Mountain climbing with animals
With the Italian Riviera bathed in sunshine as we drove by, the turn north for Milan started the decline. By the time we stopped for fuel and personal refuelling no more than an hour from the coast, I was looking for my sweater to keep warm. I don’t expect to see people wearing animals as small as my friend in today’s photo, taken at the Currencies Direct client convention at Auberge St Donat a couple of nights ago when the mercury begins to fall.
What I do expect is that people will be wearing slightly larger animal skins, and I expect them to be dead, not the people, the animals. I do not expect them to be much like this little pork pie on legs. What is wrong with a simple pashmina anyway? It would keep you warmer than this little munchkin.
Anyway we battled our way through Italy and around Lichtenstein before reaching Switzerland, which is reputed to be the most boring country on earth. We attempted to make it a bit more interesting by turning off the motorway and taking one of the great driving roads, the St Bernardino Pass, which I have to say is anything but boring. Absolutely stunning vistas, often covered at the top by the first snows of winter reminded me of being up north, except for the stunning vistas. Small glaciers, gushing mountain streams, and fabulous mountain landscapes were all around. We stopped on numerous occasions on the way up to take pictures and were sometimes overcome by the smell of animals, so another reminder of life in the the north of England. Small holdings are dotted about and cattle are spread across the lower slopes of this wonderful wilderness.
We had aimed to get to a town called Bregenz, mainly because it is about half way to Hanover, our ultimate destination for a 50th birthday party this weekend. It was as we came down the other side of the pass that my old friend. drizzle, my least favourite weather, set in. By the time we reached Bregenz close to the snacking hour of 6pm, the drizzle had developed into intermittent rain and my decision to wear shorts and a short sleeved shirt, a perfectly reasonable choice when leaving the Côte d’Azur in sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20′s Celsius, appeared far less reasonable in the rain and temperatures in the early teens. The hotel receptionist could not resist a snigger at my bedraggled, damp, misplaced beach wear style.
With jumpers and jackets hastily reclaimed from the car, we set off into the town to find something to eat and drink. Generally I find German food stodgy, full of unnecessary meat and with nasty sounding names like schnitzel ( which I think is a type of dog) and bratwurst (which I think is a kind of brat). However, this was Austria, so, thinking we should experience some local culinary delight, we walked about the town to see what we could find.
A Caribbean restaurant is what we found, so very local, but, smokers, get this, when we walked into the restaurant called The Landings, we were asked if we wanted smoking or non smoking seats! On the way we had stopped into Uwe’s Beer Bar for a pint of local Guinness, and had remarked upon the ashtrays scattered around the bar. It seems the enlightened authorities in Austria have refused to invoke the ridiculous blanket EEC rule banning smoking everywhere. Do you know what, despite the bleeding heart liberals predicting we would all have been dead of smoke inhalation by now if we did not enforce the ban, the local smoking population is thriving in this quaint seaside town.
Seaside? I hear you say. The town is on the banks of the “Untersee” a large inland lake, presumably known locally as the Inner Sea. We shall explore this morning, unless it is still raining.