As we crossed the border from Italy to Switzerland we were stopped at the border control to purchase our motorway sticker. Unlike France and Italy where you would pay as you go to use the motorway, often exorbitant amounts, in Switzerland we were charged a one of fee of 35 euro allowing us access to the motoway for a year. Even though we weren't going to be here long this known cost was reassuring.

Our journey continued as we began tunnelling through the Alps, sometimes being underground for 20km, all the while being surrounded by snowy mountains and green fields. We arrived in Lucerne around 5pm, parked the car and headed to the supermarket for dinner where we discovered we didn't know the conversion rate for Swiss Francs and therefore had no idea how much things were actually costing. A small purchase later we retired to the van for an early night, awaking the next morning to a sunny but freezing cold day.

Parking the car in the city centre we kicked the day off with a visit to Starbucks (where we found that francs are almost equal to the Australian dollar) before walking the shores of lake Lucerne. The views were stunning with the picturesque city framed by the Alps behind and the crystal clear waters below.  We explored the local markets, stocking up on local products before we began the drive north to Aachen, Germany.

After the drive through Switzerland, Germany seemed quite plain in comparison, with flat green fields occasionally being broken up by grey cities. The drive along the Autobahn was interesting as we watched motorists flying past at breakneck speeds, making the most of the lack of speed limit on the motorway, until everything came to a halt due to an accident caused by one car pulling into the lane of another. The irony of the situation on the motorway was that most of the high performance cars, Porsches etc, were driving safely like us while the inside lane was full of "average" cars that had no purpose driving at speeds there cars couldn't handle, for example, people movers that once up to speed couldn't brake in time, even if they had wanted to.

We spent the night at a motorway stop, just south of Aachen. Waking early we drove the final hour through snowy weather before arriving at the sleepy city and being a Sunday the only thing open was Starbucks... After a quick bit of research we plotted our course through the Netherlands. The first stop was at the 3 country border for Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, before heading on to Arhnem, the site of Operation Market Garden in World War 2, to spend the night.

The following day we wandered through the small city, discovering in the process that Monday is when things are closed in the Netherlands, but also finding no indication of the events that occured during the war. With little reason to remain in Arhnem we drove the short distance to Utrecht, which in our research the day before had discovered hosts weekly cultural events. Unfortunately, everything was closed here as well but the time was not wasted as we enjoyed ourselves walking through the city among the canals and historic buildings.  With the day still early and the sun shining we continued on the few remaining kilometers to our campsite in Amsterdam.