Tour through Germany, Switzerland, and Austria

In the Summer of 2001 I was getting ready to move from Stuttgart, Germany to San Francisco to begin the MBA program at the University of California, Berkeley. At that time I found out that my friend and former colleague from Honda R&D Americas, Jonathon Mohring, was moving to Stuttgart to work for Daimler Chrysler. So, we decided to take a last European road trip for me, and first one for Jon, using his Mercedes company car. We covered a lot of ground during our day trip thanks to the liberal (and sometimes non-existent) speed limits in these countries. We were able to hit four countries (Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Austria) during our daylong trek on that day in early August.
Our first stop after leaving Stuttgart was Zürich, Switzerland. It was a quaint town, we had a good time walking along the riverfront and getting a bit to eat.
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Our next stop was the tiny and sometimes forgotten country of Lichtenstein, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. We spent some time in the capital, Vaduz, but there really wasn’t a whole lot going on in that little country.
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We continued on the scenic route towards Innsbruck, Austria. We were constantly spotting little waterfalls along the way and stopping to gaze at them in wonder. After the first dozen waterfalls, we gave that up pretty quickly 🙂
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Despite seeing so many waterfalls, we were intrigued by a sign that led us to one of the biggest and most impressive waterfalls in the area. We were not disappointed. Since I can’t recall the name, I found a nice website that catalogs the waterfalls in Austria. (I still haven’t figured out which one it is yet, so I’ll update this at a future date).
We decided to continue our trek high up into the Austrian Alps to the Soldern Glacier, where summer skiing is a popular pastime. It was a nice, windy way up to the top of the glacier, and being in the midst of a giant snowfield in the middle of the summer was new for me (although now in the State of Washington, that’s not a big deal to me anymore since we have Mt. Rainier).
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We continued our eastward trek on the A12 Autobahn to Innsbruck, the “Capital of the Austrian Alps” as it is the capital city of the federated state of Tyrol. The Inn River running through Innsbruck is an interesting deep-green/greyish color, attributable most likely to limestone. We took the tram up to the top of the mountains surrounding Innsbruck for some pretty amazing views of the city and mountain ranges.
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From Innsbruck, we head back up north into Germany and headed west to Stuttgart. We crammed a lot into the day, but it was one of the best European road trips.
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