Redcliffe Pier

Saturday, October 24, 2015

CAMPING ON THE CONTINENT IN 1970

(Continuing My Story)

While we were living with Bill's parents in Switzerland, they had their annual holidays and they asked us if we would like to go camping with them. Bill said his parents went camping every year usually to the Italian Riviera but this time they were going to Austria. I was quite excited about seeing another part of Europe. We left Thun and drove through Luzern, Lichtenstein and over the Arlberg Pass where there was fresh snow. Then we arrived in Insbruck. We found the camp site and put up out tents. It was very cold with snow on the mountains not far away.We went into the pretty town surrounded by towering mountains. We had the biggest veal schnitzel at a restaurant, which had folk dancing and singing

Trying yo warm up in sun.

 The next day was warmer and we went to the beautiful Lake Wolfgang where we found another campsite. People were swimming in the inviting clear water.  I hadn't been swimming for ages and I thought that I would enjoy this. I ran across the sand and plunged into the lake. It took my breath away and I'm sure my heart stopped for a few seconds. The water was icy cold. I swam a few strokes but soon turned around and headed for the shore. I had never felt water so cold. I was used to the warm tropical waters of PNG.

 We went on a day trip to the town of St Wolfgang and visited the famous "White Horse Inn". My inlaws had warmed to me and we had fun even though my Swiss German was very little.

 We weren't the only tourists. We returned to the campsite and that night there was a ferocious thunder storm. We had to hang on to the tent poles to stop the tent blowing away. There is nothing worse than a storm in the mountains.

The next day we went to St Gilgen where there was a statue of Mozart in the square.

Another day we went to Salzberg.

The weather was not the best so we packed up and drove to Munich in Germany. It was much warmer and the camping ground was crowded. It was fun walking around Munich. I couldn't get over how old some of the buildings were, especially the old town wall and gate built in the 1100's, that was 600 years before Australia was discovered.

We journeyed onto Rorschach on the Bodensee, the lake where three countries meet. Switzerland, Germany and Austria. It seemed funny to me to be able to have breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Germany and dinner in Austria. 
 While we were there we joined in the celebrations for Swiss National Day on Aug 1st. In the evening kids had a lantern parade to a huge bonfire and then there were fireworks. After that we joined in with other campers for an evening drink and chat, which I found difficult to follow. I didn't drink alcohol in those days but luckily there was some nice fruit punch available so I drank that all night. Soon I was very tired and since I couldn't understand the conversation, I decided to find my way back to our tent in the dark. When I stood up the world began to spin and I was wobbly on my legs. Bill said, "What have you been drinking?" "Just fruit punch," I answered. After a brief Swiss conversation with our new friends, Bill laughed, "It was made with Kirsch, a strong Swiss liqueur." I staggered back to our tent tripping over guy ropes on the way and finally collapsed onto my stretcher. If I opened my eyes the tent was spinning around and around . This was the first and last time I ever got drunk.

The next morning we all had sore heads. The men were invited for a boat ride across the lake to Austria for a drink while the women cleaned up, we were not impressed.
The following day it was time to head home to Thun. We went via St Gallen past the lake of Zurich to K├╝ssnacht where the legend of William Tell took place. We walked through the Hole Gasse (a forest track) where Tell shot Gessler. It was very pretty and historic.
We drove over the Brunig Pass and down to Interlachen and Thun. After travelling around Switzerland, I think Bill comes from the most beautiful area, the Bernese Oberland.
Bill's parents went back to work and we had to think about our future but there was more to do and see yet.

24 comments:

  1. I could have warned you! I read the first bit - girl from PNG camping in the Alps - she'll find it chilly, I hope she doesn't go swimming in a lake - Ah! TOO LATE!!!!!

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  2. Salzburg must be the Manchester of Austria, as it was raining when we were there too. I am always amused when I see the word 'rathuas'. It seems so appropriate for local councils.

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  3. Great report Diane.
    It certainly didn't rain in Salzburg when I was there. One of my favourite cities of the World, so much to see and spotlessly clean - maybe it is the mountain air????
    Very brave jumping into an alpine lake, but the weather has shown looked inviting - all in summer clothes.
    The "Rathaus" in Ulm, Germany is well worth a visit for many historical reasons.
    Ah those days of our youth - well we were young once - are real treasures to keep.
    Cheers
    Colin

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  4. Ha ha, I preempted the bit about the fruit punch, wonderful memories of your camping trip Diane.

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  5. You made a wonderful tour, so nice to read about. I have been in many countries in Europe but never in Switzerland strange enough. Austria I know very well, my mother in law was from Vienna. The mountains are stunning in those countries.

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  6. Hello Diane, you were brave camping in the Alps and swimming in the cold lake. I love seeing all the towns and the beautiful views of the mountains. It was a good way to become friends with your in-laws. Great post and photos. Have a happy weekend!

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  7. Such wonderful memories.
    You had me laughing a few times :)

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  8. diane , great post.. I was at the Bodense Lake is a great place. Austria is a great country

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  9. It must have been wonderful camping in that majestic scenery. Living in Minnesota I have had the experience of jumping in a cold lake many times and feeling as if your heart stops and you can't get your breath. It is refreshing on a hot day, though.

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  10. Wow camping in snowy weather in Europe and swimming as well!!! We did not even camp in the cold in South Africa!!!! Loved this post t'other Diane

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  11. Enjoyed the story of the fruit punch. Have just returned from a 3 day visit to Vienna. Such a beautiful city and found the people very friendly and helpful.

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  12. Your fruit punch story was a hoot. That room spinning sensation is certainly one of the most awful sensations! Your continuing adventures are always so interesting to read about. I've always heard good things about camping in Europe and I see it was true even a few decades ago.

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  13. Great memories and how good you still have pics of your holiday. I travelled through this area on a bus trip a few years ago and remember sitting in the market place at Salzburg listening to a violinist playing Mozart when our bus driver came along and said "everybody back on the bus" I just wanted to stay there forever but of course it was onto Vienna and more adventures.

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  14. You look happier here Diane :) must admit I had a similar experience with alcohol.. Many years ago, but never been drunk since :) Switzerland looks so beautiful!

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  15. Great photos. Love the way the photos are coloured and why don't they have fringing on tents anymore?

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  16. I would wonder why people would want to sleep in a tent in such cold weather but I guess it is something some people are used to, I don't like camping not way no how Tim of course says he loves it and when he was young he did but I don't think he would like it that much now days but of course he things differently

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  17. yum fruit punch yeh you can't have to much of that lol Lovely photos and story. I have been to the bodensee as well. Great place

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  18. What a nasty surprise to discover the fruit punch had real"punch" to it!

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  19. I love reading your stories of adventures in life and seeing the photos. You and I have many common experiences from marrying away from the known culture and language so your tales resonate beautifully with me.

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  20. I'm enjoying reading these memories, Diane. You've had so many wonderful experiences!

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  21. Funny that the first time you got drunk was with your in laws

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  22. Great photos Diane, a wonderful time you had except for the spinning tent ;)

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  23. My parents used to go to Austria too and I know all these places you mentioned but I was between 13 and 18, after that I had enough from these countries and discovered others. You made me laugh with the fruit cocktail ! Imagine I was 8 when it happened to me and my friend, the parents were giving a party and we had discovered this delicious drink ! I don't remember anything, only that we were brought to bed ! that was my first time !!

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  24. What an adventure and wonderful memory! I think your were incredibly brave to jump in that lake! Know you still remember it well! Beautiful place

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