Tuesday, January 14, 2014

(5/)6 Micro-nations IV: Milan - Switzerland - Liechtenstein - Strasbourg

12/5 - Milan to Liechtenstein to Strasbourg, both legs via Switzerland

First the drive out of Milan was a pain.  Then the Swiss customs police hit me with a 35-euro sticker I will use exactly today, despite it being good till the end of next year.  But I survived, and once past Lugano things got a lot cooler.

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301. Alps, just over the Swiss border.

302. Catching the dawn.  (DNCO)

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303. Covered in snow and pines.

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304. More scenery through the valleys.

v11. Chopper lifting something in the woods over the rest stop.

I couldn't pull any francs here, so I decided to take some pictures as long as I was off the highway.

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305. Brilliant mountain skies.

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306. An imposing block in the early light.

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307. Range over the minimart.

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308. Back on the road, dawning for real.

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309. Church and streaming heavens.

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310. Rugged peaks against the sky.

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311. White shadows in the distance.

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312. Peak and opposite carriageway.

I got off and into Liechtenstein and stowed the car for as long as I could leave it, which was like 3 hours and change.  Time enough to see some stuff.

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313. Switzerland, from across the Rhine in the FL.

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314. Schloss above the town.

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315. Cash get, the one alternative currency used.

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316. The black cube of the art museum; they're building a white one next to it.

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317. Rathaus and plaza.

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318. Another view of city hall.

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319. Corner detail and St. Andrew's contrails.

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320. North out of town to the mountains.

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321. Different definitions of practical.  No word on whether the Renault is a car or a motorcycle for Liechtensteiner purposes.

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322. Forested peak above Vaduz.

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323. Classic-styled gasthof.

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324. Swiss mountains northwest.

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325. Vineyard and alps beyond.

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326. Mountains over the "milk center".

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327. Another view of the castle from the Torkel (entrees from 50 CHF) parking lot.  Fuerstenkeller, fuerchtenpreisen.

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328. Misty peak to the south.

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329. Closer view of the northern range.

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330. Literally, "back street".

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331. The sun coming over the mountains.

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332. Sky and ridgeline.

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333. Brook and mountains beyond.

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334. Traditional Wetterkreutz on the hike/bike path.

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335. Fountain in one of the few public spaces in town.

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336. The original energy bars.  Each stick is about 225 calories; this pack will do for breakfast and lunch.  I'm mostly herbivorous at home, but for space and caloric value, it's pretty hard to beat jaegerwurst when you're on the road.

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337. Another Alpen view.

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338. Peaks over traditional houses.

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339. Summit over the town.

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340. Swiss slopes and a lone pine.

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341. Alpen panorama from the fields east of town.

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342. Closer on the mountains.

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343. Vaduz under the mountain.

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344. Alps and another Wetterkreutz.

v12. Baby goats play-fighting.

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345. FC Vaduz' ground; the views here are some of the few that won't lose to Luch'.

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346. Swiss alps behind the stands.

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347. You'd think this was an open-air hockey ground.

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348. Statt Suedtribune SGD.

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349. Another calendar shot.

350. ((not germane))

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351. The Rhine makes its way north.

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352. The sun on the river.  I didn't go see the rest of the planets, to the south at scaled distances.

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353. Instead, I went in the water.

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354. Upriver from the verge.

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355. Downriver, same point.

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356. Up to the Swiss side.

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357. Summit of the peak over the town.

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358. The goats from before hanging out.

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359. Whimsical murals and a steampunk thingy.

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"v"13. In the bus park public washroom.  Oddly, it isn't in Chinese, which is probably more useful for this app than Japanese or Korean.

Museum!  In the process I surprised some of the staffers with my actual provenance, in combination with my German ability -- they'd marked me, on the basis of a slight but still resident Saxon accent, as coming from the old East rather than the new West.  Iss nixt zoe 'ne zonderbare Zocke.

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360. Pottery from some of the earliest settlers.

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361. Firepit for cooking.

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362. Hanseatic plate, even this far upriver.

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363. An incredibly realistic mannequin; replace the tunic with a kutte and the pemmican with a brat, and this guy would fit right in with any group of Germanic dudes at Party.San.

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364. Jewelry and amulets, prehistoric to medieval.

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365. Burials, as excavated.

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366. Buried after burning.

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367. Devotional tapestry.

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368. Wetterkreutz; the others pictured so far have been outside, in use, with a roof over them.

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369. Pre-Christian votive figurines.

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370. Cast copies of helms found at a Roman castle near Schaan.

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371. Roman and medieval weapons.

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372. Replica of that castle that most of this Roman stuff was excavated from.

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373. Todesschild of a dying house.

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374. Cast of a noble's tomb plate.

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375. Scattered states after the fall of Rome.

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376. Sculpted roof timbers in the coin room.

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377. Old coins; some of these are worn smaller than modern 1-Eurocent pieces.

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378. Traditional schnaps still -- in use into the 20th century.

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379. Games in the lifestyle exhibit; wonder if the top one has a mechanic for putting other players' pieces into concentration camps.

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380. Fireworks for Fasching.

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381. Masks and cartouches.

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382. Wood striker; this replaced church bells on Good Friday.

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383. Rules of the Church Police.

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384. Princely crest.

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385. The current prince.

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386. Artifacts of the bicentennial; I missed the tricentennial by at least a year.

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387. If I couldn't get a cap onto my wall, this'd have to do.  I was able to get one at the Coop later though, the only Liechtensteiner beer with a distinctive cap.

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388. Old map of Switzerland.

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389. Despite its size, Liechtenstein supports two papers.

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390. Old scales and princely decrees.

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391. Official weights and measures.

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392. Farmhouse replica, to the mid-1800s.

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393. From the princely collection, painted from the Swiss side.  See 328 above for the current mountain.

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394. Parliamentary voting box, in use basically from the start of the Landtag up until the start of electronic tabulation.

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395. Liechtenstein has a surprisingly active political scene.

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396. The man who helped Liechtenstein avoid becoming Lutia.  Johann II, still styled "the Good" by locals, guided the transition to modernity and navigated the era of the first World War, leaving the country a significantly better place than he found it.  Liechtenstein is mostly independent today because it happened to win the genetic lottery with this man and his great-grandnephew Franz-Josef II.

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397. Police equipment and strike dies.

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398. Similar artifacts of the army.

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399. Veterans and discharges.

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400. Remaining equipment.  Liechtenstein abolished its military for budgetary reasons in 1868, as soon as Bismarck dissolved what was left of the Holy Roman Empire.

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401. Memorial plaque; the victims of the local witchcraft hysteria are remembered.

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402. This hall notes all of them; like Massachusetts Bay, the madness came late to a small country, so the number of victims is relatively small.  Ten or fifteen women murdered on the say-so of someone's hallucinations was a slow morning in Scotland or Spain two hundred years earlier.

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403. Diplomas in agriculture.

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404. These must be the old machines of Liechtenstein.

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405. Passports used to look like this.

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406. Teachers of the principality; a hundred years before this was taken, nearly all Liechtensteiners were illiterate, as you'd expect from a subsistence-farming nation bordered by a mostly-dry river and ramparts of impassable mountains.

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407. Recreation of an old schoolroom.

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408. Old-school telephones.

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409. Old and new; I had a handy much like the Motorola at left when I was living in Germany, less than ten years ago, and by today's standards, it really is a museum piece.

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410. Wall of hand tools.

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411. Carved antlers from the Roman period.

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412. Modern products of Beltzer AG.

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413. Intro to the special exhibition on the nonschluss.

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414. Explains itself.

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415. Even here, the '30s were the '30s.

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416. Explicit plans from official sources.

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417. Local Nazis and the reaction.

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418. The border with Austria is small and rough, but was useful to a degree.

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419. Franz-Josef sets the example for Belgium.

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420. Stuffed heads to the upper hall.

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421. Diorama of local wildlife.

422. ((not germane))

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423. The macabre Germanic trophy style.

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424. Woodland inhabitants, for the Auerhahn.

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425. What in the freakish hell?

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426. Yes, I did pet the boar.

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427. Twenty species to four in eighty years.  We need to stop killing ourselves.

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428. Collection of Russian ikons, another special exhibit.

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429. In the "Sexperts" exhibition, a special presentation about animals fucking.

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430. Seriously.  This is here until mid-January.

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431. Stuffed heads from the top landing.

The museum done, I hit the road before my parking meter expired.

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432. Crossing to the Swiss side, into the wall.

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433. Mountains tower over the valley.

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434. Sharp crag to the southwest.

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435. More exposed rock.

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436. Stacked up over the highway.

437. I am immature.  (DNCO)

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438. The wall at the end of the valley.

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439. Mountains along the road.

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440. Alps behind Alps.

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441. High castle on that ridge.

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442. A line of broken-out peaks.

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443. Church on an outcropping.

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444. Wide shot of the valley.

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445. Still more mountains.

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446. Going past the ridge.

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447. Mountains sloping down.

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448. Mountains along the Wallensee.

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449. Church on the curve.

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450. Still ringing the Wallensee.

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451. Trying to get the town below, not very well.

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452. Chopper warming up on a snowy field.

Going through Switzerland, I stopped for a 78-franc fuel bill, probably the most I've ever paid for gas in one shot, and a bag of wiper fluid.  While filling up the fluid reservoir, I opened the oil cap on a whim, because I was closing in on 25000 km and the mandated service interval.  Wisps of smoke came out.  So I went back in the gas station and spent goddamned 28 francs on a liter of all-synthetic motor oil as mandated by the manufacturer, because the last thing I needed was to melt the engine.  It took all of it, which I guess is a good indicator that all was not right with the reservoir, and for the rest of the trip I tried to avoid pushing the car too hard.

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453. Rappers will what?

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454. Town on the Wallensee.

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455. Snowy fields on the other side.

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456. More of the lower shore.

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457. If you laugh at this, report to Otakus Anonymous immediately.  No link, if you don't know what it is, it's probably for the best.

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458. My Swiss toll sticker back in France.  It was, as mentioned, a little expensive for one day, but I paid more on single toll bills in both Italy and France.

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459. L'Alsace.

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460. More toplit Alsatian skies.

v14. Along the road north to Strasbourg.

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461. Hills under the clouds.

462. Agriculture to the east.  (DNCO)

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463. The weather makes it over the mountains with difficulty.

I was a little nervous about tire pressure here -- they felt soft in Switzerland, but a lot of that appeared to be the cold by the time I got to Strasbourg -- but I reloaded the oil as described, which is always the most critical, and everything else appears to be behaving, thanks to the wiper reload and my legendarily light touch on the brakes.  This could change rapidly, but I was back in the country I rented it in, with gas stations about and mechanics who know what a C4 is.  One more leg to the finish.

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