Travel Diary - Around Europe 10 Countries in 10 Days

24th September 1993 - Amsterdam to Luxemburg

Stopped in Liege long enough to write a postcard from Belgium. Cheating a little but adds another country to the counter.

Got to Luxembourg City in good time and out for a meal. But it ended up costing us a lot more than we expected and wanted. Ordered our food and expected a bill of 600 it was marked on the hand written menu with what looked like an 'l' which we thought was a Lux Frank symbol but no it was a continental 1. The hat part went to full length of the main part of the 1. We paid up and beat a hasty retreat, lesson learnt.

25th September 1993 - Luxembourg

Explored the city and it's a weird place built across a gorge, with what seems like a couple of villages actually at the bottom of the valley. Cut into the cliffs are casements, a maze of caves and tunnels used for defence in days gone by. The city itself is small, quiet and quite boring, we'd done it in a few hours. Spent the evening down in the valley drinking. In my drunken state I decided I wouldn't want to work in Luxembourg and I don't like the French way of doing stuff, the way they act, the way they talk.

26th September 1993 - Strasbourg and The Black Forest

Woke up with a hangover, really needed the extra hour given to us by the clocks going back. Popped into France just long enough to have lunch and send a postcard from Strasbourg.Crossed over the Rhine. Big, big river considering how far inland it is. Then into the Black Forest. Whoa. Huge rolling hills covered in trees. Rivers, valleys, winding roads up and down like mixing Cheddar with Lynton and added a lot of trees. Checked into a real old German Gasthuis and then hit the road to explore. Drove back after dark. I've never been anywhere so dark. No light pollution at all. First time I've been anywhere so dark since leaving Devon. And it's so isolated, I could imagine running off the road and not be found for a week.

27th September 1993 - Lucerne

Drove down through Basel to Lucerne. Lovely city set on the lake in the shadow of the Alps. Quite peaceful but enough going on to keep you interested.

Went to Engelburg and up to 10000ft on Mt Titlis. A four stage cable car up well above the snow line. Amazing views across the peaks and down to the valleys. We walk up another 50ft through the snow. It was murder the air is so thin, became knackered and dizzy. Also the air was so dry, felt like I'd smoked 100 cigarettes, coughing and wheezing. And when we popped our heads over the top of the ridge got hit with the full force of wind. It was freezing I'd got some snow on my hands on the way up it began to freeze on my hands.

Stopped at a lake on the way and had a walk around, so beautiful and peaceful only thing we could hear was a waterfall in the distance and the cow bells. Drove around in the evening to find somewhere to stay and somewhere to eat. Everything is so expensive. The striking thing driving around was the number of road tunnels, one was over 10km long. Weird driving around in the dark, seeing lights in the sky. Are they stars or are they house up on the mountains.

28th September 1993 - Liechtenstein and Seefeld (Austria)

Drove via the Klausen Pass to Liechtenstein. As we went up we were passing cars covered in snow. At about 1600m we hit the snow line. Great views between the clouds, but the clouds were chasing us up the mountains. The snow closed in, we were lucky to be through the pass before the worse of it. It came in so quickly. Hit Vaduz, nothing more than a village but a capital all the same. Hotel, souvenir shop, hotel. Sent a post card and into Austria.

Seefeld is very scenic, sitting half way up the mountain above Innsbruck. At this time of year it appears to be full of German Grannies. Spent the evening down in Innsbruck, a far younger and more happening place. And thankfully Austria is about half the price of Switzerland.

29th September 1993 - Night out in Bolzano (Italy)

Intended to go hiking today but the clouds were so low it made it pointless. So a quick hike up to a high point took a few photos of the snow and down again. Even that like walk was tiring at this altitude.

Popped across the border for dinner and a postcard. Double customs post, as Austria isn't (wasn't until 1995) part of the EU. Immediately Italy lived up to the stereotype image I had of it. Fashion conscious, riding mopeds, driving like mad-men. Bolzano is very German and the women are good. Basically Germanic looking but the Italian-ness just takes off some of the rough edges. Noce meal and back across the border.

30th September 1993 - Zugspitze

Started back and first stop Garmisch. The gateway to Zugspitze (The Top of Germany). We decided to go as high as possible as fast as possible which meant taking the cable car to the top. 1000m to 3000m in one cable car journey. What a view from the top. Peaks, peaks and more peaks. The Alps may not be as high as the Himalayas but they seem to go on for ever. Once again the top of the mountain was cold 'only' -4, but a bitter wind. How do they build these sky stations up here in such hostile conditions. From the top could see the ski run at Garmisch. I love the mountains.

1st October 1993 - Koblenz (Loure Valley)

Did a tour up and down the Rhine and Loure Valleys. This time of year is grape picking season and the roads were full of tractors pulling trailer loads of grapes. The whole area smelt like a brewery.

2nd October 1993 - Cologne

Up to Cologne, an OK city but had the shit bombed out of it in WWII. The whole city apart from the Dom was demolished and when they rebuilt it they must've used the same architect as they used in Coventry.

3rd October 1993 - Amsterdam

Back to Amsterdam.