Patrick Lam

Associate Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director, Software Engineering Programme
University of Waterloo
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Random European highlights

December 4, 2016

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  1. I met some people on the Haute Route from Verona but never made it there, unfortunately.
  2. We went climbing near Lake Como. This airbnb was probably the best airbnb experience I ever had: Ardenno airbnb
    We'd taken the train from Zurich (I was at ETHZ on sabbatical) and there was a train to Ardenno. But it was slow, and so the husband actually picked us up 15 minutes down the road, where there was a far faster train.
    Ardenno is pretty tiny. But there's a bar. Apparently, in small-town Italy, if you go to the bar and order drinks, they also bring snacks along with your drinks. So that was supper. (Good thing, because we didn't really have any other food options.)
    Climbing was good. Kind of like Yosemite in some ways. I guess you're not super interested in climbing tips. They also mentioned that they had a hut up in the mountains that you could rent as well, if you bring 6 of your closest friends.
    The airbnb itself was a 2br place for not much money at all. Would definitely go there again.
    We didn't really see Como itself but it's supposed to be nice. Closest we got was a pizza restaurant along the way to Milan.
  3. The Swiss canton of Ticino, containing Lugano and Bellinzona, always seems to have better weather than the rest of Switzerland. Mountains do that for you. Bellinzona has 3 castles, is worth a stop. (You can visit them all.) Have also gone climbing near Locarno.
  4. I don't have much to say about the route between Bellinzona and Vaduz. But Pizol is near Sargans and you can find the 5-Seen-Wanderung there (5 lakes hike). It has a good effort-to-scenery ratio, and you can find out a lot about it on the Internet. We also did another mountain, Gonzen, on the other side of Sargans but it was a fair bit harder and the ratio isn't quite as good. (We did Gonzen because 5-Seen-Wanderung wasn't open yet).
  5. Liechtenstein exceeded expectations. Liechtensteiners are basically Swiss but they'll get offended if you suggest that to them. Neat to see the "FL" license plates. We went and saw some castles. The Prince's castle isn't open to the public except on the national holiday, I think. There are also some castle ruins and then there's also Burg Gutenberg not too far from there. Was a good daytrip for us from Zurich.
  6. I see you're avoiding Munich, but I had a weird cultural experience there where I went to a Vietnamese restaurant full of non-German people who were basically out at the bar. They looked at me funny for being Vietnamese (even though I was in a Vietnamese restaurant...).
  7. I see that you're passing near Neuschwanstein near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It's pretty famous for looking like a fairytale castle (although it's not actually defensible, as my spouse points out). Worth seeing, though.

Haven't been to any other places on the route, I think. Have fun; hope that helps. :)

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