related to Mozart and his father. We asked three different passers-by what the sign on the building actually said - each of them gave us a different take on the translation, including two French ladies who weren't fluent in German, but had a go anyway. We eventually concluded that they stayed here during one of Mozart's concert tours.


Was Debbie game to try Radler beer? Her t-shirt declared her "capable ... but exhausted", so she rose to the challenge

We found a nice outdoor cafe in the middle of the Old Town, and decided to have lunch there as the menu was all Austrian food. In a final salute to the local cuisine, Debbie had Sausages and sauerkraut, Stephen had cheese and bacon dumplings, Rona had white cabbage salad with her bacon and fried potatoes and Steve played it safe by having onion-free Potato Rosti (Italian) and Chicken. Stephen and Rona introduced Debbie to Radler beer, a locally brewed low-alcohol lemon flavoured beer, which Steve was eyeing off.


Innsbruck must have the world's oldest Hard Rock Cafe. The date on the wall reads '1577'.





We then took a long walk alongside the river, which was fast-flowing and a gorgeous pale green colour, and looked stunning against the mountainous backdrop. We ended up circling the city, and arrived back at the station to catch the 3.48pm train to Zurich. This beautiful, scenic trip gave us 3 1/2 hours of stunning scenery - gorgeous mountains that got higher and higher, pretty villages and the occasional castle and church, often high up the mountain overlooking a village.



Past experience told us it would be best to make reservations for this journey, so we had done this the night before and paid an additional, but reasonable 3.50 euros per person. This proved to be a wise move as the train was full and we would probably not have had a set of 4 facing seats with a table had we not reserved them.



We chatted to some friendly German people on the way, and arrived in Zurich at 7.20pm. Our apartment is an all-white top-floor unit that we suspect was never intended for use by four adults, as one bedroom has the tv in it (was it was once the lounge room?), the other has the table and chairs. It also has the bathroom leading off it, which could lead to some interesting scenarios should the second couple wish to use it during the night. With sloping ceilings and long, narrow windows, we began to understand what castle-tower prisoners may have felt like.


One can always tell the tourists from the locals because they do the strangest things.


Zurich

13th October 2018

After a shower (separately, of course) and breakfast, we braced ourselves for the price inflation we had been warned about, and set out to explore the city of Zurich. The city is a global centre for banking and finance, and once we crossed from the 'Surry Hills' to the 'Double Bay' end of town, it became obvious that the people who live here are experts in how to make money and how to spend it.



In the street outside their Savoy Hotel we counted no less that six Mercedes Benz, five BMWs, three 4-door and two hard-top Porsches, a Lamborghini, a Maserati and a VW Golf (there's always one ring-in) parked in the side street.



Around the corner were three Bentleys, an open-top Rolls Royce and a couple of Jags. We've seen more Ferraris (we lost count at nine) within half an hour than we've seen during our whole trip so far.



The Savoy Hotel is on Bahnhofstrasse, the most expensive street in the world, which is often referred to as Europe's Rodeo Drive. We passed shop after shop of designer labels - Prada, Chanel, Boss, Zara, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo (brother of Ah), Esprit, Benetton, Tommy Hilfiger ... the list goes on. The majority had security guards at their front doors - Omega even had security doors - presumably one has to have a Gold AMEX card or two, and flash it at the guard before being allowed entry. And if you're still a millionaire in training, you'll be pleased to know that Zurich has more H&M stores than any other city in the world.



Everyone here seems to be dressed in designer wear, including the children; even the pooches strut along proudly, noses in the air. This opulence was carried over into the markets at the end of the street on the shores of Lake Zurich - one stall specialised in chandeliers and crystal glassware, others had rare musical instruments and paintings by leading local artists. We found a nice riverside cafe and had a simple lunch, but even that cost 61 francs (about Aus$73.00) for the four of us.



In the afternoon, we walked through the narrow streets of the old part of the city, before heading back to our unit to write this travelogue and plan our next day's journey - a train trip over The Swiss Alps to Milan, Italy.


Switzerland is famous for many things, not the least its chocolate. Debbie has been hanging out to sample some since we left Sydney, so when she saw her first Swiss chocolate shop, it was impossible to hold her back.

Stephen Yarrow and Debbie Hall

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