Switzerland

We went on a trip to Switzerland. I agreed to deliver Adrian’s chair and he gave us a week in his holiday apartment in Zermatt. Fair Deal.
We invited Gina and Derek to come along. We were spending two days in Basel with Adrian and Lena so we asked Derek and Gina to arrive there by public transport by Saturday so we could journey through Switzerland together.
We got up at silly o clock and drove through the tunnel, got lost in Calais before zooming down the Peage past Riems and Strasbourg to Basel. Supper on the balcony was a welcome change from both cold and soggy England and driving an hour each for the day. I spent the morning scraping, sanding and re-oiling their old South American table. Adrian took us round the old town of Basel. Ancient, beautiful and loaded with history, tourists and children in the fountains, enjoying the 27degrees of summer. We crossed the river on the ferry that is attached to a cable and uses river power to cross over. Had lunch at riverside cafe with too much midday wine and watched the young people swimming doDSC02699wn the river with their clothes in inflatable bags and walking back upstream wet. Friday afternoon Adrian took us to Dornach to see the Anthroposophical Goethenium (Jugenstile meets Rudolf Steiner meets Royal opera house) it is beautiful and amazing and the avoidance of using right angles as well as the larger budget gives a superior appearance to most exposed concrete buildings.
Saturday and Gina and Derek meet us in Binningen, we load up and in spite of my stupidity, Adrian gets us on the road to Bern. We lunch at the Paul Klee Zentrum, onto the car train through the middle alps at the Lotschbergtunnel. Soon we are parking at the station of Tasch and onto the Zermatt Shuttle. Up to the magical world of high alps Zermatt, Tourists, restaurants, designer shops and money. We slot into the apartment and soon procure food from Co-op and chill out on the balcony.
Being a glacial valley the sides are steep and most of the walks involve trips on funiculars. Derek rushed off early to do some morning skiing. Gina, Syann and I went up to Furi and walked over the suspension bridge, up to see the glacial garden (deep holes in the rocks caused by stones being stirred by glacial meltwater) We lost Gina, who went back down on the cable car. We walked down the path under the caDSC02759ble car. The next day Syann and I went up a scary underground funicular to Sunnigar. The second stage up was not yet open, but we walked past two lakes and up a long zig zag path onto the original path we were due to follow. Nice and gentle to the station where we ducked down to another steep zig zag through the pines and larches to the town, meeting the school kids pushing their bicycles back up home again. Fed up with shelling out for funiculars, we walked up the slope behind our apartment. We left Gina to paint by some farm huts and walked up the warm south facing slope looking at the different plants and views. We watched a couple of hang gliders landing in a field and the helicopter transporting building materials up and down the opposite mountain. We got to the melting glacier and a little line of caterpillars, maybe 50. The path started to get steeper and we lost heart, ate our picnic and walked slowly down. Went to the museum looked at the early history of tourism. 150 years earlier, Englishman Edward Whymper determined to conquer the Matterhorn was at Briel Cervina in Italy and all the guides were hired by the Italian team determined to get there first. He rolled up his tent, crossed over to Zermatt through the Theodul pass, joined and took over leadership of two climbing parties and took them to the top ahead of the Italian Alpine club. He lost 4 out of 7 climbers on the way down, but when one measures his determination and exertion for that week of his life in the days before funiculars. He went up to the glacier the next day to help recover bodies. A 25 year old London woodcarver. Put Zermatt on the map for tourists and they haven’t looked back
We then went up the railway to Riffelberg, walked to Riffelsee and ate lunch looking at the amazing glacier then followed the path towards the Monta Mota Rose emailRosa Hut. We managed to see it just before the rain came. Three hours away on the other side of the glacier. An architectural award winning Larch and aluminium hut sleeping 120 and carbon neutral. Although I bet they didn’t factor in the helicopter flying the prefab pieces from the station where we got off. We followed the Mark Twain trail round to the capricious supermodel of a mountain that demandDSC02865s to be photographed at every opportunity. We were surprised by a low flying hang glider. I failed to get it and the Matterhorn in the same frame. The way down was long and hard. Our toes hurt from the long long downhills. The extra exercise we were getting here was taking its toll. Thursday we tried to take it easy and took the cable car to Furi again and walked round towards Zmutt with Gina. The rain came at the same time as Syann discovered that she had lost her coat so we retraced our steps to no avail. Walked down from Furi on the other side. Better path, more shrines and tourists.
Friday and Syann and I went up to Sunnega and walked down the rent-a-scooter trail a couple of tourists from Missouri let us try their scooters. Horrid. We had a good supper with all our left overs and cleaned the place ready for an early departure. Down to Tasch and on the road by 7.45.
Spent our last Swiss Francs on coffee, had breakfast in France. Stopped at Hypermarket for Champagne for Zan and Scotts wedding next month, got onto an earlier Chunnel train DSC02867and delivered Gina and Derek home at dusk.    DSC02873

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1 Comment

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One response to “Switzerland

  1. Colette

    Great read! Sounds like a wonderful experience! xx Colette

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