On our second day in Chiang Mai my sister organised for a Thai cooking lesson. We were picked up from the hotel in a songthaew (or สี่ล้อ / S̄ī̀ l̂x – four wheels). The car did a lap of Chiang Mai picking up other groups are other hotels.
One group got in the back with us. Michael started talking with them and we soon found out they were a family from France, and their father was Greek. They then got on like a house on fire for the rest of the afternoon.
Our last stop in Europe this trip was Zurich. Mum and dad had flown in via Zurich on the way to Barcelona. We were only here for a few days. We spent one of the days visiting Liechtenstein. Our hotel was in the middle of the city, above a square with a number of restaurants and walking distance to most things. Downstairs was a traditional Swiss restaurant serving fondue.
I’ve enjoyed collecting tiny European counties. In my last few trips we made it to Luxembourg and earlier this trip Andorra. Not far from Zurich, squashed between Austria, Italy, and Switzerland is the tiny country of Liechtenstein.
There had been many highlights this trip, but today was right up. Back when we were planning all the places the visit we were also planning how to get between them. One of the reasons to visit Milan was the train trip back into Switzerland. The Bernina Express.
Local looking sharp and dignified on their scooter
The bare minimum number of devices a self respecting taxi driver would have
After our side trip to Zermatt we had a train all the way through to Milano. Somehow coming through the Alps (through, as we went through many tunnels) the train was on time in Switzerland, and then suddenly running late as soon as we hit Italy.
After Lausanne our next stop was in Milano, Italy. We were travelling by train through the alps and had organised to make a detour on the way over to Zermatt. We caught our first train to Visp where we found some luggage lockers for our bigger bags, and a convince store for coffees.
After visiting Basel we caught the train back to Bern, the capital of Switzerland.
As an Australian it is often hard to understand how small some countries in Europe are. Switzerland is about a 6th the size of the state of Victoria. Despite this, Switzerland is broken up into cantons, which are somewhere between a local council and a state.
Château de Chillon is a castle on the edge of Lake Geneva. It was an outpost in Roman times, situated on a route through the alps. The earliest record of a castle at that location is from the 1000’s. The castle as it is now was greatly expanded in the 12 and 13 hundreds.