Europe 2014

This year we travel to Europe to visit with Lothar and Monika Propson and their dog Töönchen, as we go on an RV camping vacation in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and France, June 13th through June 27th, 2014. Highlights include a drive through the Black Forest, camping at Lake Schluchsee, camping at Lake Constance, camping in Liechtenstein, a visit to the Rhine Falls, camping near Waldshut Germany, camping in Mulhouse France, tasting the local wine at a vineyard near Colmar France, a visit to Eguisheim, and camping in Baerenthal France.

The Black Forest of Germany
Video 5 of 24 from Brad and Sue's Europe 2014 vacation.

The Black Forest is a famous mountain range in southwestern Germany. The Rhine river valley boarders the Black Forest on the west and south side. The highest peak is the Feldberg at 4,898 feet. The Black Forest gets its name from the dark canopy of evergreens, although it is also dotted with open slopes and farmland.

The Black Forest is famous for its wood-carvings, sold as souvenirs for tourists. Cuckoo Clocks are a popular example, which have been made in the area since the early 1700s.

Before going on this trip, Sue was worried about driving an RV in the mountains. I assured her that mountains have valleys and that the freeways are at the bottom of these valleys on level ground. Apparently driving on the freeways is not the European way of going on holiday. This video takes us on a ride in an RV on the back roads through the Black Forest of Germany.

Video 8 of 24 from Brad and Sue's Europe 2014 vacation.

Lake Constance, or Bodensee as it is called in German, is a lake on the Rhine river at the northern foot of the Alps. It is situated in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The lake is at an elevation of 1,296 feet above sea level, and is Europe's third largest lake. It is 39 miles long and 8 and a half miles wide at its widest point. Total area of the lake is about 220 square miles. The deepest part of the lake is 827 feet.

As a comparison, Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin is 215 square miles, and Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota is 207 square miles.

The Rhine river flows into Lake Constance on the southeast side and flows out on the west end of the lake.

We rode our bikes along the south shore to the town of Romanshorn, and then took a ferry boat across the lake to the German town of Friedrichshafen. From the middle of the lake, we could see Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, which all border the lake on three sides. We could also see the Alps off in the distance, although they were far away and it was hazy.

Video 10 of 24 from Brad and Sue's Europe 2014 vacation.

Liechtenstein is the sixth smallest country in the world. It is a landlocked alpine country with an area just over 62 square miles, which is about the size of Washington DC. Its population is about 35,000. The country boarders Switzerland to the west and south, and Austria to the east and north. The Rhine River forms the entire western border which is about 15 miles from north to south. The highest mountain peak is at 8,527 feet.

Liechtenstein is known as a principality because it is a constitutional monarchy headed by a prince as head of state, with an elected parliament. It is also a direct democracy where voters can propose and enact constitutional amendments and legislation independent of the legislature. During WWII, it remained officially neutral, looking to neighboring Switzerland for assistance and guidance.

Despite its limited natural resources, Liechtenstein is one of the few countries with more registered companies than citizens. It has a strong financial service sector with very low business taxes, which makes it a tax haven for foreign corporations looking to shelter their profits. The Prince of Liechtenstein is the world's sixth wealthiest monarch with an estimated net worth of $5 billion. The country's citizens enjoy one of the world's highest standards of living. This was well reflected in the beautiful architecture and plantings that we saw as we drove through the area.

This video shows the mountains in Switzerland accross the valley, and the forest on the south side of Liechtenstein next to the campground where we spent the night.

Video 14 of 24 from Brad and Sue's Europe 2014 vacation.

The Rhine Falls are about 1 hour west of where the Rhine River exits Lake Constance. The falls are the largest plain waterfall in Europe, at 75 feet high and 450 feet wide. It is a popular tourist destination for Europeans. There are boat rides that take passengers up to the falls, and viewing platforms with spectacular views on both sides of the Rhine River. Guided tours are also available, as well as restaurants, gift shops, and other tourist attractions.

Video 21 of 24 from Brad and Sue's Europe 2014 vacation.

After leaving our 9th campsite, we drove a few miles to the nearby village of Equisheim. Last year, it was voted Favorite French Village, an annual distinction that passes from town to town throughout France.

Eguisheim is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. The town is alleged to be the birthplace of Pope Leo IX in 1002. There is a nearby castle that dates back to 720 CE. It is also known for producing high quality wine.

The town is a popular tourist destination, as the Alsace Wine Route passes through the village. It is also known for the wood storks that nest on the rooftops of the church and some of the buildings. There is also a Joan of Arc War Memorial.


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