28 June 2010
In the morning, we continued our descent along the river gorge. The road cut through tunnels and galleries, and the descent was smooth and fast. Past Thusis, the valley opened up and the dirt bike path passed through light forest and wheat fields.
We stopped in Ens just before the supermarket closed at noon and had a supermarket lunch (and a nap).
Although I had gotten over the worst of my illness, I was still coughing. When we passed into Chur, I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up some cough syrup.
When I returned, Piaw was talking to a man named Otto Rohrer. Otto was a cyclist, and in the local cycling club, and although he'd always wanted to do a cycle tour, he had never actually been able to go on a tour. So he seemed genuinely interested in hearing our stories and helping us out, because in a way we were living his dream. Otto invited us over to his house for tea and we chatted for a while.
Conveniently enough, Otto's house was in the direction of Maienfeld, where we were heading. It was a hot afternoon, so we appreciated the breeze.
At Maienfeld, Lisa discovered that The Original Heidi's House™ was just up the hill. In Maienfeld there are a bunch of tourist attractions based on the Johanna Spyri novel Heidi and its subsequent adaptation into a Japanese anime (apparently one of Lisa's favorite shows as a child). It was a bit confusing getting to the Heidi House because we had to read the signs carefully, lest we end up at the Heidi Hotel or some other Heidi place.
It was getting close to closing time for the Heidi House, and Lisa really wanted to go, so Piaw and Lisa powered up that hill. The heat and the light lunch had really defeated me, so I stopped to eat some chocolate.
When I got to the Heidi House, Japanese tourists were still pulling up by the busload, even though it was already late afternoon. You could see how Heidi lived and pet Heidi's goats and see Heidi's chicken coop and buy Heidi's coffee. I bought some ice cream at the gift store.
Here Piaw realized that Liechtenstein was just on the other side of the hill, and we thought it might be fun to check it out and stay there for the night. After a bit more climbing, we passed through a Swiss military installation and descended into Balzers, Liechtenstein.
All the hotels in Balzers were full, so we continued along the road to the next city that had room. As it happens, this was Vaduz, the capital city, and by this time we were halfway across the country. (The long way.) We stayed at the Gasthof Au in Vaduz.
Piaw and I took some of the cough syrup I had bought. It was strawberry flavored and tasted pretty good, better than any cough syrup I've ever had in the US. In fact, I am pretty sure that if you put it on ice cream and told people it was strawberry syrup, no one would call you on it. (FYI, the stuff we got was Bexin, and the active ingredient is dextromethorphan. Even though it was delicious, I urge you not to abuse it because, or despite the fact that, it is a hallucinogen at high doses.)
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