Switzerland!!!

We made it to Switzerland!!! Yep we too are amazed that’s another country we can add to the list we aimed to cover so many more countries than we have so far on this trip, it’s hard not to feel disappointed with ourselves but with 50 stops to our trip so far in the last 10 months, it’s also been hectic enough and it’s a slow going process travelling through some of these countries on average we cover about 30 miles an hour and as we found out I think we set out an impossible task to visit so many countries this way in the first place… that is if we actually wanted any time to enjoy the places we visit and not just to pass through with a 1 night stay, which of course we could have done and so many others seem to do… but how can you enjoy and partake in different places and cultures if you just whizz through… Sometimes you just have to take time to enjoy the beauty we are surrounded by and take time to watch the wild life going about their days…

So, yes, we got to Switzerland on the 16th June, a couple who live in Switzerland we had spoken to at one of the last campsites had told us that to use the motorways we must have a vignette and that we could buy these at the border… well we passed through the border and to be honest we didn’t at first even realise it was the border, all that was there was an unused/unmanned barrier and a sign welcoming us to Switzerland, with the sat nav confirming we had indeed just crossed the border!!! oups… I think or I hope… we can purchase a Vignette for around 40 swiss francs at a petrol station nearby, we shall look further into it later…

We drove through mountains on roads with sheer drops on one side and with massive rock face on the other, both of us nearly having a heart attack when we came to a tunnel through the rockface neither of us were quite sure we would successfully fit through… not to mention the barrage of car drivers who sped along the roads towards us some almost completely on the wrong side of the road going around the corners of those mountain roads at 60+mph…

We drove through beautiful countryside and passed through long tunnels one of which went on for about 3 miles, and in a couple where we had to switch lanes inside them to avoid turn offs right at the tunnel exits!!!

We got to our first Swiss city Neuchatel where we also found bus lanes are a major thing here in Switzerland, you are forced to swerve from lane to lane to avoid the bus lanes even for just short stretches of roads that are sometimes as little as a few hundred feet long, that is after we had driven right through the first bus lane before we realised and were completely aware of our error… oups again!!!

We managed a stop at a supermarket on our way to the campsite where we parked around the corner from the store after a bit of a faff around as we couldn’t park up properly in the small supermarket car park… now we just have to get used to converting the prices in Swiss francs instead of Euro which seems to make things look much more expensive although when we worked out the price of our food shop it was pretty much standard…

We eventually arrived at our next planned campsite and our first ever one in Switzerland it’s called Des Peches and is €19 per night on the ACSI discount off season fare…  We booked in for 4 nights, the campsite is well set up for family holidays on arrival you’re each given free bus, tram and train travel tickets for the city, free passes to all the museums, a free cruise on the lake, cable car rides and lots of other tourist attractions, plus wifi all of this for free… it would be enough to easily keep everyone in the family happy and entertained for a week or more… but again unfortunately we were told the dog unless small enough to go in a handbag is not allowed on public transport… this is a bit disheartening when travelling with a larger sized dog… and makes us long for a car to get us around easier!!!

But there are lots of other things to do… lots of walks around the beautiful lake, also along the river bank which is lovely and lots of parks around nearby to explore, then we discovered a very quaint medieval town which I think was built in 1260 called Au Landeron this town square is very picturesque and within 5 minutes walking distance of camp…

 

The weather has been wonderful and mostly sunny while we have been here which has been nice… the campsite hasn’t been the quietest campsite during the early evenings for various reasons, but it is quiet at night from 10pm onwards, the only real bugbear I have with this campsite is the fact that the pitches are not very big, nor very private or even very well defined spaces so it seems some of the motorhomes, vans, caravans or awnings etc are pretty close together with much less than the recommended 3 metre space between them (which is considered a fire risk), we were told to park to the right of the pitch our number but on the left close to the next pitches number on arrival but the van on the next pitch would then have been mere inches away from the us if we had not used up some of our pitch space to create the adequate fire gap of a couple of metres between us, so it then felt that we were a little squeezed for a bit of sit out space…

Now in all fairness we try to reverse in and park up with our front wheels facing off of the pitch this makes sense for various reasons such as for ease of getting off if it rains and we get stuck on a wet pitch (in a FWD vehicle it means you can reach the tarmac quicker and get some traction under the wheels asap) and also for cases of emergency such as fires when you will need to move off pretty quickly, now our hab door is continental so on the right hand side… on the 2nd day here a couple turned up thankfully for just the one day/night also with a continental hab door but instead they drove onto the pitch and parked right next to us so their hab door was now face to face with ours… so yes that felt real cozy… made it a little uncomfortable sitting literally within a couple of foot of each other and then with Toffi barking or staring intensely at them while they ate… and they ate constantly!!!  if only they had reversed in because they had a completely empty pitch right next to them and we all would have had some privacy and they also wouldn’t have had to watch Toffi drool over their food…

 

There’s a Marina nearby next to the huge lake with lots of lovely boats and yachts moored up and a popular restaurant there too!!!

We walked to the post office to obtain a vignette for the motorways to allow us to get around Switzerland it worked out approx €35 about 40 Swiss francs at least we can explore Switzerland and not worry about hitting the motorways and getting a fine!!!

We then spotted a pet shop called Boutique Pense-Bêtes of course Toffi really needed new toys and was desperate for some rawhide chews, so with Pete and Toffi waiting outside in I went armed with my awesomely poor French language abilities…

The pet shop owner was a lovely lady who it turned out spoke very good English and was most welcoming… she asked where my dog was? and why had I not brought her along to the doggy toy/sweet shop? I shamefacedly showed her Toffi and Pete waiting nearby… But when she saw Toffi she was in awe “oh my goodness” she exclaimed!!! “a true British English bully breed dog”!!!!

Well that was it Toffi was ushered in through the doors, then the doors were all closed behind us and Toffi was fussed over and treated like a queen… offered free treats, water and was allowed off lead to freely roam and enjoy all the smells in the dog toy shop, it was like watching some celebrity having a shop closed for their own personal shopping in private!!! She was in her element, foolishly I Toffi to go choose a toy and typical of her she came bouncing back around the corner with the most expensive toy in the whole shop!!!

She came away with at least 2 expensive but sturdy and strong Kong toys, plus a new rope ball toy (which she has already destroyed since), a couple of large rawhide chews and then a free bag of treats to put in her new kong for later!!! I came away £60 lighter but it was a pleasure to see Toffi so happy with her new toys, it was the first pet shop that we had come across in the last couple of months that actually sold sturdy strong pet toys suitable for Toffi’s breed… plus the store owner truly was amazing with her, even before we looked to purchase anything she was feeding Toffi treats and cooing over her so I would highly recommend taking your dog for a visit if you are nearby the owner is clearly passionate about animals!!!

We will be moving further into Switzerland Tomorrow so time to go enjoy some more of this stay before we are off again!!

Take care

Donna x

Des Peches €19 per night with ACSI discount  GPS N47°3’10” E7°4’11”