A Travellerspoint blog

Zürich and Amsterdam

We’re on our way home🎶

sunny 16 °C
View Rhine Highlights on kwtraumer's travel map.

Today started at the crack of dawn. Even though we had a short evening we loved our stay at the Hotel Schweizerhof. I would recommend this hotel to anyone heading to Zürich. It is not cheap but it is a good value for the luxury. I really felt like we were treated well and every comfort was provided for, from robes to adjustable beds, from butler service with complementary food to high end face creams and shampoos. Another nice touch: the lighting. You can turn off all of the lights from either bedside and the main door. Each side of the bed has its own plug-in and light. And there was a standard North American plug-in too.

We were sorry to say goodbye to this hotel, leaving with a yoghurt and a handful of chocolates courtesy of butler! We arrived at the airport before any of the check ins were open. We waited in line with others and finally it was our turn, but we had to prepare our ArriveCAN docs (which we thought we’d do during our long wait in Amsterdam). Yep, so we stepped out of line. Back in line they looked at our carryons and we’re like, nope you’ll have to check those. So I checked my carryon (which has no locks and Dave’s present). I’m hoping it will make it in one piece. I think they were just mad at us because there were people with way more and larger carryons than us!

We finally made our way to the gate. As usual, nothing was open. There was a self-serve coffee machine that needed a tap card. None of our taps work here but thankfully the guy behind Dave offered to pay for our coffee.

We left Zürich 20 minutes late and were grateful we’d changed our connecting flight to allow us more time to make our connection in Amsterdam. The airline had changed our flight, so we would have only had an hour. With the 20 minute delay and the 30 minute queue through passport security it would have been tight.

Now we’re sitting at the gate, and our flight delayed at least another hour. So if we’d kept our original flight we’d have been ok.

So a little bit about Schiphol. It is massive. This means long walks, but also thankfully there are lots of moving sidewalks. If you find a bathroom use it, you might not find another one. Expect to queue everywhere. Want Starbucks? Well that will be at least 1/2 hour in line. Every store we went in we waited at least 15 min. Your flight might also not be posted to the departure screen. If this happens to you, go to lost and found. They are very helpful.

My recommendation too if you’re looking for a quick bite, don’t go to Heineken or that fancy cafe, grab a sandwich and water at the little food and souvenir spot (but keep your boarding pass handy).
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We’ve been travelling for 7 hours now only another 10 to go

Book pairing: The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf I just started this thriller.
Drink pairing: coffee, black, IV

Posted by kwtraumer 11:18 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Basel and Zürich

Hello Switzerland 🇨🇭

sunny 19 °C

We were at breakfast this morning by 7 packed and ready to go. Saying a sad farewell to all our new friends we boarded our double decker bus at 9. I think they drove us through the entire industrial area of Basel before we crossed the river and made it to the picturesque countryside.
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An hour and a half was all it took to get us to our hotel in Zürich and that includes a stop off at the airport to drop off a number of passengers flying today.

Let me tell you about some of them, well maybe two of them, the two that sat right in front of us. They fought the entire time. Why? We’ll we can tell you the entire story because they were both quite hard of hearing and spoke very loudly. She was trying to book their PCR rapid result test at the airport and he was trying to help her. She could book hers, but they struggles with his, and only stopped their discussion about this test to argue about the bus temperature. At the end of the journey she told him to hand over her passport and tickets so at least she could get home. They really stressed me out!

Finally we arrived at Hotel Schweizerhof
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We were able to check in but we couldn’t get our rooms right away. So we wandered around exploring nearby. It’s in a very central area great pedestrians of for tram or train travel.

I’m very sad that we’re only here for one night. This room is massive and stunning. They have gorgeous accessories, bathroom amenities, ample closet space. Definitely reasonably priced for the room. We would have a quite spectacular view, except the building across the street is under major repair. I wish I’d taken some pictures of the outside of this amazing hotel.
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Lunch was a massive schnitzel with fries and a beer.
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Drink pairing: regional lager
Book pairing: no reading tonight I’m up at 3 am

Posted by kwtraumer 19:03 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

Kehl and Gutach

Saying goodbye to Germany

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Rhine Highlights on kwtraumer's travel map.

Last night I returned to my youth and enjoyed disco on the Rhine. I haven’t danced like that in ages. If you know me I’m a total introvert normally seeking solitary time to rejuvenate. But I also get energy and emotional recharging from music. If you see me on the dance floor you would guess I’m under the influence of alcohol, and yes sometimes you’d be right, but usually I’m just under the influence of music. I have music hangovers where I wake up the next day amazed and sometimes embarrassed about my dancing/singing antics!

So today is one of those day! But we were up and on the bus at Kehl by 8:45 on our way deeper into the Black Forest. We went to the Black Forest Open Air Museum at Gutach. It is so peaceful and picturesque there with thatch-roofed houses, stunning greenery and the occasional goose/horse.
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Then it was back to the boat for the sad packing. We have to leave the ship at 9am, go by bus to Zurich (1.5 hr) where we will overnight and catch a dawn flight to return home. So trying to be a little strategic today and packing my clothes and toiletries for easy access tomorrow.
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Then we had our last dinner with new friends Sandra and David. One of our best meals aboard.
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If you squint really hard you can see about 10 swans here 🦢
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Drink pairing: Kristalweizen a clear ( that’s crystal clear) hefeweize
Book pairing: The Summer Place by Jennifer Werner

Posted by kwtraumer 21:11 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Rastatt

Mercedes Benz and the Favorite Palace

rain 22 °C
View Rhine Highlights on kwtraumer's travel map.

After a difficult stop in Heidelberg, we made our way to Rastatt for the night.

We went to the Favorite Palace, which looked like a little baby version of Versailles of course nothing can compare to the original. Though missing the Hall of Mirrors there is still enough opulence to be overwhelming with chandeliers, tapestries, paintings, lacquer and red velvet. It is also home to the largest collection of Meissen porcelain.

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We were treated to a selection of operatic works after the champagne reception and tour. Before they started, all doors were closed. This is never a good sign! It became so very humid and with our masks on it was absolutely stifling. The performance was not well organized: there were no introductions at the beginning and an unfortunate mistiming between the standing ovation and the musicians’ return left an awkward occurrence where the audience was mostly out the door by the time the musicians came back on stage.

We overnighted in Rastatt and went to the Mercedes Benz factory in the morning. Not something I would have selected to do, but not totally uninteresting either. The most fun I had was in the waiting area, where I participated in their selfie zone.
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With onboard credit I thought I’d treat myself to a foot massage. This was no treat! The masseuse had very strong hands and arms and when she struck the bottoms of my feet I was definitely at the low end of the enjoyment scale!

Tonight is dinner with the captain. Again 2 courses are fish based, which will mean a small dinner for Dave if they don’t provide substitutes.

Wine pairing: German house white, dry, whatever they have.
Book pairing: I’m not very interested in reading right now, must be book selection. Maybe today is a book free day.

Posted by kwtraumer 14:23 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren

Und auch mein Geld

sunny 25 °C
View Rhine Highlights on kwtraumer's travel map.

Today was the long awaited excursion: we docked in Mannheim and took the bus to Heidelberg.

I was so happy to be returning to the city that held such sweet memories for me. We started our walking tour near the old bridge and really just meandered through the old city.

Plenty of pictures, not too many memories. Old Town Heidelberg is beautiful, with cobblestone streets, magnificent old buildings, and the beautiful sounds of bells and birds.
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The squares offer stunning views of either the castle
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Or the churches
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Being the 3rd oldest university in Europe, there are school and student related scenery as well. Like the student kiss or the student jail.
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I was disappointed as I felt no connection to this town on my return. Even after having some rum and raisin ice cream. I felt a little excited as we passed the Neckarweise remembering so many good times spent in the sun with my sisters that last year.

As we traded back to the boat I looked to the hills to see if I could spot our beloved Emmertsgrund and if you squint your eyes and use your imagination you can see The community we spent so much time in.
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So wondering about the money part? Well this occurred when I realized that I also had lost all of my Euros. Travel lesson learned: if you don’t have a proper wallet before you leave on holidays, buy one, or be prepared to share your money with some other person. I’m hoping that a person in need found my envelop of money and bought themselves some good shoes and had a great meal.

Still to come tonight, private concert!

Drink pairing: orange Fanta German style, maybe a spezi.
Book pairing: The Summer Place-Jennifer Weiner

Posted by kwtraumer 14:39 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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