We left Brussels, Belgium on August 23 heading for our next assignment in Italy. A long drive, we divided up the trip to be there on Monday, August 26. We spent Friday night in Zurich, Switzerland and got up continue our trip onward to Innsbruck, Austria before heading to Italy.
The day started out great--a little gray but okay. We stopped briefly to admire Lake Zurich at the local yacht marina. Locking our doors to our hatchback rental we felt we were safe enough in a public parking area with other cars and people milling about. We took pictures and stayed for approximately fifteen minutes down on the docks. We came back to our car and noticed the back, driver side window shattered and a large black scrape down the door.
Panic struck! Since there is no actual 'trunk' our belongings were in the hatch and we had to lower some of the back seats for storage. Our big suitcase was missing (with our extra clothes/shoes/etc.), my travel purse (the one I used to take to critique meetings that carried every necessity needed) was gone. It had my Verizon cell phone that was not compatible in Europe, my Kindle, my two pairs of glasses, and various items as needed for travel. Thank God I was carrying my shoulder strap purse from AAA with my ID/Passport and wallet.
But what really threw us for a loop was they took my husband's laptop bag which contained his personal laptop and work laptop along with his passport, business papers, etc. Everything else was expendable--but that was sooo important!!
We spent the rest of the morning in the Zurich police station being helped by a very nice officer who spoke English quite well. He took down all our information, wrote out a report and even contacted the car rental place for us to go get a new car for the rest of our trip. He tried to call the consulate for us so my husband could get a new passport but they have really odd working hours--we won't get into that. Memo to anyone traveling overseas--Pray to God you don't need the consulate or embassy!! Don't lose your passport, don't get into any kind of incident...just saying.
By three o'clock that afternoon we were back on our way to Innsbruck, Austria. Thank God for a new car with windows. It rained the whole way there. Four hours of rain, tunnels, traffic and mulling over the tragedy we were looking forward to crashing at the hotel and having a good couple of strong drinks with dinner.
We decided the next morning that there was nothing more we could do. We did what we had to do, started the process of reports and paperwork, contacted all the pertinent people who needed to be informed and tried to move on from there. When an incident like this happens you can either become despondent and glum or informed, more cautious of everything and move on. If you become terrified and despondent--the criminals have won--they've ruined the rest of your trip, life, whatever. Move on--learn, do what you can, and realize the world still rotates.
So without further ado--we began to enjoy the rest of our trip. Innsbruck was such a fantastic trip! A beautiful town nestled in the Austrian Alps. It was a Sunday--most places are closed on Sunday in Europe. The Old Town of Innsbruck was open to the tourists and there was one Apothekary (Pharmacy) open that my husband could get some replacements for some of his needed medications. (There are still wonders that abound. :) )
Once we took care of what we needed to we walked around the town, admired the stores with their Austrian wares. There was even a wonderful store with multi-colored bottles of liquors and Schnapps on the wall. We tested and tried a few before purchasing some wonderful flavors. We were excited to learn they ship to the US. But the wonderful thing was enjoying a couple of cups of warm cappuccino at an outdoor cafe and watching the stress roll off my husband's strong, broad shoulders from the day before. The weather was cool but sunny (a delightful 62 degrees), our surroundings, so beautiful! We talked about retiring in a chalet he saw up on the mountain while we were enjoying our cups.
It was a day well needed. We even enjoyed a meat and cheese dinner with a glass of wine at a local tavern. It was perfect!
The following morning we continued on our journey to Vincenza, Italy, on the eastern side of the country. I would have liked to have stayed longer, enjoyed more of the town and area but hubby and his team of computer specialists had many issues and struggles in which work took much of the attention and hours away from our two day stay. Then we had to move on to Livornio, Italy--a seaside town on the Mediterranean Sea. It was a warm and beautiful place and our hotel was right on the beach with it's own beachfront property. What was so great was the clear water and the Italian Alps off in the distance. We enjoyed meals served from 7pm-11pm or later and wine out on our patio. There was a shopping bazaar right in front of our hotel with beautiful wares.
We stayed there for three days, also taking the Saturday to head over to nearby Pisa to tour the famous Leaning Tower. There is no describing the beauty of the walled in plaza and the cathedral with its famous bell tower. We even stopped in the Baptisary and had the joy of listening to one of the tour guides do a beautiful chant that echoed through the ancient domed building. (See pictures and things below.)
One would think a day in Pisa couldn't be topped. Not by much. On our way back to Germany on Labor Day Weekend we drove back through Switzerland, hoping this time would be much better than last. Our GPS alerted us to some major traffic delays on our highway route to Lucerne where we were to stay for the night. It gave us an alternate route--through the Alps!! It was OMG beautiful! There was even a small cafe and store at the top of our destination. We got out and took pictures of us standing out on the point, looking down into the valley.
Hey what can I say...Fate leads you to where you need to be! Enjoy the pictures--they probably don't even do the actual sights justice but I hope you enjoy them anyway.