East Switzerland – 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland

After leaving Friedrichshafen in Germany, once leaving the lake, I got on a train and went directly to Grusch, a small town on the east side of Switzerland.  I chose this town as it was close-ish to the tiny nation of Liechtenstein and all other places I looked into staying were not open during the winter.

Switzerland is probably the most famous non-EU European country.  I’ve been to this lovely country before but the other side going from Basel to Interlaken to Geneva.  Flights are cheap because cities like Basel, Zurich and Geneva are kind of dead centre in the middle of Europe, thus being a great hub for transferring to somewhere else.

Everything else is definitely not though.  The Franc, seen often as “CHF” the local currency is almost identical to a US$ but everything seems to be 2 – 3 times what would cost in the UK.

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This hostel cost me CHF62.60 for two nights, £24 a night.  That’s absolutely unheard of for Switzerland.   But actually, the Sporti Grusch is a restaurant for skiers and snowboarders, with three rooms in the basement.

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This is my room.   The bunk is built into the wall.    I didn’t have to share with anyone. There is a shared bathroom which you have to go outside to use.    This is a great place for a scouts or youth group I think.   I’m used to simple places to sleep so this is quite adequate for me.   There is no lounge to sit and read.    So during evenings I sat in the restaurant with usual Swiss prices and drink tea.   Beer is about £9/pint, food is also very high so I visited a local shop.

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This was parked next to my hostel.   It seems Swiss landowners can’t rely on local municipality services to clear snow and have the means to clear it themselves.  This 1990s Toyota truck has been adapted for this purpose.

GERMANY 1. Dachau concentration camp – 2. BMW museum – 3. BMW World futuristic showroom – 4. Neuschwanstein Castle – 5. 1972 Munich Olympics village – 6. Tourism and going out in Munich – 7. Deutsches Museum – 8. Business in the UK, Germany and Israel – 9. Friedrichshafen, a pleasant German town on a lake

SWITZERLAND 1. Trying to do ‘cheap’ Switzerland – 2. The town of Grusch – 3. Clever Swiss made things – 4. Train from Grusch to Zurich – 5. Zurich, the more liberal Switzerland – 6. Swiss dinosaurs

LIECHTENSTEIN 1. Plans – 2. Getting into this tiny nation – 3. Motorbikes, cars and kebab shops in Vaduz, Liechtenstein – 4. Small country topography – 5. Road up to the castle – 6. The Prince’s castle and vineyard – 7. bars, shops, Olympics – 8. Tiny country, big output – 9. Vaduz church – 10. Government buildings and museums

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Nazareth – 2. Staying in the old city

There are three main Youth Hostels in Nazareth, and they are all very close to each other in Nazareth’s old city.

I stayed here for 1st night, this is the ground floor of a local chap’s house, who happens to be the local policeman, and jolly nice gent he is.   The local station is also quite close by too.

Here I only spotted one other traveler, an Italian called Michael who was very friendly and shared with me half his plate of bread, cheese and olives, and spoke little English.   This place provided free tea and coffee and a shared kitchen, and I have started to become quite fond of Arabic style coffee.

When I was about to leave I spotted some interesting pets crawling around the front yard!  Good job I didn’t head out to the loo too early on the morning as I might of trod on them!

The second and third night I stayed in the Al Atabeh guest house.   This had a quite good sized open court yard, with plenty of outside seating.   This was slightly cheaper, with a large dorm room with bunks for about 10 people.   There is a bar where some food can be ordered but no shared kitchen.

As the other picture shows there was a decent bit of rain here, and in this lounge the roof started to leak with water running down the walls, above the coloured drapes the ceiling is only a flimsy corrugated plastic job.   Leaking roofs are quite a bit problem in Israel, as a lot of them are flat and in not so good condition, so this wasn’t too much of a surprise.

I didn’t like that the showers are awful even by middle east standards, water just goes out under the door into the yard, there was nowhere to hang up your clothes whilst inside to keep them dry and clean, and the lights mysteriously turned off halfway through, this meant I had to wrap a towel around me and get it out and press the light switch, but it wasn’t someone playing pranks, it was just broken, probably wet had got inside the electrics.    I also didn’t like overly political stickers inside the bathrooms.

 

The last hostel above and left is the Fauzi Azar is by far the best, unfortunately I could not get a bed here as it was full.   I did however take advantage of breakfast and two hour tour of the city for 35 Shekels which was terrific!   This grand old house is beautiful and well kept.  It has been voted the best youth hostel in Israel, and its not hard to see why.

Check out:-

www.abusaeedhostel.com

www.alatabeh.com

www.fauziazarinn.com

 

1. Arrival at the city2. Staying in the old city3. The modern day Nazarene carpenter4. Where Jesus first preached5. Religious vehicles in Nazareth6. Mary’s Well and the Bath house7. The precipice8. On top of the Precipice hill9. More old city streets and market10. The spice shop11. Churches from A to Z or Alpha to Omega12. The Basilica church13. Easter service at the Basilica