We decided to stop for lunch at an Austrian truck stop, once we drove through the gorgeous mountain pass that took us out of Italy. That border was being actively patrolled by Austrian police officers, much as the Swiss police always keep an eye on the Swiss border. Bill had prepared for us to be stopped in Italy, which has a form one should fill out before arrival declaring that one has not been in a risk area. But we were never stopped in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, or Germany. On the other hand, I read that each country had an uptick in COVID-19 cases over the weekend. I suppose it doesn’t matter that we left, since Germany also experienced an uptick as people continue to travel.
In any case, the Austrian truck stop required masks, except in the restaurant. As we sat down to enjoy hearty Austrian fare– cordon bleu for me and Farmer’s toast for Bill, a French family sat at the next table. It was an older couple with a young man who was wearing his mask the whole time. We noticed they spoke English to the waitress and the young man gave me an alarmed look when I sneezed (into my elbow). Sorry… I have allergies, which sometimes make me cough and sneeze. One thing I really hate about the whole pandemic is that it’s made everyone suspicious of everyone else. It’s made socializing and meeting new people difficult. It’s taken away things that bring joy, like live music and physical affection with friends. But, at least the food was good, and we were soon on our way to Switzerland.
I had gotten an email from the Oberwaid Hotel a couple of days before our arrival in St. Gallen. The email detailed a “code of conduct” for the hotel, which is also a medical clinic and got its start as a sanatorium. Basically, the email let us know what was expected of us as guests during the pandemic and offered us the chance to cancel our reservation free of charge if we were feeling ill or didn’t want to submit to having our temperatures taken at check in. Masks were not required at all, although the staff members wore them. The elevators had signs requesting that people not use them with strangers, and the generously sized hot tub stipulated a limit of four persons at a time.
Honestly, after four nights at a decidedly kid friendly hotel, I was more than ready for the Oberwaid experience. This hotel does not allow guests under age 16 from June until December. It’s a place where people seek medical care and there is an actual medical center in the building. They offer treatment to people with psychosomatic issues, as well as people who have cardiology, orthopedic, or physical therapy needs. Fortunately, despite my sneeze in the truck stop, I was feeling fine. So was Bill. We pressed on toward Switzerland and bought our 2020 vignette at the border, something we used to do every year when we lived in Stuttgart.
I knew it was going to be a unique experience, no matter what…
We got to the hotel at just after 3:00pm. That’s when check in begins. We had our temperatures taken and recorded and filled out a form showing that we live in Germany and haven’t been to a hot zone in the last couple of weeks. The receptionist also gave me a hard copy of the code of conduct, which was presented in flawless English. Then we went to our room, number 351, which had a lake view. As soon as I saw the bed, I knew it was nap time! I also knew that no one’s screams would wake me from my afternoon slumber.
Oberwaid offers half board, which I didn’t sign up for. In retrospect, maybe it would have been alright to do half board at this hotel, since it’s not near any restaurants and the food is excellent. We did choose to have dinner there Friday night– it was 85 francs per person– and we had breakfast both mornings at 25 francs per person. No, it’s not cheap, but I was happy with the quality of the food as well as the service, which was extremely professional and efficient.
After we ate, we decided to retire to the room and enjoy the peace, quiet, and air conditioning! I had big plans to try out the pool and hot tub on Saturday, then venture into Rorschach. More on that in the next post!