Another extensive car museum in Southeastern France: Cite d’Automobile

Close to Basel, Switzerland there is a lesser known car museum in Mulhouse, France – Cité d’Automobile. If you want to go to someplace off the beaten path and you like cars, I recommend going to Mulhouse where the Cité d’Automobile is located at. It’s not far from Basel and I thought that it was worth going to due to its proximity.

Also known as the Schlumpf Collection, which was named after the two Schlumpf brothers who started their car collection, this car museum specializes in Bugatti motor vehicles which were often used in car races. The museum does have a lot of other car brands since the collection was seized by the government when the two brothers went into debt so many other priceless antiques have been added or switched out over time.

bugatti racing museum pieces

There are a lot of Bugatti racing cars in here. A lot of them I was not familiar with.

car museum france

I felt like this place was more like a warehouse than a museum and yup, sure enough that was the case. The Franz brothers had pretty much stored their original collection on warehouse sheds so I guess the spirit continues in this case with just rows and rows of cars being presented.

So if you have time, then try to make it a 5 site car museum visit quest since they are close to each other:

Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, Germany
BMW Museum in Munich, Germany
Porsche Museum and Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany
Cite d’Automobile in Mulhouse, France

I could add in Brussels’s car museum, Autoworld, as well, but it’s not as well-known and it’s not as exclusive or famous as the other ones mentioned above. I would have to say that the four German auto museums take the advantage since they are the automakers themselves. Autoworld and Cité d’Automobile are more of a mass collection put together by some passionate people.

Tip: Despite being in southeast France and literally on the border next to Germany (and also close to Switzerland), Basel is still far from the famous battle site of Verdun. So trying to do both in one day might be quite difficult. Best to make this a Switzerland-oriented trip with a side-trip to this car museum.

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The Swiss city of Basel – The gateway to France, Germany, and Switzerland

This Swiss urban location is very underrated and in my opinion, better than Zurich due to its slightly cheaper cost and less volume of tourist floods and people in general. Like Zurich, Basel is on the Rhine River so there are plenty of neat houses and buildings to look at but unfortunately, it’s still Switzerland, meaning still expensive as hell and this cold hell freezes over during the winter.

Despite its location of literally being at the crossroads of Switzerland, France, and Germany along with the Rhine River flowing through the city, Basel is one of those cities that get overlooked by many tourists but I can vouch for visiting it. Unlike Zurich which is filled with tourists, Basel seems to be more neglected by the tourist hordes unless a tour agency happens to put it on their road map itinerary. So if you’re looking for something more Swiss and not so overcrowded with tourists, then Basel might be a good stop although I can still see it at times getting overloaded with the tourist crowds in the summer like Salzburg sees its annual tidal waves of people starting in May. The city of Basel to me is basically Zurich but without Lake Zurich. It focuses around the Rhine River as a tri-border location between Switzerland, France, and Germany.

pricey expensive tourism north switzerland swiss people tourists plaza platz

Zurich also has these plazas but Basel has far less tourists in this part of Switzerland.

architecture swiss made

If you walk around enough, you’ll see the architecture of this place.

church red building basel european alps

The Swiss have definitely come up with some interesting buildings such as this red building with a clock and tower on it.

rhine river city swiss switzerland border town ciudad de fronteras france germany

If you go northwest from Basel, there is an actual area in the water where the borders of Switzerland, France, and Germany meet at the same place. I don’t think that it’s that amazing but it’s there for tourists who are interested in seeing it. To me, just walking around the city to take in the sights and sounds was good enough.

One funny is that if you can spit in the Rhine River while in Basel, the same water content of your saliva might float all the way down to pass through some of the major cities along the Rhine such as ones that I’ve visited myself: Mainz, Wiesbaden, Cologne/Leverkusen, and then finally towards the North Sea via the Netherlands. The Rhine River is that long and important that it’s been a symbol of German nationalism for quite some time as it goes pretty far back in history as being a frontier border for the Roman Empire at certain times and also other rivers such as the Main River fed into the Rhine. All these rivers helped in giving the Germanic tribes and eventually German civilization to settle the area as well as help defend against being invaded and ruled over by the Romans.

Tip: Basel is in Switzerland which means that it’s expensive! Note that you must have a vignette on your vehicle in order to enter Switzerland particularly around Basel. There are actually Swiss border guards who looking for the sticker before they allow you in the country. I guess they don’t want to hunt vehicles down to give them a fine but rather just tell people upfront about it and make them pay for the sticker and have them apply it.

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Liechtenstein, a small country in the Alps next to Switzerland and Austria

Liechtenstein, which is basically another alpine country like Andorra, is another country where wasn’t much to see or do there. I just happened to be driving in eastern Switzerland at the time so I decided to cross the border, stop by, and buy some Liechtenstein beer for a friend of mine so that way he can say that he got to drink some rare booze even though it probably wasn’t. Mostly likely it was a generic brand of beer. I don’t think he thought that much about the Liechtenstein beer other than saying that he got to drink a beer from such a small country so it’s all about the bragging rights.

capital of liechtenstein street houses homes sunny day

There was not a lot to see or do in this country. Of course, during a sunny day with no clouds in the sky doesn’t help with the skiing and/or snowboarding opportunities which I’m sure brings this country alive during the winter.

small alpine country smallest in the world Europe microstate german speaking

One of the prominent features of this country is its Neo-Gothic Cathedral aka Vaduz Cathedral which overlooks from a mountain perch and into the city of Vaduz. I passed by a few people who were wondering why and what I was doing there. Apparently, many people don’t travel to this small country.

There really isn’t much to see in this country but by going into Liechtenstein for a few hours, I can say that I did visit the country instead of just passing by and never going in. Another country visited, big whoop, eh? But it’s more than that, I can say that I visited the sixth smallest country in the world! Only the countries of Vatican City and Monaco that I’ve visited are smaller. Even though the previously-visited European countries of Malta, Andorra, and even Luxembourg seem to be small as well, Liechtenstein is far and away much smaller. Some might say put in Gibraltar but that’s really a British Overseas Territory, not a country.

Tip: Just like the countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the people of Liechtenstein can speak fairly good English, but even then, it’s highly recommended to know some German. When I went in to buy some items at the store in Liechtenstein, I spoke entirely in German, not English. So German is a good requirement since this small country is close to countries that have a lot of German influence, culturally and historically: Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.

Tip: Another good thing to know is that interestingly, Liechtenstein uses the Swiss Franc not the Euro. In the past, Liechtenstein was initially more aligned with the Austrian Empire/Austria-Hungary due to their historical roots with the Holy Roman Empire as well as the result of the power coming from the Habsburg monarchy in Vienna, but over time, due to Austria’s cultural changes and more importantly, the instability of Austria’s currency after the conclusion of World War I, Liechtenstein decided to convert over to the Swiss Franc which had a lot more stability and had a lot more positive momentum going for it. But more importantly, Liechtenstein looked up to Switzerland where the microstate started copying more and more Swiss ideals such as being a neutral state during World War II in order to avoid the ravages of war. Even today, Liechtenstein is more in-line with Switzerland as it doesn’t even have border guards with the Swiss but there are guards at the Austrian border. What’s funny is that Liechtenstein rarely has any crime and any criminals with long prison sentences go to a prison in Austria, not Switzerland.

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Zurich: the de facto capital of Switzerland and very expensive!

There is one major country in Europe that I didn’t focus on which would have to be the country of Switzerland. Nestled mostly among the mountain range of the Alps, this country made its official policy to be neutral for basically forever. It got sick of all the wars that engulfed Europe for so long starting with the Romans, Barbarians, Holy Roman Empire, etc. that its neutrality stance was also backed up by its national defense military that so far, no one has tried to invade Switzerland since then. It helped the country steer clear of both World War I and II so the country has been able to focus on other aspects such as its famous Swiss watches, cheese, beer, and of course, banking.

Due to these aspects as well as the limited liveable and/or arable land there, the Swiss have grown to be very industrious so as a result, prices can only go into one direction: up. I think that’s why this mountainous country is so pricey. Nevertheless, it’s still worth a visit to take a look around.

sunny day boats lake zurich boating swiss times

Some of the boats were out on this sunny day but I can see Lake Zurich being in full blast by being overfilled with boats in the summer.

swiss capital church iglesia suiza

They built a church on a great location, right by Lake Zurich!

Switzerland technically has several capitals which is partly one of the reasons why the country has a trilingual stance on making French, German, Italian and Romansh as its official languages but realistically, its de-facto capital is Zurich even though most Swiss tend to speak their primary language of choice which is often German for most Swiss and then English, not German and then French to the dismay of many politicians. In Zurich, which also is the most populous in Switzerland, happens to be located in the north and east where German is the most used language. That’s why it’s a good idea to know some German if you’re going to hang out this area.

two views zurich swiss die Schweiz Meer lago

I was told that Zurich has two distinct views: summer and winter. Meaning that there is a sunny view and a snowy view to this city that was established on the lake. The rest of the city is pretty much like any other European city – a combination of the old, antique with the new and modern buildings.

Tip: If you going to drive in Switzerland, it’s best to look into getting a vignette also known as a sticker or road toll permit. This allows you to drive on the Swiss Highways without having to pay a big fine. Best to buy the sticker/requirement for 25 Swiss Francs (or about 30+ euros) and not pay 300 euros or worse, 300+ Swiss Francs! If you have a rental car, it’s best to ask because if you get a rental car in Switzerland, the vignette or something equivalent should already make the car okay to drive. But a rental car from another country, it would be best to ask!

Tip: Going into Switzerland, I found out quickly in a hard way that everything there is pricey. Even something as simple as a bottle of soda or bottle of water costs far more than just an arm and a leg. They want taxes paid too or something like that so everything just costs so much more. If you are driving to Switzerland, buy all your stuff such as food, fuel, etc. before going in. You can save a lot of money by this way. Try not to do your shopping in Switzerland if you can avoid it. It would be hard better to buy for simple stuff in neighboring countries of Germany, France, or Italy which would be far cheaper to obtain. Even fuel is more expensive in Switzerland so it’s best to completely fuel-up prior to crossing the border into Swiss lands.

Tip: Learn some German. I actually encountered some Swiss people who did not speak any English at all. I’ve found this out when I went to buy my vignette when I had to ask around where I could buy it. The customs guy did not speak English so I quickly figured out in my mind how to ask in buying this sticker, where I could obtain one, if I could drive into Switzerland for about 400 meters to get it without getting in trouble. He understood and allowed me to drive to the nearest store and then from there, I drove around back into Germany so I could drive on a Swiss highway at another entry point only to be met with Swiss border guards who asked me a few questions, checked my car for the sticker, checked my passport, and sent me on my way.

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Fishing it up in the English spring

On the second day of fishing in England is one of those – you just never know what happen so might as well go! And when I mean go, I mean that you never know what might take that hook and blast off! That’s what happened to me as I was calmly and jokingly talking to one crew member on the fishing boat in the Azores before something hard took my hook! After a few minutes of fighting, it turned out to be an Amberjack, which is great in the department of fighting despite its smaller size. No one else ever got a fish like mine on that boat so you have to be ready! This ain’t like going to the Pyramids hoping and knowing what you will get and see. That’s why I advise travelers to try fishing! A different feeling of anticipation of “Maybe, maybe, there might be a fish… big or small? No one knows!”

But on this day, I just wanted one really big fish to get hooked up. Can’t that happen for me??? I might I’ve caught some really big fish before but it feels as if it’s been a long time ago such as a lifetime ago. Sure, I’ve had such feelings many times or they felt like big fish but it’s always the ones that surprise your fishing rods that get you the most such as the 14 pound Lingcod in California, 12 pound rainbow trout in England, the big salmon in New York, the tunas in Mexico, the sailfish in Costa Rica, and how can I forget my biggest catch of all time – the 240 pound (110 kg) shark in Spain! That’s something that most travelers don’t know about – this amazing feeling that you used your own skills to produce your own awesome, unique experience. I mean it ain’t hard to go somewhere and take some pictures of an amazing place that someone (and I mean millions of others) has already taken photos of.

casting while seated cuando sentado pescando

Lots of casting and retrieving. Rinse and repeat. That’s fishing with some accuracy of casting of course.

On this day, it was tough fishing. Despite reports of people being completely on fire catching fish over and over again… nope. There was some hard work involved of casting the fly rod back and forth, back and forth, all the while retrieving and preparing for that fish to take the hook.

My first fish of the day came within an hour or so. A fresh rainbow trout.

Finally! My first brown trout of this calendar year! I caught this in the middle of all those rainbow trout that were taking my fly hooks.

The day’s fishing is still better than nothing. It wasn’t going to be like last year when it was a fish on every cast. No. But it was consistent. That’s why it’s best to fish and see what the fishing gods bring to ya. Some people have complaints about traveling to go see some buildings or what not – that’s why go fishing! You have to utilize the technical skills that you’ve learned to see if you can catch fish and hope there’s a big fish awaiting around!

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