Off To Switzerland We Go!

Fleming, Furka Pass & Faux Pas

After the night in the brothel, which was somewhere between Lugano and Bellinzona, I headed towards Zurich. Hubby was passed out in the front seat. So I was driving blind. Somehow I had taken a wrong turn and was driving for ages, and I came to the outskirts of Thun. Driving along lovely countryside all the way, yet I was so tired. I found what looked like a cheap hotel, but still had to pay an arm and a leg for.
Hubby was surprised he missed most of the day and was glad for the bed. We got a meal and hit the hay pretty early.
The next morning we started out again, and still Hubby was not well after the massive session with the Arian Guy. Driving along a road near Lake Brienz, we headed towards a mountain range that had snow-capped peaks. The roads became twisting chicanes and Hubby complained to take it easy. The views began to be spectacular as we wound up higher and higher.
“Look! Look!” I would excitedly say as he dozed and he would sit up and take a gander and resume the position.
As I got to a point, something in my head kept saying, James Bond. Looking around, many cars were driving along this road. Some had pulled over on thin strips of gravel to jump out and take photos.
I yelled “GOLDFINGER!” and Hubby, this time jumped awake and in his WTF way like a roo caught in headlights.
“James Bond, Goldfinger, it was was filmed here!”
He was trying to get the little grey cells in his head to compute on what I was saying when not a couple of minutes later, did the sign saying precisely that was on the side of the road! I was near wetting myself with glee! I love the Bond books and some of the films. I was in my prime and Hubby was going on that I was mad. Too bad too sad I told him. This was my day!
As we wound up the mountainside, the snow was beginning to get thicker and thicker on the sides of the road, and it was summer. I was driving our car from Ireland, which is a right-hand drive, so I carefully edged close to the snow walls. Winding my window down, I reached out and grabbed a handful, and threw it in Hubby’s face! That woke him up! And you know what he’s like with water! He starts spluttering and cussing, and so I grab more snow and hit him with it again, and he starts to laughs. He’s out of his bad mood.

Up to the top, we went and pulled over to the view. And what a view! It was, as they say, pretty as a picture. Taking a walk around to stretch the legs, I noticed a whole heap of people in small, everyday kind of cars. Yet, they had electrical extension cords around the place, hooking into the power, taking turns and laughing and chatting. Then the two most spectacular electric motorbikes pulled up near us, and I was in love.

Electric Motor Bikes of The Future!

So Cool

So while we took in the scenery, I turned and saw that some of the electric cars were getting ready to leave. I said to Hubby to get in before the rush down the mountain. So we get in, and a few cars roll out before us, and we followed. The drive down is fantastic, and the views are to die for…not literally, but they are pretty special.

Past the famous Belvedere Hotel, (which I could not stop to take a shot at), down the twisting and turning valley and it is here where our GPS would not work. So following the road and the cars in front of me, we presumed we would find a significant village or city sooner or later.

It was beginning to get into the late afternoon, and in the valley, it was much darker than it usually would be out on the flat. As we came up to this village, there is a detour sign with the little lights flashing on it. So, again, I follow the vehicle in front of me. This then led us onto an old airfield.

Every vehicle in the dim of the late afternoon was being directed to pull over. All I could see were people in hi-vis vests and clipboards bending over to the drivers in the window. So I pulled over as well.

All of a sudden, a group of kids come running up to our car. Knocking on the window, Hubby turned his window down, and bottles of water and sandwiches are being shoved into his face. He grabs some and asks the kids where were we. They are all speaking and laughing, and I yell English? Anyone English?

One kid sees we want to speak to someone and so calls over a woman with a hi-vis vest and a clipboard in hand. She walks over, and I wind down the window, and before I can say a word the woman says in her best English but with a very Germanic accent,

You must drive over to section B and wait. There you will have to go around the cones in a figure of eight twice in the fastest time. Then you must meet at the end with the other cars.

I stared at her. Then I look over to the runway where cones and cars were driving around them. I start to giggle but have to hold it in.

“Ummmm no, no, no…” I am using my hands now to help me speak.

“WE…” pointing to myself and Hubby and speaking a little louder for some reason,

“ARE LOST!” I couldn’t think of anything to mime for lost, but emphasised it, hoping she understood.

“Can YOU” Pointing at her

“Help US?” Pointing back at myself and Hubby again.

I am trying to be serious, but I can’t stop giggling.

She looks at me, and I could see she could not understand what I was telling her. So she piped up again;

You must drive over to section B and wait. There you will have to go around the cones in a figure of eight twice. Then you must meet at the end with the other cars.

I start laughing, and I mean hysterically. I moved up the line.

I see another person with the hi-vis on. I call her over, and so I begin to tell her that we are LOST! She looked blankly at me at first, taking in what I am saying to her. Then she starts to laugh.

“You are not in the rally?”

“No,” I tell her with tears in my eyes and smiling.

“We are Lost!” I start laughing.

We both burst out laughing, and she is bent over, and I am crying on the steering wheel. Hubby is telling me to settle down. He still hasn’t got a gist on the situation and has not taken in the surroundings or why free sandwiches or water were given to us.

Through gasps of breath, the woman points down the runway and says there is a main road.

Auf Wiedersehen” I waved, laughing, as we took off.

Hubby looks at me and says,

“What did she mean by rally?”

The penny dropped, and the hysterics kicked in. I had not laughed so hard in ages like that, I swear. I near peed myself so many times, and it was hard to drive because every time we looked at each other or took a bite of our free sandwiches, we started again!


Off To Switzerland, We Go! Part 2

Five Countries In One Day

Because we were flying around in the seat of our pants, we were out on the road by 6 am, I said to Hubby, let’s do five countries in one day. He looked at me like I was mad, and said we couldn’t do it. I said, just let’s try. We were between Lausanne and Yverdon-Les-Bains.

Off we go on our quest! We head towards Basel, and there we did the cross over to France, where we had a breakfast of cheese, pate and baguette with lovely coffee. A quick jump over to Germany to Lörrach and back in Switzerland. On the outskirts of Basel, we headed over to Liechtenstein, which was a bit thrilling for me, only because I love saying Liechtenstein.


Over looking Lichtenstein

We drove over the border and into Feldkirch, Austria, which is a place I hope to explore more, as it is a stunning place. The river, the buildings are like a fairy tale. There we got a park after about fifteen minutes and found a bar cafe and soaked in the atmosphere. Hubby wanted to stay, and I said maybe later we’d come back.

Lake Como

Wonderful Drives around the area

We chose to head down and over the mountains into Italy to Como. I have always wanted to visit Como, and to tell the truth, it was one of the most laborious drives …only because of the scenery! I had to catch glimpses due to my being the full-time driver (Hubby has never driven), I have to catch quick glimpses or pull over where possible. My neck was killing me!
However, the views the whole way was like out of a movie, and when we got to Lake Como, it was as you would imagine with the houses, restaurants and the water. Spectacular! It now was late afternoon and drove around the lake as much as we could.
Yet when driving into Como city itself, it was hectic. Somehow, and don’t ask me how I did it, I actually drove onto this plaza where people were looking at us with horror and disgust.
What does Hubby do in this situation?
Hubby ducks down and left me to face the looks, the pointing and yelling! So as quickly as possible, I turned the car around and exited where we came in and took off before police or anyone could yell at us or slap us with a hefty fine. Hubby starts to yell at me when the coast was clear, and I just said: “was anyone killed?” He sat there, stormy for a bit. Did I mention Hubby hates to be embarrassed?
We Did it!
Five countries in one day. Hubby settles down, and we talked about finding a hotel and exploring. It was when I took a wrong turn and found ourselves a spaghetti highway, it turned out to be pure misery with traffic. People beeping and abusing us because we were either too slow (at 100km) or trying to get into a lane to turn off and no bastard would let me in! Bloody Horrible! I made the decision to go back to Switzerland.

Storms, No Rooms In The Inn and A Knockshop

By the time we got back to Switzerland, we had come into a storm that rained cats and dogs. It was so hard to see driving even with the fastest settings for the windshield wipers.

I see a motel sign and tell Hubby to go in and ask if they have any rooms to rent. Argument starts. Hubby hates to ask any motel for rooms because he thinks as soon as they hear his Irish accent, they will say no. After 10 minutes of arguing, he finally rushes out of the vehicle, to the reception and then back again. No rooms. Did I mention my Irish Hubby hates getting wet?

Untitled Design 2

Be Wary of Vacancy Signs in Europe!

Back in the car, Hubby is now in a foul mood. I drive off and look for signs of motels. It is currently 10pm, and we are at a crawl with the car in this rain. GPS is not working as the rain is so hard, we cannot get a signal. We are lost somewhere, and it is very dark outside. Hubby sees a sign, and I say go on and see. He says a few choice words and jumps out of the vehicle. There is a woman on the top of stairs having a smoke. He speaks to her, and I see her nod, points to around the back car park. He jumps back in and says it’s fifty euro and I said just take it. We park in the back and run around to the front in the pouring rain.
The place is a bar in the foreground lit up with red lights and purple lights and couples are sitting at tables smoking and drinking. My spider senses are tingling.
The girl tells me it will be 50 euro and I say ok and pay. She says, don’t you want to look at the room? I assume it’s ok, I say to her. She smiles and says it’s ok in her robust and throaty accent. She leads us behind the bar and to a back stairway and exit to outside. There is this steel door, and the woman says we can get our gear through here and she will leave open but to close it when we come through.
Did I mention that my spider senses were tingling?
We get the bags, and I say to Hubby that I think this is a knocking shop. He says a what? I told him a whorehouse. He laughs and says no it’s not, it just a different hotel. I said a hotel in an industrial area?


“OMG!” he says to me. “We ARE in a Knockshop!”


I hate it when he thinks he knows it all and yet never does he really look at situations or take in anything until its too late. I said, as I got my toiletries bag out of the car, I’m telling him that this is a knocking shop and still he wouldn’t have it.
Through the door we go, closing it, as told. As we dragged ourselves up the stairs, out of nowhere, we hear this loud moaning getting louder and louder. It was a man about to have a happy ending.
Hubby spins around to me and thunders at me, “Stop doing that!”. The moaning stops. I laughed, and I whispered that wasn’t me! He stopped and turned and looked at me. “It was you”, and I hissed to him “You just ruined a great ending for some fellow getting his rocks off!”
The look of horror on Hubby’s face was gold as he stood there for a moment, intently listening! He moved up the stairs a little quicker to our room and closed the door. We looked at our bedroom for the night; A double bed, sheets and mismatched old towels placed on the end, with small sachets of body wash.

I asked him why our room had a shower and yet no toilet? Why was there just sheets on the bed and a basket for dirty linen? Hubby looked around, and said he needed a drink.

We coyly ventured out of the room and headed downstairs. We go over to the lit corner of the bar, the music is trance-pop shite so loud that it hurts your teeth. We order drinks, and as I wait for them, I observe the place carefully.
Couples sit in faux leather booths that are tight and cosy. One girl I see, straight across from me, is rubbing her fella’s leg under the table like she was trying to make a fire. But he was having none of it. He just sat there smoking, every now and then pick up his drink, smiling when she whispered into his ear. Yet never did I see him say a word to her.
An older woman was with this big fat man, who looked like he was from Turkey or the Middle East wore large gold rings on each of his chubby fingers. He was dripping gold chains around his very thick rolled neck. His lady sat there like she was sulking, every now and then looking at him and then taking a sip of her drink.
Then there is the big, brash Arian guy, and I mean this guy is over 6 foot, cut and bulging from his arms, chest and legs. He was something out of a a very bad 80’s movie. He wore his blonde hair in a short crew cut, had tats, and dressed in tight jeans (that looked ready to burst from his thighs), black biker boots and a white singlet.
He is loud, crass, and like a bee to honey, he hones in on us. He comes over and starts talking to Hubby. He asks us where we are from and does a bit of small talk trying to see what kind of victims we could be or what our deal was. But he changes his mind when I see he keeps looking at my Hubby’s hands and knuckles. My Hubby’s hands are not pretty.
He settles himself into a chair, and I see that he has made it clear he is here for the long haul. And I think he is the girl’s pimp or protector. Arian Guy after a couple of drinks goes into a rant over immigration and how he would fix it. You really don’t want to know. Hubby just nods and gives me a look of “WTF”. I try to change the subject of living in the country, but it doesn’t matter. Arian Guy does not listen to me. They keep on drinking, and now Hubby is pissed, Arian Guy is pissed, and they had bonded when talk turned to music. The Free, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott.
Girls come to him with drinks all the time, and we insist on shouts. He said that is good of us, as people try to milk him. I think to myself that not in a million years would people try to take advantage of you, buster.
I am now drinking soft drinks, as I am still wary of the place and people. Biker looking dudes walk in and then straight out the back. A man comes out of the back, whom I think is “moaning guy”, goes to the front of the bar and buys a drink, throws it back and walks out.
By 3am, I finally get Hubby off his chair and tell him enough now. The Arian Guy and Hubby shake hands then hug, saying stupid drunk things. Up the stairs, I manoeuvre him to the bedroom. He falls on top of the bed, out like a light. I have to work around him to find a patch to sleep on.
By 8am, I wake, and the place is dead quiet. I get Hubby up and out of bed, who is still drunk as a skunk. I shove the bags into his arms and march him out of the building, off to find somewhere to eat.

Two Day Break…Two Weeks later Pt 1


Pack a Bag and Get In The Car

It was a couple of years back when we were doing work at our apartment in Spain. The heat was unbearable, and we started niggling at each other. The aircon had kicked the bucket, the kitchen was not finished and was getting on my nerves dodging crap my Hubby had put in the 7m2 room. Terrible bush fires were raging through Spain at the time, and the air was hot. I needed to be somewhere where it was more relaxed and much cooler.

Finally, I turned to Hubby, just as he was about to sneak off for afternoon drinks with the boys, I said to pack a bag and don’t question me. He knew better than to argue at that stage. Told the guys at the bar we were going away for a few days, which in the end turned out to be two weeks.

To the border of France, we headed. I had in my mind that I wanted to see Switzerland. But I had not told Hubby this. We got to Formigal six hours later and had a break and a walk around, though it was a ghost town. One cafe was open with young people in it that were smoking a spliff and they started chatting with us. 

Onwards we go. I drive up the Pyrenees and over to Lourdes. We stayed the night here, whereas I popped into the grounds for my holy water (got to keep the old girls happy in our village).

Driving through the countryside, I was surprised about the summer heat in France, as it was just as intense as Spain in some areas. Yet the scenery was dreamy, with dreams of having a place always comes to mind when we are there. An old house, kids running around while the adults prepare the meals and sit outside eating and drinking with lots of laughter and banter. Hmmm.

French Dinner with a Master of Laughter

Drove up to Le Puy and we stayed the night in Hotel Regina, first trying to get into the Dyke Hotel, but it was booked out. The rooms were nice and tidy, but it was the restaurant Le Mont Anis that was the big drawcard. At first, we looked at the menu and thought ok, this is looking exciting. Yet, it was the Maître D that made it happen for us.

This guy, whom I am sorry to say we forgot his name, was not the most good looking fellow at first, but he had that je ne sais quoi oozing from him. His stance, his attention to detail and his manner of dealing with people of every background, he shone, and it was desirable. He knew his game.

While having drinks at the bar, and after a few good stories from him, I said to him that it was through his suggestions tonight that we eat and to order what he thought we would enjoy. He looked at me with a little bit of “is she pulling my leg?”, but he saw we were serious. So he did.

It was a fun night, we all had a great laugh, not only with our Maître D but with other guests and patrons. It was like this lovely hum of delicious eating and drinking with the conductor of the evening, making everything flow smoothly and fun.

Bad Vino and Bad Spirits

The next day, after a late start, we head to Switzerland. I was totally excited, with butterflies in my belly. Hubby was thinking we were going home because again, I had not told him our destination, just said it was a surprise. Through Lyons, we go, and up we start our drive up to Geneva.

At the Swiss border, Hubby turns to me and says “I Love You!” and while we are waiting in the queue, he says to me no one has ever taken him to places like I did. We start giggling, like children. Passports out and then we have to pay a €40 car tax and get a sticker on the window. Over we go, and we are in hysterics now, because we cannot believe we just drove into Switzerland!

So I drive into Geneva, park up and stop for refreshments in a pub and Hubby is shocked at the price of beer. It was like €17. Crazy but it was a hot day, the beer was nice and cold, and we needed refreshments.

We were flying by the seat of our pants and had not booked a hotel, so I suggested we go outside the city and find a quiet place. We come across a village, and there is an old pub that has a vacancy sign for rooms. Yippee!

Walking into the bar was a bit like Deliverance, with locals all stopping their conversation and looking at us. We talk to the Landlady at the bar and pay, and she in return gives us a big old key and verbally directs us down the hall, then up the stair, and our room is to the right. The bathroom is across the hall, where there is a loo, bathtub and a shower. 

She said the magic word BATH! I had not had a good soak in months, and I was going to go for it that night. The room was nice and tidy, and the bed was comfortable. We were the only guests staying that night.

After unpacking we go downstairs for a few drinks before dinner. The woman says to me would I like to try the local wine. I said that would be very nice. Outside we sat with views of mountains and the village. The summer here was a touch chilly, and I loved it. Our Landlady brings our orders to the table and then stands there waiting. Hubby says do you want payment now? She said no, and looks at me and tells me that the wine is from her family estate somewhere close by. She wanted to know my thoughts on the wine. 

Oh right, so I pick up the glass, take a swig and let me say it was like this bitter, sour shite that almost made me gag and god only knows how I kept a straight face and not spit it out there and then. She asks me if it is a good wine. I nod and eventually reply (when I could swallow the stuff) that it was nothing like I had experienced before. And to sweeten her hard look, I mentioned that this wine was the very first wine in Switzerland that I had tasted and told her could I take a photo of the bottle, please. She was pleased and said she had a few bottles out the back if I wanted to purchase. I said thank you for that. 

When she had left, I said to Hubby taste this, and he reached over, took a sip and looked at me with shock, and quickly spat it into a pot plant next to his chair without the Landlady seeing. Now he is a seasonal drinker, and even he said it was the worse wine he ever tasted. He took a swig of his beer to clean away the taste. So I pretended to sip the wine until Hubby was near finished and then poured it into a pot plant. We dodged the next round when we found out no dinner was being served that night, paid the Landlady, took a photo of the bottle, and walked up into the village and found a place for Steak et Frites and a beer. 

The World Cup was on, so Hubby wanted to watch a game in the bar, and I told him that I was going back to the room for a bath. I go back, and the woman is closing up the bar, and I say good night. It was when walking down the hallway, and then you come to the stairs to your right, that I stopped. If you walked on, it would lead you down to a cellar. The hair on the back of my neck began to hackle up. I noticed how dark the area was to the cellar door. In fact, it was pitch black, and when we had previously walked this area before, you could see the door and now I could not. 

I ran up the stairs and to my room, trying not to get myself spooked. It was bathtime. However, before I could do anything, the Landlady knocked on the door. She said she was going home, the bar was locked, and to use the guest doorway until tomorrow morning. I thanked her, and she went on her way. Then the realisation that I was alone in this building made me jumpy again; however, the bath was calling me, and it would make me feel much better. 

The bathroom was nothing special, in fact, it looked like it was still in the style of the 1940s except for the toilet. Plugging up the bath, I turned the water on and squirt in a full small bottle of hotel shampoo in the water. The door in the bathroom is a substantial number with a hook lock, and above the door frame was a massive glass pain. When you had a bath, you faced the door. 

It seemed ages until it was at a level I could jump in, and when I did, it was lovely and warm. I dunked under to wash away days of driving, stress and just to relax until my fingers and toes were shrivelled up prunes. 

I had a book with me, so I started to read, and that is when I heard it. A light tap on the door. I sat up and straight away I said ‘Yes, can I help you?’ The silence was deafening, and no one answered me. I put it off as maybe I heard things and yet my eyes kept looking up at that glass pane above the door frame. I had this terrible feeling someone was watching me. I got face washers from the side of the bath and placed them over my boobs and privates and then began to read again. But I couldn’t see the words, I was listening so intently, and then I realised that there was shuffling noises outside the hallway. 

The woman had told us we were the only guests. I yelled out my Hubby’s name and said, was it him out there. But no one answered me. The shuffling noise started again, and so I sat up slowly and listened. Definitely shuffling on the landing. I couldn’t stand it any longer and so got out and dressed as quietly as possible. I unhooked the lock and turned the knob of the door and peeked out. 

The landing was in partial darkness. The line of light coming from the doorway and the rectangular light from the glass pane above the door gave some illumination. The hallway was long, and as I looked across to my room, I realised I had not turned a bloody lamp on in the room. Idiot!

I waited by the door, listened intently, which was hard as my heart was pounding. I froze when the shuffling started again to my left down that long hallway. Slowly poking my head out the doorway, I searched to see what was making the noise. With my eyes adjusting somewhat, I could see nothing. It was totally dark down the hallway with slight outlines of a large set of old drawers against the wall.

I closed the door, locking it and grabbed my gear. I was going to run for it to my room. With the key in hand, clothes and toiletries bag in the other, I took a deep breath and said to myself, 

“You got this girlie, be calm and don’t rush”. 

Unlocking the door, I opened it wide and left the light on, and ran across the hallway to my door and placed the key into the lock. As I turned the key, I felt this rush of air around me, and I pushed the door open, stumbled in and slammed it shut. I dropped everything to find the lights, and of course, the lamp was near the bloody window. I find it, switch it on, and yet it still seemed dark and heavy in the room. In my mind, I was saying prayers to rid of anything untoward and I got my holy water out of my handbag and sprinkled it on me and the room. I was taking no chances!

As I am picking up my bundle I dropped from the bathroom, I freeze hearing my name being called. But turns out it’s Hubby at the guest door. I poke my head out of the window, and he says he can’t get it to open. He tells me to come down and open the door. 

I look at him and say, are you bloody kidding me?

I now have to go out into that hallway. Then it’s down the stairs, past that cellar, down another dark hall to open the front door to let Hubby in. I breathe to calm myself and yell to him that I am coming down. 

On the landing, I now notice that the bathroom light is off, and the door is shut. No time to think about that now I think to myself. I get my phone and turn the torch on. Take a deep breath, and as quickly as possible, I run down the stairs, past the cellar, down the dark hallway and open the door for Hubby. My heart is thumping.

When Hubby closes the door, he reaches out and grabs me by the waist in his tipsy way and jokes that this is so spoooookeeeeee! 

You have no idea I tell him and grab his hand, drag him back up to the room with me. In our bedroom, he says what the hell was that about? I told him ‘you don’t ask and you won’t have nightmares. 

He knew something had happened and so we left the lamp on, and he curled up right beside me all night, snoring his head off. A couple of times he woke and said did I hear someone outside our door walking. I just told him to ignore it and go back to sleep. We were out of that place by 6 am.

Geneva. Photo by Robert Stokoe on