Auto Ads by Adsense

Friday, July 19, 2019

June 20th Fussen to Reutte

It had rained the night before, I noted as I walked over to install the battery in the ebike and ride it to the Hohenschwangau ticket office. The Hohenschwangau ticket office opens at 7:30am, but even at 6:57am there was already a line waiting. The office opened promptly at 7:30am and we were treated to a rare example of a German failure, which was that the credit card machines didn't work, forcing us to pay cash for our tickets. I arranged for the earliest possible tours in case the forecast about the thunderstorm was right.

I rode back to Fussen and tried to get everyone organized to meet our 9:00am entry into the Hohenschwangau, which  was actually the better tour. Bowen complained about visiting the castles again. We rode to the castle just in time to make the entry, but somehow between when we parked the bikes and when we made it up to the castle entrance Bowen's eye started swelling. By the time the audio tour started, it'd started looking bad. I asked the tour guide to let us out so I could give him some claritin, and she suggested that I take him to the hospital. I was resistant to the idea but I was told it was really close, and when it didn't look any better despite the claritin, I took him there, leaving the luggage in the hands of the local souvenir shop. One look at Bowen and everyone had sympathy for him (and me!). I told Xiaoqin and Boen to stay on their tour.

I rode at high speed to the clinic, parked the bike outside unlocked, and was ushered into the emergency room. There were a couple of people ahead of us, but they looked at Bowen and told me to interrupt the doctor as clearly what he had needed more urgent attention. The doctor looked annoyed at us, but the entire waiting room was in consensus: she should see Bowen first! The doctor looked at Bowen and concluded that he had an insect bite. “It looks scary, but if it was an allergic reaction it should have affected both eyes. He'll be better tomorrow.” She gave Bowen some prednisolone, and a second tablet to give him the next morning. “I can write you a prescription for eyedrops. It's not strictly necessary but it might make him feel better. The problem is that it's a Saturday and the nearest open pharmacy is quite far away.” She named a couple of towns whose names I were not familiar with. “How about Reutte? We're going there today.” While Reutte wasn't a big city, it was the largest village around in that part of Austria, so if there was anything open it would be more likely to be in Reutte than in any of the Austrian villages. The doctor said she didn't know but wrote me a prescription anyway.

Bowen was clearly relieved at the diagnosis and felt immediately better, so we rode back to the castles and met mommy and Boen. We took the bus up to Neuschwanstein, but missed our entry time. We explained to the security personnel about Bowen's eye. One look at Bowen and he waved away my search for my receipt from the doctor's office and gave us the next tour which was in just 5 minutes!

The tour was great and we had a quick lunch, but not quick enough as when we got to the Marienbrucke it was more crowded than I'd ever seen it. We got in, took a picture, and got out just in time to catch the bus down. The sky had clouded over, so we made a dash up the street to try to make it to Reutte before the forecasted thunderstorm.

The ride, as I remembered, wasn't very hard despite it being a climb. It was by far the easiest border crossing between Germany and Austria in the area, and I was quite happy with our progress when it started raining exactly as we reached the border, which was where the paved bike path turned into an unpaved fire road. We heard the sound of thunder and decided that discretion was the better part of valor and wait under a shelter. When Xiaoqin and I had bought rain gear for her and the kids at the REI memorial day sale, she asked if I intended to ride in the rain. I said that you buy rain gear hoping not to use it, but in any case the Partnach gorge in Garmisch would demand it. Well, now was the time to use the rain gear so I got out all the rain gear and we dressed the kids and ourselves in our rain gear.

The forecast called for the thunderstorm to die over the afternoon, and indeed by 3:00pm, the thunder and lightning had gotten further away, and we were getting more wet from raindrops falling from the trees than the rain, so we made the decision to dash for it. Riding down the dirt path into Austria proper was easy, but the bike route to Reutte seemed to be much longer than the direct route Bowen and I took the year before, which ironically was because we missed the bike path sign.  Both kids started complaining about the cold, but of course we finally spotted our first zipline playground of the trip 3km before arriving at the hotel. As is always the case, once we reached the hotel the rain stopped and the sun came out!

It wasn't enough to to drop off everyone at the hotel, however, I still had a prescription to fill on a Saturday. I asked the hotel receptionist about it, and to my delight she gave me the name of a pharmacy. I asked if they were open, and she said “no, but push the button and someone will help you!” I rode my bike to the pharmacy, and there found a sign to push a button but no indication as to which button it was. I walked around pushing random buttons until I realized that the sign referred to a big pillar outside the pharmacy that said “Nacht Watch” for “night watch.” There was a 1.5 Euro surcharge for using the night watch service but I was more than happy to pay the premium. The pharmacist apologized for taking a long time because filling a German prescription in Austria meant that he had to triple-check everything and all the drug names, despite everything being in German!

We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, and afterwards as promised, I took Bowen and Boen to the zipline in the fading light and had them play for 30 minutes. The hotel room was a strange split-level setup, so Bowen and I slept in the “attic”.  Fortunately, the weather had cooled off considerably after the thunderstorm, so we could sleep.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

June 20th Immendstadt to Fussen

We woke up to a warm morning, and wasted precious time looping back and forth trying to regain the bike route. Because we weren't married to the Bodensee-Konigsee bike route, we decided to just use Google maps to route to Fussen, which might have been a mistake, since while we ran into other cyclists, the route they took (and which Google recommended) immediately took us up grades north of 12%, which eventually surpassed my aerobic threshold and forced me to get off the bike. Bowen was willing to get off as well, but Boen was not, forcing me to push him and the loaded bike up the steep grades.

We paused to rest at a house with a rabbit hutch and questionable tasting water. I threw away a whole bottle before a passing cyclist told me that it was safe to drink. One more steep pitch that necessitated walking went by before we descended to Nesselwang with a supermarket and lunch. Xiaoqin found a great ice cream place where we took on fortification before the final push to Fussen.

After lunch, the climbing began again, but never so steep as before, and we entered a forest which granted us relief from the unrelenting sun which made me question the rain forecast. Once at the summit however, the ride turned into a beautiful series of rolling hills in the downhill direction which were a joy and granted us great speed, with the wind cooling us off even in the sun.

For whatever reason, Boen had no problem with sleeping that day, but at the bottom of the hill, just 8km from Fussen when we stopped to refill the water bottles, he enjoyed the fountain so much that he threw a temper tantrum when it was time to leave. We stayed a little longer but he still cried upon leaving, and so it was that we rode through the Hopfen am See with Boen crying the entire way, and he didn't stop until we got within the Fussen city limits.

This was my first time staying in old town Fussen, and our Apartment Hotel told us to park our bikes behind the visitor center just outside old town. I looked at the receptionist quizzically about this, but she insisted that it was safe. I wasn't concerned about the triplet, but the ebike was obviously valuable even without a battery installed, so I locked that to the triplet using the flimsy cable lock I had anyway and hoped for the best.

Dinner was at the Italian restaurant where the waiter did a great job of pretending to be Italian even though he was plainly German, eating the fresh strawberries we'd brought into the restaurant. I told Xiaoqin about the plan for tomorrow, which was that I'd go buy the tickets, and then come back and we'd ride over together for the tours. Then, because I had zero trust in the weather forecast, we would just ride over to Reutte in Austria. Little was I to know that it was going to be far more challenging a day than I had planned.

That night, before bed, I received a call from an Austrian phone #. I picked it up and the hotel asked me when I was planning to show up. I said that we were arriving by bicycle so didn't know. We back'd and forth'd a bit before I realized that she'd mistaken my reservation for tomorrow for today! I corrected her mistake and she apologized.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

June 18th Grunenbach to Immendstadt

We woke up somehow refreshed and ate the scrumptious and generous breakfast laid out by our hostess, who had a little girl a little younger than Boen. She was so impressed by our bike that she asked to take a picture, and in exchange I extracted a picture from her as well.

The climb out was steep but very manageable in a refreshed state while the day was still cool. We made it to Oberstaufen by 10:00am, and stopped at the first sports shop that we saw. They told us they weren't a bike shop and so couldn't effect the repairs we needed, but that Oli's bike shop could. We rode around for a bit before finding it across the street from the train station. There, the mechanic saw us, and motioned us around to the mechanic's side of the business. In the time it took for me to take Bowen up the steps to use the bathroom, he'd had a new bolt installed.

“How much was it?” “The price,” he told us, “is a smile on your face!” With that kind of service I laughed and tried to find a replacement bladder for Boen's camelbak, which was leaking whenever it was filled any more than a quarter full. He didn't have any in stock, so told us to look for the main branch of the shop past Immendstadt.

I suggested the swimming pool to Bowen and he jumped on it. They were running a special that day, 2 hours for the price of one, so we paid the fee and went in. The slide was great, and I took Boen down it several time with Bowen, and after they tired of it we went to the baby pool and I had a swim in the lap pool as well.

Refreshed, we bought lunch at the supermarket and had a picnic in the town's Kurpark.

After lunch, it was time to ride to Immenstadt. I booked an apartment close to the town center: it was priced high as there wasn't much availability despite it being midweek, a mystery I was never able to solve. Unfortunately, our plans hit a snag once we got onto the bike path, which was that between the efforts of the swimming pool and the mid-afternoon sun, Boen fell asleep!

We stopped and Boen napped for about 20 minutes before waking up and was ready to go. The path to Immendstadt goes on the north side of the lake, opposite the main highway, which made it a beautiful and quiet alternative, and granted us views of the lake only interrupted by the train tracks running alongside it.

The lake was gorgeous, and when we found a suitably shaded spot with a nice vantage point, we stopped and rested, taking pictures, letting Bowen and Boen lie down on the bench as the world went by.

Unfortunately, at the break spot, I discoverred that my Canon G7X II was now broken: the lens cap/shutter mechanism had gotten stuck, and the lens would never fully open or close ever again. I considered replacing it, but not at European prices, especially in a situation where I'd never be able to get my VAT tax back. Luckily, prior to the trip, Xiaoqin had acquired a state of the art Pixel 3A XL, reportedly the best smartphone camera in the business. I turned on RAW mode on her phone, and would later discover that it was a worthless endeavor: the good photos was entirely because of the on-board photo-merging/pinning software, and nothing you did in Lightroom could compensate for that.

The bike path took us right into town, where our navigation system told us to leave it and go under a tunnel where we emerged into a neighborhood that adjoined a major road with a ton of traffic. Nevertheless, we were committed but the owner of the apartment waved us in and told us that we could easily just park our bikes outside the house all night and not have any problem, but that he wanted to be paid in cash. With our cash reserves too low to pay him right away, we moved in, took an inventory of what needed to be bought for dinner, and I took the ebike out to find an ATM.

After that, I walked over to the supermarket, which was described as 100m from the apartment, but in reality was closer to 200m. I bought a selection of groceries suitable for dinner and breakfast, and then walked back. After showering the kids and laundry, I made dinner, since we were all too tired to walk back to town for dinner.

I looked at the map and the forecast, which was for rain in the afternoon. We were close enough to Fussen to conceivably make it there tomorrow. If the rain forecast played out, Fussen was potentially a better place to be in, since it had good train connections to other places worth seeing, and the castles were obviously a good place to spend a rainy day. Moreover, it was big enough to have car rental places, so we could for instance, visit Garmisch and other must-sees on our itinerary without losing time. It would change our route, but weather should always change your cycling plans if your desire is to have fun rather than just be riding for the sake of riding.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

June 17th: Lindau to Grunenbach

We woke up early and left for a cafe breakfast so as to not disturb the guests (and more importantly, the owner, who was watching our kids like a hawk). We returned, brush our teeth and packed as quietly as we could, and then left. The night before, I'd plotted a route to find the start of the Bodensee to Konigsee bike path. While komoot had the entire bike path plotted, there was also no way to load the whole thing, and the tourist board that had established the komoot route had broken it into so many little sections that we would probably finish more than one a day, so I opted for just following the signs.

What was even worse was that the stage terminus set by the tourist board were all obscure little towns with very little lodging. I had no idea how they expected us to use the stages, but I figured I'd figure everything out along the way. It was Monday and I didn't expected competition for lodging anywhere along the route.

The problem with riding away from the Bodensee, of course, was that every direction was up, except for the direction we'd came from. There was one easy direction, which was to head up towards Chur with a tailwind in the afternoon, but the year before, on the train from Lindau to Garmisch, the scenery looked pretty enough to justify a ride, and I decided that the Bodensee to Konigsee bike route was worth trying, not being so flat as to be boring, as well as taking us to Fussen and Bad Tolz. I didn't intend to follow the route slavishly, since Bowen wanted to go to Garmisch, and our final destination was Salzburg, not the Konigsee, but it would be a guide and approximation and assure us that regardless we would have a bike route marked out.

Of course, not half a kilometer from where we discovered the start of the route, we'd already encountered a detour, though this one was marked very well and wasn't onerous. We stopped at a fruit stand, our memories fresh of the amazing fruit the day before, but the fruit this time wasn't nearly as good. We climbed over a couple of hills with plenty of other cyclists about, all clearly following the same bike path, and then at one point saw another cyclist turn around. It turned out that the bike route signs had peter'd out, in the fashion of many German long distance bike path markings. At the next intersection, all of us stopped and scanned our maps to see the best way to regain the route, and it looked like it was an easy correction at the first town with any feasible lodging. It would be weird lodging, being run by a church, so we opted to keep going.

At the next playground in Hergatz, we stopped to refill our water bottles, let Bowen and Boen play, and try to find something to eat. To our surprise, nearly everything around us was closed! Even the water fountain that had enticed us to stop had “kein trinkwasser” on it! Riding on, I stopped by a house and asked if there was a supermarket nearby, and the owners replied, “No, the nearest place is quite far away. This is not a good place for shopping.” I asked for water and they obliged, and gave us 3 apples as well.

At Eglofs, we found a fruit stand, and I asked the fruit stand owner and she explained, that this being a Monday, nearly everything was closed as a holiday! This included the hotel that was clearly listed on as being open, and it being hot, I didn't want to climb to the top of the hill to verify. We kept riding on the bike route, riding a mix of dirt and pavement including an ominous omen --- a roadkilled hedge hog. Upon passing by a campground, we stopped just in case they had a grocery store in the fashion of many American campgrounds, but no luck. The folks at the campground told us that there was a pizza place at Gestratz over that was opened on Mondays, however.

We rode there and got there at 1:30pm. Despite it being opened, the waiter told us that the kitchen was closed. I was pretty pissed. I looked at and saw that Grunenbach, the next town over, had a guesthouse that was opened. It was only 5km, but was over a climb that had the dreaded “14% grade” listed on the arrow pointing in the direction. I booked it, and we committed to climbing in the afternoon heat.

Fortunately, 5km doesn't take forever, even on the tandem, and in 40 minutes we were standing at the front door. The hostess of the guesthouse was gracious and friendly, even calling a nearby restaurant to see if they would open for us, but everyone else was too cooked to even consider leaving the hotel. I took Xiaoqin's ebike and rode over to the net town where a bakery was open. There I bought the dregs of the day's lunch and desserts, some milk and drinks, and rode back. Unfortunately, the kickstand on the ebike had lost a bolt on the way there and was no longer usable. I examined the kickstand and determined that I didn't have a bolt that was a suitable replacement. Worse, I didn't even have a suitable wrench to tighten the remaining bolt or to remove it so we could stow it without it rattling all over the place.

We ate everything, and then went out for dinner at the local Indian place, which had a somewhat strange facsimile of Indian food as I knew it at the Bay Area. The gracious hostess told us how to find the local playground. There, I examined our options after this horribly challenging day. The next town was big enough to have a bike shop that could repair the kickstand. There was also a swimming pool that had water-slides, something Bowen discovered that he loved last year in Garmisch, but it would also make for a very short day, but folks might want one. However, Immenstadt was on the other side of the Grosser Alpsee, and the route description indicated that it was an easy, mostly flat ride, and we would get to see Grosser Alpsee. Regardless, it would be a climb over from Grunenbach to Oberstaufen, so I figured we'd decide when we got there.
We slept well that night, all having been quite tired from the unexpected challenges the day had placed before us.

Monday, July 15, 2019

June 16th: Konstanz to Lindau

We woke up finally, almost un-jet-lagged, except for Xiaoqin, whose sleep was constantly interrupted by Boen's demands. I took both kids down to breakfast, and Jennie's family who were unencumbered by the need to pack and get ready, had already arrived at our hotel by the time I was rolling the bike out of storage. A thunderstorm had passed through the night before, leaving the roads wet, but the forecast called for a sunny afternoon, so we'd opted to ride anyway.

Garmin routed us on beautiful bike paths through Konstanz to get to the ferry, though at one point I balked at the dirt bike path which had become muddy, and opted to ride on pavement instead. We arrived at the ferry terminal expecting to have to buy tickets before boarding, but the sign said “buy tickets on the ferry.” To our surprise, the bike carriage on these car ferries on the Bodensee was to just roll on ahead of the cars and then park by the side of the ferry! Since the ferry ran about every 30 minutes, we basically were assured of an almost immediate crossing. The ferry could only take cash, but we'd crossed over into Germany at Konstanz (with no notification whatsoever on the bike path), so now I could use the Euros left over from my Spainish trip in April.

The ferry crossing was smooth as can be, but we felt a raindrop or two as we rolled off the ferry after the cars were let out. I promised Bowen that we could visit the Zeppelin museum in Frederickshafen, and wanted to make it to the museum before it started raining, so we started off at a furious pace. Jennie's family were unladen, but their bicycles were not as suited for paved riding as ours, so except for their oldest boy who had a fancy mountain bike, Jennie and her daughter had to struggle, since the bike path from Meersburg to Fredrickshafen was not flat.

In Fredichshafen we had lunch, and bid goodbye to Jennie, who'd declined to visit the museum, seeing that they had a drive back to Lausanne after the ferry took them back to Konstanz. The Zeppelin museum was small, and had less kid-friendly stuff than I expected, though there was a replica of the inside of a replica gondola as it was in the hey-day of airships.  I reflected that if the world got serious about reducing carbon emissions there might be a place for airships again, trading a slower transit time for better fuel efficiency, though there's also a concern that in a warming atmosphere winds might become so strong that what you can fit onto an airship might not be enough to fight any headwinds.

Bowen was disappointed by the Zeppelin museum, so we rode on towards Lindau. It being a Sunday I didn't expect there to be competition for lodging, so we didn't make reservations until after we'd stopped at a fruit stand and bought some amazingly delicious strawberries. Xiaoqin made the call to stay at a run AirBnB-type accommodation which to my surprise wasn't on the island of Lindau proper (which would have cost a lot more). We got to Lindau and were surprised that we had to climb to get to our lodging, and then I realized that the new town of Lindau (as oppose to the train station and old town) was in a different location.

We arrived late and were greeted. Unlike a hotel, there was no sheltered parking  for bikes nor a place to charge the e-bike, so I had to figure out how to extract the battery from the e-bike so we could charge it in our room. The owner of the place immediately told us that the garden was off-limits because of our kids. It was quite clear that she had oriented her place towards adult visitors, and didn't really like having little children on premise. We quickly took our shower, did our laundry, and walked out to the local Biergarten for dinner, having been told that she didn't take credit cards and would only take cash, we were also told where the ATM was and I made a point of going there after dinner to extract Euros. I also scouted out the two bakeries that would serve for breakfast the next day, it being a Monday.

Friday, July 12, 2019

June 15th: Neuhausen to Konstanz

Bowen and Boen woke up well before the 8:00am breakfast, so I took both of them down to the falls once again, this time getting views from the stairs. In the fashion of little kids, they soon decided that the funnest part of the area were the multi-stage elevators that let you skip the walk they had to take the day before directly to the train station. We couldn't have used that elevator yesterday because it wasn't big enough for the triplet, and sending kids up an unknown elevator wasn't something that even I would condone.

After breakfast, we headed up the river towards Stein Am Rhein. Soon, we hit a town where folks were practicing crossing the river with rowboats, timed by coaches who would make them repeat. Riding across the river, we discovered that the bike path signs had uncharacteristically disappeared, but after turning around a few times discovered that they'd been obscured by signs announcing that the main road through town had been closed to motor traffic due to a festival. Once past the festival, we made it to Stein Am Rhein, which had some sort of market through downtown.

Last time I visited Stein Am Rhein I was very impressed and thought it was the cutest little town, but my wife wasn't easily impressed, and so we ended up eating a quick lunch and then decamping to the campground. My friend Jennie Chen from Lausaunne was planning to join us, and it was a Saturday, so we booked a hotel in Konstanz after noticing the Meersburg on the other side of the ferry crossing was a lot more expensive. In my excitement, however, I'd neglected to see that the hotel we'd reserved had only one room left, and so Jennie had to scramble to find another hotel with openings.

The day was becoming quite warm, and when the bike path turned away from the river and started to climb into the hills to bypass the main road, I said “screw that!” and rode along the main road at speed. On a bike path next to the railroad tracks, however, Boen fell asleep on a set of rollers, forcing us to stop. He woke up after about 3 minutes off the bike, however, so we could proceed.

After all the climbing, the ride onto the Bodensee was a welcome relief: flat and smooth, with beautiful views throughout. We even stopped for photos. Once in Konstanz, it was a chore to find the hotel, as it was in the center of the pedestrian zone and the afternoon traffic made it so that we had to route around it. The hotel turned out to be a good deal, however, as it was a 3 room suite with separate bedrooms and a living room area. The towel dryers even worked, and the restaurant attached to the hotel was highly rated.

Jennie and her family had checked in and ridden over before I was done with the laundry, but after we were gathered together, we had dinner and discussed our plans the next day. My suggestion was that they ride over the ferry with us, and then rode over to Fredrickshafen, where a ferry could take them back to  the other side of the Bodensee, so they could leave their car at Konstanz.

We had ice cream, caught up on the years since we'd last met when Bowen was still in mommy's womb. We'd had plenty to catch up on, and the kids got ice cream as part of the bargain. We agreed to sync up again the next morning.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

June 14th: Rumlang to Neuhausen

Surprisingly enough, I managed to sleep until about 6:00am, evidence that the Trader Joe's melatonin tablet worked. The secret was that when I woke up at 2:00am, I didn't just lay awake, but immediately took another one.

I took both sons to breakfast so that Xiaoqin could have a little more sleep time, but even she couldn't sleep much longer because of the jet-lag. Boen discovered Nutella on this day (we never have any in the house because his brother is allergic to hazelnuts) After getting organized, it was about 10:00am before we departed from the hotel, leaving our empty bike boxes and luggage with them. The first few meters with the triplet felt shaky, and I wondered if I really could do a long distance bike tour with the two kids and luggage, but I knew from past experience that we would eventually settle down.

Our plan for the day was to ride to Stein Am Rhein. I'm not in the habit of making reservations far ahead on a bike tour, but the hotel had particularly poor reviews on and so offered same day cancellations, so I figured that we could cancel the reservation if we couldn't make it that far. The bike path to Eglisau on the Rhein was bike route 29, and once there we would switch to Swiss Bike route #2. Unlike the bike paths in Germany, Swiss National bike routes are well signed, though not always paved, and frequently are bike lanes rather than bike paths in major cities.

As I expected, the shakiness of the triplet experience gradually diminished throughout the day, and we sync'd together as a team. At noon, we rode off the designated path in Glattfelden to find a supermarket, where we bought a picnic lunch and then found a city park with benches along the bike path with a fountain to eat. As we rode into the village, people would stare and point at us, but the Swiss were much too polite to make random comments.

After lunch, we joined up with Swiss bike route #2 after a climb, and I realized that we were riding up the river towards the Bodensee. When I had last ridden this way in 2011, I hadn't even noticed, since I was riding my single bike. About 10km from Neuhausen, the path dipped down to the river and then we had to climb back up, which made me realize that Stein Am Rhein was out of the question. Using a smartphone app, I booked a hotel in Neuhausen, reasoning that we'd at least visit the Rheinfall that day.

To my surprise, the bike path crossed over into Germany, and proceeded to roll along before descending across along the Rhein until we saw the falls. Boen had his priorities straight: his first words off the bike were: “Daddy, I'm hungry. I want ice cream!” We bought ice cream at Swiss prices in front of the tourist attraction and watched the falls.

When we were done, we found ourselves having to climb from the bottom of the falls to town. The grade was much too steep for the triplet in our condition, so I had to stop the bike, ask the stokers to get off, and push the bike up the hill. Fortunately, we were on a bike path in a pedestrian only zone, so it was safe. We got out into the city, set a course for our hotel, and then looped around until we found it, a 4 story structure near the center of town.

Upon checking in, we discovered to our surprise that the manager insisted that we bring the bikes indoors, triplet and all, into their billiards room. There was even a power plug for us to charge the ebike. We pulled our luggage up the elevator, and then proceeded with what would be our regular routine: shower and laundry for the kids, then a walk downtown where we had dinner at the local Thai restaurant at expensive Swiss prices. The supermarket was still opened, so we bought a bottle of milk for Boen's inevitable mid-night awakenings, which Xiaoqin had to deal with.