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Monday, July 29, 2013


One of the beauties of a Eurail pass is that you can be standing on a mountain in Lauterbrunnen and decide that you might like to spend the afternoon in
Spietz and then continue on to
where you can take a leisurely evening stroll

as easily as getting a drink before bed. Or you can get the sudden wild hare idea to go to Lucerne.  That decision takes you on a breathless train ride around gorgeous lakes and up up up and then down.  It's like a fairyland! 

We wandered around for a couple of hours, sampled the ice cream, took in a church, and caught the train back through Shangri-La to Interlaken.

Lucerne used to be my "Swiss connection"--I'd been there twice with students and it was my point of reference.  Then I backpacked in the Alps here with friends in 2006, and now I have even many more memories to conjure up of Switzerland!

"I'll take a triple dip of Summer!"

I've been hanging with some pretty rough company lately.  A regular gang.  Now they're gone, and it's just too darn quiet...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Interlaken Neighborhood

We spent three days in Interlaken and its environs.  I'm running out of superlatives.  The pictures will have to speak for themselves.  We enjoyed going to church here which made it a special place.
 This was my second time to Lauterbrunnen, a short train ride out of Interlaken.  It is hands down the MOST beautiful spot in Switzerland.  I don't think I'd have to defend that to anyone.
 For anyone who cares, THIS is where Happy Pants was born.
 A camping resort for which I have fond fond memories.  I vowed I would bring Paco here.  Mission accomplished!

 On another day trip we rode the train up to Wengen and hiked down.  It was very steep and challenging, and I admit I murmured.  Next time we'll go up to Murren and hike down, one I've done and loved.  If you ever have to make the choice, choose Murren.  Both villages are carless (which incidentally I am also--someone took our Subaru out).

 A yard full of model trains on the way down from Wengen.

 A perfect view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.  My son-in-law spent a week skiing here right before he married Shelly.
Paco looking ever Alpine.

Zermatt, Switzerland

The village of Zermatt is reached only by train or foot.  You "check" your cars in the village just down the way. 
Electric-powered cars, vans, and buses, however, abound!  Strolling is, of course, the best option of all.
A touching sight.  I'm thinking this gentleman is just returning from a loved one's grave.  His water can suggests he added a little water to the flowers he probably planted earlier.  I would have liked to interview him.
A graveyard (and accompanying church) dedicated to fallen climbing heroes.
17 years old?  I'll bet he had a mother who was dead set against that choice.
Irmgard and Victor--from Freiburg.  She was 26, and he was 55.  A German and a Brasilien.  What's their story?????

Jasmine, Michelle, and Nuanda who were performing on a bench outside our hostel.  Their elementary English and my pre-school German were a workable match!  We could discuss school, dogs, and favorite foods easily.
For rent.  No place to sit, so I'm surmising these are scooters?  Mountain scooters?  Those wheels suggest one heck of a ride!!!!
The library!
Ahh...home sweet home.  NOT!!!!  A dive!!!!!!!  Warning:  Back away from the hostel! 
The redeeming quality of our hovel quarters was this view from just outside
And this if you squinted (or zoomed).  The Matterhorn is not as readily apparent in Zermatt as you might have suspected from every photo you've seen.  You had to be standing in just the right places with your tongue held just so.  We also had misty clouds conspiring against us.  It was a sort of a cat and mouse game.
Had we more time we might have hopped aboard for a trek up.
Year round skiing for one and all!
NO skiing for us, but an early morning breakfast on the trail and a hike up and out of Zermatt to catch a more intimate glimpse of the Matterhorn.
Peek-a-boo!  I see you!  Have you seen that Spencer Tracy movie, "The Mountain"?  I read the book.
"...Every morning you greet me.  Small and white, clean and bright--you look happy to meet me!"

Paco and I parted ways here.  Remember what I said about Week 3?  I got 40 minutes to climb up further.  Experiencing an unusual amount of stamina and adrenalin, I wish I'd bargained for 3 hours.  I WILL RETURN!! 

A passing St. Bernard.  I wonder if he's on summer vacation.  A word about Zermatt here--wildly expensive, wildly.  Even the grocery store prices took our breath away.
The residue of a Japanese tour group that bustled by me while I awaited Paco in front of the Bahnhof
An electric van!!  The only thing that could pry me out of Zermatt was the lure of Interlaken!!!!!!

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley