We went to the Mercedes Benz factory for a tour. That was the coolest thing we did in Germany. We saw how the cars are made with huge robotic things that are precise to, like 1/100 of an inch. It was some ridiculously tiny number. But it was so cool.
[Editor's note: This week, Ruth has stepped aside to let her son Jonathan tell our readers some of the highlights of the family's journeys in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Liechtenstein, and to share some of his photographs.]
Hello, everyone. I’m finally home and I’m so happy! It’s not that the places we went were bad, or anything. It’s just that it’s really nice to get back home and see all your friends and that kind of thing. Any way, I’m real happy to be home.
So now that I’m home, I want to tell you that I’ve been to Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Liechtenstein. We did a lot of stuff while we were there; in Italy we went to a castle and the Teatro alla Scala opera house, which was right across from the Galleria which was also close to the Duomo and the the statue of Leonardo da Vinci.
I would say the most amazing thing I saw in Italy was the Last Supper (by Leonardo da Vinci). My philosophy on the Last Supper is that Leo simply made it to amaze the world. In it, he created an illusion of light and space and he even added a piece of music to it by positioning the bread and the apostles hands a certain way.
His signature is thought to be a knot in the table cloth, because I believe that the Latin word for knot is “Vinci.”
Another thing that is interesting is that the window in the background of the picture, when you look at it from a distance, gives a strong sense of light flooding through the window. It was absolutely amazing.
The Duomo (cathedral) was also amazing. I will have to show you pictures of it, because it was absolutely breathtaking and if I told you about it, I wouldn’t have any breath left! There are a number of pictures that will be published with this installment that will capture a little of what I saw.
Anyway, in Germany, we took delivery on two Mercedes Benz vehicles. One was an AMG C63. (My dad has been a Mercedes Benz Technician since 1970, and has won several awards.)
Robots and bicycles
We didn’t do too much in Germany that was notable, except get the vehicles and stay overnight at a nice hotel. Oh yeah, we also went to the Mercedes Benz factory for a guided tour. That was the coolest thing we did in Germany. We saw how the cars are made with huge robotic things that are precise to, like 1/100 of an inch. It was some ridiculously tiny number. But it was so cool.
The huge robot arms would be moving so fast, and just when it was about to like crash into something, it would stop. What was really disappointing, though, was that you couldn’t take pictures.
Workers rode bikes everywhere. They rode them in the factory (there was even a bike lane in the factory) and outside. All the bikes looked the same, so I don’t know how they could tell whose was whose.
We also went to Rothenburg and walked around the old town.
Next we went to Switzerland, where we stayed with a friend of ours. That was where we spent most of our time. One of the coolest things we did was go on this thing called an alpine slide. If you are ever in Switzerland, I highly recommend going to one of these. It was so much fun.
What you would do is wait for one of the sleds, get in it, and then a belt would take you to the middle of a small mountain, and you would get to control how fast you would be going by using the brakes (or not.) I did one run with absolutely no brakes on. It was sooooo much fun. I hear these slides are in Vermont, too.
We went to a chocolate factory there that offered a self guided tour…that was free! That was nice. We tasted some of the goodies from there, too.
Sign says, Brake!
One of the outings we took included going on a ski lift to the top of a large mountain. The mountain was about 2,000 meters high (that’s 6561.679790026246 feet, or 1.242742384 miles).
Then, we took an alpine slide half of the way down. This alpine slide was a little bit scary. The track was like a large tube cut in half. There were no seat belts on the bob, the seat back was very low, and the bob was not anchored to the track in anyway, so if you didn’t brake where the signs said to, you could fly over the edge.
And there were amazingly steep drops. If you didn’t hold on, presumably, you would fly off your sled. But it was a lot of fun anyway. That was a very interesting experience.
We then scooted (on scooters) the rest of the way down. The scooters weren’t as good as the alpine slide. Now, when I say scooter, you’re probably thinking of the type of scooter that has wheels similar to in-line skates. But these (thank goodness!) had very large wheels, about the size of one’s head. The wheels made the ride a lot better.
The brakes were absolutely terrible and they should have had seats, because the ride was pretty long. If you are tall (like me), it wasn’t very comfortable to be hunched over the handle bars for that amount of time.
It was a nice ride though. The scenery was really nice to see while I was whizzing down the mountain. And the view from the ski lift was absolutely amazing. I think it was called Heidi Land.
It’s all about the food
Now for the food (this is the best part!). My favorite restaurant in Switzerland is now the Han Mongolian Restaurant. What you would do to get your food at this restaurant is you would go up to the buffet, which had vegetables, seafood, poultry (namely chicken) and beef. You would choose what you would like to eat, and put it on a plate. The next step was to choose some flavored oil, like garlic, or spicy or some thing like that. Then, you would take it up to this counter where someone would fry your food.
Another food related outing we took was to an outdoor co-op where all the food was made locally in St. Gallen. There was even homemade pasta and ravioli!!!! It was a feast for the eyes. There were a lot of free samples of food and drinks. It was great.
Another thing that we did while we were there was go to a famous old library, that is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
We also went to a free zoo called Peter and Paul (for the price, it was great!). They had about 10 exhibits of native animals. It was nice and quiet, not very many people there, and there was a nice place to take a walk in the woods.
Another zoo we went to was very cool. It was a privately run one but still open to the public. Their coolest exhibit was this one with very small monkeys (sorry, don’t remember the names) that were allowed to go out of their exhibit and climb on people and eat out of peoples’ hands. They had a couple of yaks too (yakety yak yak).
So, that was our trip. I hope you enjoyed my account of it.
If you have any comments you can post them at the end of this story. Or if you want to send me a question, you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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