EUROPE – Day 15

Jun 21, 2021 | 0 comments

DAY 15 – Sunday, July 7, 2019 – Lindau >> Rankweil-Vaduz (Liechnenstein) >> Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

Today we had the Best Breakfast Buffet EVER!  Pancakes, hashbrowns, sausages, donuts, meats, cheese, breads, and juices.  Ceceila kept us entertained with stories over breakfast.  Jan asked, “Is this the real version? Or the Ceceila version?  Evidently, Ceceila has a reputation for embellishing stories.

We got a late start.  Dan was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  He was having a hard time breathing throughout the night.  EMTs thought he’d be alright, but they wanted to run a few tests.

Our first stop was Basilica Rankweil in Austria.  Sunday morning mass was going on.  A basilica is an important church.  It may contain the remains of a saint or pope.  A cathedral is the seat of a bishop, archbishop, or cardinal.

Basilica and the Church of Our Lady of Rankweil was built in the 8th century on a steep-sided rock overlooking the Rhine Valley.  In 1445, it was destroyed, then rebuilt and well-fortified in the late 15th century.  The Chapel of Miracles houses a graceful statue of the Virgin Mary by the Swabian school, amid dazzling gilded decoration.  The gallery leads to the rampart walk that offers a panorama of the Rhine Valley.

Linda claims we’ve done about the same amount of walking on this trip as on past trips.  Ceceila, who’s been on other trips – though not necessarily with Dick and Linda – says we’ve done 2 or 3 times more walking on this trip than in the past; and especially more hills.

Liechtenstein is a German speaking microstate in Alpine Central Europe between Austria and Switzerland.  It is Europe’s fourth smallest country with an area of just over 62 square miles and a population of 38,000.  It is well know for its medieval castles, alpine landscapes, villages linked by a network of trails, and about 100 winemakers.  It’s capital is Vaduz (population 5,450).  It is a cultural and financial center, home to modern and contemporary art, and the Postmuseum, which displays Liechtenstein’s postage stamps. Almost 20,000 people commute to work here.

In Liechtenstein, we spent a few minutes in the Parish Church of St. Florin Vaduz. From there, we walked past the music school and parliament building.  There was a car and tractor show in the street.  On our walk to the train terminal, we passed and chatted with a man from Switzerland, wearing a t-shirt from New Glarus, Wisconsin.  There are images of postage stamps on the sidewalk.  Vladya insisted we see a sculpture of the most beautiful woman before we went to the terminal and boarded the mini/shuttle train that drove us through the streets of Vaduz.  We saw views of the Vaduz castle, vineyards and the red house.  After the train ride, we had about 20 minutes of free time.  Barbara and I visited the Post Museum (where I bought collectible postage stamps for a stamp collecting friend).  We met up with our group and had a pizza lunch at an Italian restaurant.

Vaduz Castle is a royal residence dating back to the 1100s.  It sits on a hillside overlooking the town.  No visitors are allowed. 

We found out that Dan would not be going home with us.  According to Dick, he’d probably have to have surgery and have stints put in “and so on and so forth”. 

We crossed the Rhein River into Switzerland. 

Switzerland is a mountainous central European country covering almost 16,000 square miles.  It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern, which is the seat of federal authorities.  The Alps occupy most of its territory. It’s population of 8.5 million primarily resides in cities.  Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world.  Banking and finance are key industries.  Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.  The country has a history of neutrality.  It has not been in a state of war since 1815.  Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross.  Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Sankt Gallen is on the southern side of Bodensee.  We walked through the Red Plaza City Lounge.  I think it was the business district.  Unfortunately, it is completely dead on Sundays. frown

St. Gallen (population 160,000) is a city south of Lake Constance (Bodensee) in northeastern Switzerland.  It is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen.  It is home to the University of St. Gallen, one of the world’s leading business schools. 

From the business district, we walked to the Old Town. We had about 1½ hours on our own.  Barbara, Marlene, Doug, Rita, and I started up to the hill to see the tiny St. Gallen chapel.  Along the way up, we asked for directions, but no one was aware of the chapel.  They kept directing us back down the hill to St. Gallen Cathedral.  We wanted to see the view of this city from the top, but a storm was rolling in.  Doug, Rita, and Marlene headed back down.  Barbara and I forged on.  We ducked under a café overhang for a few minutes and the rain passed.  We asked a waitress where to go for the best view.  She pointed us in the right direction.  We started back up the hill.  Sprinkles again – black sky . . . we headed back down.  The rain stopped without hardly getting us wet.  We probably could have made it to the top. 

Back in the Old Town, we saw many from our group already at the gathering spot (about 25 minutes early).  We went into St. Gallen Cathedral and took a bunch of photos – BEAUTIFUL! 

The Abbey of St. Gall has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The twin towered St. Gallen Cathedral was completed in 1767.  The baroque style church contains the most complete set of historic church bells in Switzerland.  Part of the south altar is a bell brought back from Ireland by Saint Gall himself. The Abbey Library of Saint Gall includes an extensive collection of books from the 9th century. It is recognized as one of the oldest libraries in the world.  There are over 160,000 books, of which 2,100 are handwritten.   

With 15 minutes left, we wandered down the street to another church, but it was locked.  With 10 minutes left, I decided to go to the water closet (WC).  I was certain I’d have enough time to get some ice cream to enjoy on the walk back to the bus.

The porta-potty-like WC was very futuristic.  The seat was attached to the back wall.  I pulled it down to do my job.  When I flushed, the seat went back up and water streamed down around the entire bowl.  Soap was dispensed from the side wall and a small stream of water to wash my hands flowed from the upper side of the wall into the bowl.  Another button on the side of the wall activated a hand dryer.  I stepped outside and held the door open while I took a photo of the Jetson’s bathroom.

Five minutes to spare – just enough time to get ice cream.  As I approached the meeting spot (next to the ice cream cart), our group started clapping, “27 – we can go now!” WHAT!?! We started heading to the bus.  I didn’t get any ice cream.

For dinner, we had noodles and rice with beef, pork, and chicken.  Dessert was strawberry sauce with cocoa covered chocolate ice cream on top.

After dinner, Marlene, Barbara and I walked down to GRISN.  There was nobody sitting on the patio.  It looked dark.  We thought it was closed, but we pulled on the door handle – WAH-LA! It opened.  Max, the bartender, served us and took our picture.  There was only one or two others in the large, modern bar with dart boards, pool, fussball, and air hockey tables. We sat in bean bag chairs in the corner, adjacent to the fireplace video.  We laughed a lot.

We got back to the hotel at 9:30.  We heard a loud knock in the hallway around 11:10 – Dick was getting back from visiting Dan in the hospital.

Have you ever been hospitalized in a foreign country? What was your experience like?

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