Tuesday, October 23, 2007

get back to Liechtenstein

Day 14

you might ask
"where is the glamour?"
today i'll show you where the glamour is...

laundry was the first thing on day 14's agenda
(so exciting and glamorous, isn’t it?)
we found a nearby laundromat
and went there via our hi-tech GPS system
it's always amusing/maddening doing laundry in a foreign country
i have to say that in Germany it is particularly odd
because they have WAY too many high-tech things going on
we always just try to figure it out on our own and usually do a pretty good job
this time it seemed to be a simple 2-step process –
washing machine, drying machine
no sweat!
no third spinning machine to throw us off like the last place
so Jayme put some money into a slot in the complicated thing on the wall
thinking she was turning on the machine
only to have detergent start shooting out at her
ok, clearly she was in over my head this time
i left her to use her womanly guiles to figure it out
and ran Gavin quickly back to the hotel for a #2
Karlsruhe was actually a semi-cute town
but we couldn’t stick around and explore
because we had exactly 2.5 hours to get someplace
that was 3 hours away
we were heading to St. Gallen Switzerland
but had also made plans to make a side trip to Liechtenstein
to visit Jayme's friend and ex-coworker, Mario
after we nearly ran out of gas
we drove through some amazingly beautiful countryside in southern Germany
and northern Switzerland
i love the Swiss countryside – every inch looks like a postcard
the grass covered rolling hills look like someone just finished mowing them
how do they do it?
there are the cutest black and white cows dotting the hillsides
and big puffy white sheep
it really just looks fake
along the way we purchased the required
Swiss driving permit for $50
slapped it on the windshield
to then notice the same sticker right below it
hell - why not blow more money on something we already had?
maybe if the Swiss police pull us over we can just show them
we're double protected?
so we got to St. Gallen passing what i believe was the factory
where they make the little pine-scented cardboard trees
that hang from every rear-view mirror in America
it was a big building with very excited looking lettering on the side
and those trees in giant sign form everywhere
it seemed to say
”yes! this is the place that makes those fabulous cardboard trees!!!”
we'd been told by the desk clerk in the Karlsruhe hotel
that St. Gallen was going to be a very uptight “richy-rich” place
we couldn’t tell on driving in though because like other Swiss cities
we've experienced
St. Gallen was a mess of confusing lanes
oncoming trams and random one-way streets
i'm trying to nail down exactly what it is about driving in Swiss cities
that make us crazy
i think it must be that the lanes are marked all exactly the same
so you can never tell if you are on a one-way street
in a bus lane
tram lane
turning lane etc.
even with a GPS system it is frantic crazy driving
until you finally end up on what looks like a sidewalk
but turns out to be a one-way alley and you absolutely CAN NOT PARK ther
you are dodging suicidal bike-riders
pedestrians and trains
i jammed our microwave car in a narrow alley
completely blocking off anyone unfortunate enough to come up behind us
while Jayme jumped out of the car to try and find the hotel
(which is part of her "job" as tour manager)
she came back a few minutes
and 2 pissed off Swiss people later with nada
it was supposed to be at number 7 in this alley sidewalk thing
yet the numbers inexplicably went from 5 to 9 to 22
we were parked in front of 22 so we asked someone inside and were told that this was it
ok. i get it. ???????
we lugged our bags up 3 flights of stairs
to our colorfully decorated room and told the nice bar manager
we would be back at 8:00
we were off to Liechtenstein
she looked a bit confused
then we sped off to meet our friend
here is some Liechtenstein trivia for you:
it is the only country named after the man who bought it
it is the third smallest country in the world being about the size of Manhattan
only Monaco and the Vatican are smaller.
it is ruled by a tiny little mouse
well, no it isn't but its monarch is apparently a little eccentric
he lives in a castle on the mountainside
but comes down into town every Friday for pizza
he also happens to have the world’s second largest personal art collection
the cows in Liechtenstein were fed hemp until 2003
to make them more “mellow” so they would produce better milk
the mountains were getting larger and more beautiful
we crossed a river and BAM – we were in Liechtenstein!!
it was so cute
i could almost swear i saw a yellow brick road
and a chocolate filled river
Jayme and i just kept staring at everyone
and marveling at how weird it must be to be a Liechtensteiner
they looked like normal people
but i'm pretty sure they were some kind of elves
we met Mario at his office
which was literally across the parking lot from a field full of cows
then we followed him and his friend, Lara, to a restaurant
he told us the restaurant was “on the mountain”
but we had no idea it would be on the top of the mountain
we drove for 30 minutes almost straight up
on the smallest, windiest paved mountain road i've ever been on
off to my right nothing but air and some tiny dots way down below
i thought of my grandmother Edna
and how terrified she would have been
she absolutely HATED heights
we met some more of Mario’s friends at the restaurant
which was at the far end of the country in a town called Merdun
the restaurant was this old house that looked like it was straight out of Hansel and Gretel
the food was incredible
Gavin finally had something besides bread – fishsticks!
Jayme had some kind of Liechtensteiner dish
that was similar to hash-browns with vegetables and herbs and cheese all fried in a skillet
i had Spaetzle
which is this funny little noodle dish with cheese that we had on our last trip
we ate and then had to hurry back to Switzerland to make my show
the other potential title of this tour could be
"nourallah shows up just in time to play '07"
the trip back was like a bond chase scene
with us speeding behind Mario's Audi sportscar through the dark winding roads
we pulled up right at 9:00 and i immediately jumped onstage to start playing
the Engel was a small
smokey place
it was packed to capacity
but capacity is only about 30
the rest of the bar wrapped around the side
where people could talk and hang out
without having to hear music
that area was packed too
it kinda reminded me of the old Barley House on Henderson
Gavin and Jayme made it through about 3 songs
then had to split because of all the smoke
i had a fun
with a slightly rowdy set
at times the noisy crowd threatened to overtake
the volume of the P.A.
but i noticed they were all smiling
and having a good time
that's what counts
they even got yelled for me to play 3 encores
afterwards i hung out for awhile
with Mario and his friends
several people wandered up and bought cds
it was a nice night


Blogger Centuryhouse said...

"Where's the glamour? Oh, here it is - it's under my shoe..."


I'm enjoying reading your travelogue, even if I don't comment on every day. Glad you guys are having fun.

Daniel W.

8:27 PM  

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