Thursday, August 5, 2010

03. My visit to Switzerland and Austria

Aug 9 - Aug 11, 1988 - Visit to Switzerland

Switzerland is a land-locked country in western Europe. It is a world center of finance and tourism. Its main exports are watches, clocks, jewelry, instruments and textiles. It has become the base of many international organizations like Red Cross and the World Health Organization (WHO). Its nickname is Playgound of the World.

Capital BERN: situated in the Aar River in the west central part of the country. The city joined the Swiss Confederation (1353) and became its capital in 1848. Bern is also the name of the canton that surrounds the city.

We entered Switzerland through Basel. It is the capital of the Basel Canton (Swiss State). It lies in the Rhine River at the meeting point  of France, Germany and Swiss Borders. It is called the cornerstone of these countries. It is also a major business and industrial center.

Reached the Lucerne Lake camp site. Lake Lucerne is a resort lake in central Switzerland. Lake Lucerne is one of Europe's foremost vacation playgrounds . Situated in central Switzerland, this pristine lake is revered for its scenic beauty.  The majestic Alps serve as a backdrop for the lake which offersa vast array of exciting activities for visitors to partake in. The City Lucerne, on the banks of Lake Lucerne is the capital of Canton Lucerne and one of the leading resorts. I spent 2 hours in swimming and boating in the lake.

Climbing the Alps Mountain: The Alps is a major mountain system consisting of a great arc of fold mountains, which runs for 8000 KiloMeters (5000 miles) through France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia. The highest peak, Mount Blanc in France rises to 4800 meters (15,771 feet). We climbed the Mount Pilatus Peak in Swiss. Went up the hill via cable car and descended down via Mountain Train. Enjoyed the scenic beauty of the mountain slopes and surroundings from the top of the Mountain Pilatus. Really Switzerland is the playground of the world. Next day we went on a cruise on the lake and took complete rest in the tents in the lake campgrounds enjoying the cool breeze and mountain sceneries

Next day we visited Zurich - the capital of Zurich Canton, northern Switzerland, on the Limmat River on the north shore of Lake Zurich. It is the cultural center of German speaking Switzerland and is best known of its banking and financial facilities. Our camp was on the Zurich Lake campground. Visited St. Margeten Church - Baden Weiler Clock Museum. Because of the painstaking attention to detail and precision Swiss timepieces earned their place as the best in the World.

August 12, 1988 - Austria

Landlocked Alpine republic in Central Europe. We passed through the longest tunnel 5 miles from Switzerland to Austria. Visited the Bellingen where we took massage in a parlor. A half-naked lady massaged me for one hour all over my body. She skillfully twisted my body this way and that way and took knuckles all over the joints. It was a great relief to me for the travel pains so far done. We also visited a Roman Bath where men and women in nude taking baths in the same pool. But both sexes could not be seen by each other. The pool is carefully planned and efficiently constructed in a horse-shoe shape separating the two ghats.

Aug 12 & 13, 1988 (Again in Germany)

Munich Capital of Bavaria, West Germany. It is the cultural, industrial and commercial focus of southern Germany and major tourist center. Its products include machinery, chemicals, instruments and beer. Founded on the Isar River (1158). Hitler founded the National Socialist (Nazi) movement in Munich in 1919. The city was destroyed and burnt in the World War II and again got rebuilt. It now stands as one of the most industrialized centers of the World.

I visited the Town Square where a Mother Mary Statue (like the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA) is erected with her right hand raising over her head as a symbol of blessing the people with prosperity and peace. The large column at the center of the square is known as the column of St. Mary. It was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Swedish invasion. The statue is topped by a gilded statue of Virgin Mary which was sculpted earlier, in 1590 by Hubert Gerhard. At each corner of the column's pedestal is a statue of a putti, created by Ferdinand Murmann. The four putti's symbolize the city's overcoming of war, pestilence, hunger and heresy.

The city was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. Next visit to Olympic Village and BMW Factory. We weren't given permission to go inside the factory. We visited the site of the Concentration Camp in Dachau (Concentration Camp - an internment camp where prisoners, primarily innocent Jewish citizens, enemy aliens and political prisoners were confined and subject to brutal treatment and unspeakable horrors by the Nazi Germans)

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