Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


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Zurich

9/18/17

On our last day in Switzerland we were planning to go to the top of Pilatus but it was totally socked-in with clouds. There was no point since there would be no views to see. Luckily we had the views from our hike on the 17th.

So we changed our plans and after drinking delicious Italian hot chocolate and eating our croissant for breakfast, we boarded the train to Zurich.

More traffic and people everywhere. We took our luggage to the Lion Lodge and went out to explore the old part of Zurich. I was sure missing the hikes in nature but I did take photos of the buildings and fountains. What a change. Zurich is a lovely city, but it is not the mountains and country. It was transitioning back to city life.

We were not able to take photos inside the church.  There were beautiful stained glass windows and a window made out of thin pieces of Agate  The door to the church was beautiful.

One of my favorite places was to walk along the river.

Taking photos through the trees is always fun.

We crossed over the river and looked back to the other side.

The top of one of the buildings has a deer sculpture on the top.

After our walk we took the train to Bulach because Shirley great grandparents were married there in 1857. We found our way to the Rathaus because we were told that she would find the information there.

The people there sent us to the Zivilstandsamt where they store the records. The woman was very, very nice but explained that her records only go back to 1879. She told Shirley that she would have to get the records from the office in Zurich but they were closed on Monday. But now Shirley knows where to write for the records. She asked about how old the church was and she is pretty sure that it is where her great grandparents got married.  I hope she can get the records when she writes to them.  I sure wish that I could get records for my ancestors but they were all destroyed in Russia.

That was the end of our trip to Switzerland.

Our flight to Amsterdam and then Portland was at 7:00 am so we had to be at the airport at 5:00. Shirley ordered a Uber car because the trains didn’t start running until after 5;00.   The airport was practically empty when we arrived. I am so happy that I was able to sleep through most of our flights home.

Our wonderful vacation in Switzerland has come to an end. I am so privileged to have been able to travel in Switzerland for the past four weeks. This has been an incredibly beautiful trip. I am so thankful for so many aspects of this trip.  We are truly blessed.


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September 17th

I am going back to last Tuesday because of an event that happened that day. Shirley and I were walking through Mürren when we heard a very loud boom. It sounded like an avalanche and Shirley actually grabbed onto my arm. We didn’t know what happened. We talked with some people yesterday and discovered that a Swill army pilot flying a PC-7 had crashed into the Schreckhorn mountain in pretty close to where we were.   No wonder the sound was so loud. A guy we were talking with told us that this is not too uncommon. Tragic.

We were lucky this morning to have no rain so we headed to the dock to take the boat to Vitznau so we could go up to Mount Rigi   We stopped for hot chocolate and a croissant before heading to the dock I took a couple of photos before the boat arrived.

We took tourist photos on the boat with the Swiss Flag.

I took several photos from the boat. At first Pilatus was in full view but the clouds soon started to cover it.

We arrived in Vitznau…

… and saw them getting a steam engine ready.

Then we boarded the train to Rigi Kulm which is at 1748 meters. I loved our train car because I was able to stand up by the window. I think it was the one for luggage. I took several photos from the train.

I could see the train going down passing us.

We could see the clouds moving in more and more.

We could see the lakes below us.

Then we arrived at the top and walked higher for a better view of the lakes.

I always like taking photos of the churches at the top of the mountains.

Then we headed down to Rigi Klosterli which is at 1316 meters.

These flowers were in the pots at the Restaurant at Klosterli

We had delicious Rosti with fresh tomatoies for lunch.

We met a man named Christain Selle who wanted to take photos of us. He is planning to post them on his website. I think he is a guide.

So I asked Shirley to take a photo of Christian and me.

We asked the waiter and the owner of the restaurant to give us some advice about the next trail we wanted to take. We were planning on walking down to Hintrebergen. They seemed a bit concerned so we showed them the photos of us walking up to Kinhutte. They were pretty amazed and gave us directions about how to find the trail.

On the way down we came pretty close to a cow and Shirley communed with the cow for a few minutes.

She actually got close enough for the cow to smell her hand but I missed that photo.

I have been seeing these purple flowers that are pretty well spent and took a photo.

We could see the rain moving in over the lake…

… and took more photos of the lake.

Shirley took a photo of me.

After walking for a while and going up hill a bit, we found the right trail. One of the trails seemed like a cow trail.

Finally we saw a hand done sign to Hinterergen. We think a farmer put it there so people would stay off his property.

Finally we reached the gondola at Hinterbergen at 1130 meters.

It was really steep.

We took boat form Vitznau back to Luzern. There were a group of mostly young people on the boat and they were drinking a lot. We think they had ridden the boat all the way around and were just returning to Luzern. We noticed a small group of them putting scarves on their head and Shirley realized that they were tapping on the window and basically harassing a Muslim woman. We both spoke up and told them that they were not being funny and it was cruel. They pretty much stopped. How sad to see this.

We stopped on the way home to see the Lion sculpture. This year marks the 225 year anniversary of the when the storming of the Tuileries in Paris on August 1792 was thought to have taken place. At this event the guards of the French King Louis XVI (approximately 200 Swill Guards) lost their lives. These guards, who had been mercenary soldiers for 2 centuries, tried to defend the King’s Palace against a crowd of several thousand furious citizens. 29 years later the Lion Monument was built in Luzern to commemorate this event. It is amazing that this sculpture was created 1831. The 200 year anniversary of the lion Monument will be celebrated in 2021.  What a sad event.

We went out for Indian food at a restaurant next to our hostel.

Hoping for good weather in the morning so we can go to Pilatus before leaving for Zurich.


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September 16th

We took the trains to Luzern today. I took a couple of photos of the views (especially Lakes).  This is the only lake for which I remember the name.  It is Lugerernsee near Lugern.  That is a different place than Luzern.

We found our way to  the  Lion Hostel and put our suitcases in the room with the help of the young girls at the desk. Then we took a walk around Luzern today and took a few of photos around town. I am so overwhelmed with the traffic and being in a city.  I sure miss the mountains.

We walked on both the oldest wooden bridge in Luzern and on the chapel bridge.

Here is Shirley with Chapel Bridge in the background.

We also walked along the city wall.

This is the oldest wooden bridge in Luzern.

We took a couple of photos of the Lake Luzern which is also called Vierwaldstattersee.

The weather really started to get cloudy so just checked out where the dock is for boat we want to board to Rigi tomorrow morning and then went out to eat at Rothaus.  There was no inside seating because of a party so we sat outside and had a delicious chicken dinner and salad. It started to absolutely pour so we were lucky that we were undercover during dinner.

We just relaxed at the hostel tonight while it rained outside but are a but cold because the heat which is suppose to come on at 10 C is not on and it is 9 C. as I post this journal.  Hoping for decent weather in the morning.

 


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September 15th

We found out that they were going to bring cows down from the mountains to Lauterbrunnen today so we took the train and tram down this morning. We got there at 9:30 so we had time to walk to Staubbach Waterfall.

I took a photo before we walked up to the falls.

We were able to walk behind the waterfall and I took photos from the side.

I took a photo of the cemetery below us as we were walking back down.  The flowers at almost every grave were beautiful.

Shirley took a photo of the waterfall after we walked down.  The clouds had started to move form.

Then we walked back to town. The cows were suppose to come down at about 11:00 but we found out that they had not even left the top before 11:00. I waited with some other people right where they were suppose to come onto the main street.

This is one of my favorite cows from today.

I had so much fun seeing them and had to run along with them until they were put into the pasture right near Staubbach Waterfall. I put most of the other photos into collages.

Here are 3 of the young people who helped bring down the cows.

I talked with the people who brought the cows down for a bit. Some of them were putting something on the back of their hand and what seemed like smelling it. I thought it was something sweet smelling so I asked them what it was. They asked it I would like to try it. So I did. It turns out it was just some kind of Apricot Snuff which they callled, “Schnupftabak. Here I am trying it.

I had so much fun this morning. We were lucky to be here when they were having this event because we had heard that it usually doesn’t happen this early in September.

I also took a couple of videos of the cows.

After the parade of cows Shirley and I took a bus to Stechelberg so we could hike up and get closer to Schmadribach which is a waterfall we had seen a couple days ago from a distance.

We saw many hang gliders today. I just love these 5 together close to the cliff.

These are the photos taken on our hike. The river we were walking along was another of the Lüutchine Rivers I wrote about a few days ago. This one is named after the Schmadribach. Apparently there are 5 of them. I love these rivers.

 

We had Raclette for lunch.  It was served with curried pumpkin pieces that were absolutely delicious.

 

We tried to hike high enough to see the whole Schmadribach but did not have enough time.  Besides we were pretty tired from going uphill the whole afternoon.  So this is still just the top of it.

 

We are really going to miss this area of Switzerland. Before we left Portland, many people wondered why we were planning to spend 9 days in the same area. We barely touched the surface of all the wonderful hiking around here. I absolutely love Murren and our wonderful view of the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Mönch from our room at the Eiger Guest House.

It is hard to believe that we really only have 3 more days in Switzerland.


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September 14

Today we woke up to a kind of sunrise out of our window. I could see the grey clouds moving behind the mountains.

We had a long trip to get to Schynige Platte today so off we went after breakfast. We took the train to Grutschalp and the cable car to Lauterbrunnen. Then we transferred to a train to Wilderswil. The weather was warmer than I thought it was going to be so I was already taking layers off.

Here is some information I read about the Historic Schynige Platte Railway when we were waiting for our train.

  • Operating since 1893 first as a steam locomotive
  • Operation was converted to electricity in 1914
  • No significan chages have been made to the tracks or rail cars in over 100 years.
  • The cogwheel climbs 1400 meters at a maximum speed of 10 km /hr.

Here is the guy who was manually switching the tracks so the train could back-up and we could get onto the train.

We could see down to Interlaken and both lakes with the town in the middle from the cogwheel. I was able to get one photo of Lake Thun.

Our plan was to do the Loucherhorn Panoramic Trail (6.3 km ascending 350 km and descending back to the cogwheel train. Much to our surprise it was not only pouring rain when we arrived at the top but the rain was going sideways. We put on our pack covers and walked to the restaurant for hot chocolate. It was already noon.  A couple of men played alphorns for  short time.  They were not very good.

At first we wished we had left earlier from Murren. Then I met some people who had arrived at about 11:00 and had started out on a .hike. The views were beautiful when they arrived. Then the wind started to blow; the clouds moved in quickly; and they were caught in the downpour.

The weather forecast said it wasn’t going to clear until about 5:00, so we decided to return to Murren. Everything was socked in when we arrived. Here is Shirley in waiting in Wilderswil for the train back to Lauterbrunnen to arrive for our return trip. The wind was not as strong but the rain was coming down.

I am typing this at about 4:30 and the clouds have lifted enough for us to see the mountain again. Go figure.

 

Well having our plans spoiled on one day out of 22 because of weather is not bad.

The weather became clearer and clearer.  We put on our bathing suits and walked over to the Alpine Sports Center.  We had a discount card from the Eiger Guesthouse.  You could swim in the indoor pool and use the indoor hot tub for free but I wanted to do the saunas and outdoor hot tub.  So I paid the 30 CHF.  It was absolutely delightful and I spent over a couple of hours relaxing.  In addition to the outdoor hot tub, there were 2 different steam rooms, a sauna, a quiet relaxing room, and foot soaking tub and I spent time in them all.  Nobody else was in the hot tub with me.  What a enjoyable joy soaking in this beautiful tub with the Jungfrau and other mountains reflecting in the water.

We split a pizza for dinner in the restaurant of the Eiger Guest House.  We found out it was built in 1890.  We sure are enjoying our time here.  Everybody is just wonderful to us.  This day ended quite well.


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September 13th

Today we decided to Allmendhubel. We walked through town to find the trail.

A bit out of town I saw this building with wood stored for the winter. I wondered how they got it all up there.

We also passed this wood stored under a rock. I thought that was interesting.

We were dressed for rain but hadn’t put on our pack covers.   As we got a bit higher up the hills, we could look back at Murren. The weather was warmer than we expected and we had to take off layers.

It wasn’t too easy to find the Northface Trail that we planned to take but we persevered.

There was a man working on something outside this old house. We had to stop there to put our backpack covers onto our packs because it had started to rain.   I asked the man if I could take his photo. He told us that he was a tourist just like us from Germany. Then he said that he was only renting the house for the past 30 years.

It rained on and off sometimes harder than others. But it created a muddy trail.

I loved the rock just up at the end of this part of the trail so I took a photo of Shirley.

Parts of the trail were pretty good. Here is Shirley ahead of me.

It didn’t rain all of the time and once I a while the mountains came into view.

The cows were still serenading us a bit. Listening to the creek beds as we passed by them was wonderful.

All in all, the hike was enjoyable in spite of the occasional rain falls. We talked with some of the people that were coming the other way. Some of them were out on the trails in gym shoes and blue jeans. They were certainly not prepared as hikers.

We passed Spielbedenalp but were not ready for lunch. It had been only about 140 meters elevation gain.

By about 1:30ish we had almost reached Spielbedenalp which was our goal for lunch. Our elevation gain was only about 560 feet.

 

We were pretty hungry by then and Shirley’s pumpkin soup and my goulash tasted pretty good. Shirley also ordered a piece of delicious chocolate pie. Spielbedenalp also has a few rooms for people to sleep.

I loved the view of the valley below as we continued hiking a bit uphill.

 

We continued to hike up to Allmendhubel to take the flower walk. But we are not in the right season to view many flowers so we just checked out the posters of flowers. I did take a photo of this “Spent” flower because I have been toooking at them for days. I think they are pretty.

It was great to see the mountians come into view.

The weather had pretty much cleared. I love this rock face.

I can’t seem to get enough of the glacier view. It is the one we see from our room, but this was a different angle.

Blue sky behind the mountains is always a treat to see.

The trail was now a pretty open gravel path. We came to a different unmarked trail and I thought it would be more fun to take it. The beginning of it was pretty slippery and steep. I think we were walking on a cow trail.

We made it down to the Blumental Panorama Trail. What a treat. The views of the mountains was breathtaking. We took photos of each other.

Just before we reached Murren we noticed a cool waterfall off in the distance. My zoom lens came in handy to check it out.

It turned out to be another day of very enjoyable hiking.

Tonight we decided to treat ourselves and eat dinner at the Eoger Hotel Restaurant. We had made our reservation last night so we had a window seat. I know these photos of us are pretty dark, but it is the mountains in the background that are important.

What a treat to have such delicious salad and lamb dinners and look out the window at the same time.

We are having such a wonderful time in Murren.


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September 12

Today is an prime example of what a cloudy day with rain in the forecast can provide to 2 travelers who are determined to have a fabulous time.

Shirley and I got dressed for rain although the forecast said that it would not really rain until 2:00, Although we could could not see the tops of the mountains, we headed off through Mürren and took a photo of two cute statues.

 

 

At the end of town we found the trail to Gimmelwald. The first part of the hike was on a asphalt but very pleasant.

I still love looking at the valley with the clouds hanging low.

The rock faces on the lower mountains were beautiful – especially with the snow dusting on them.

Shirley with her eagle eyes looked down into the field below and saw what we thought were a different breed of deer. It wasn’t until we saw more ibex back in Mürren near the Bahn and examined our photos from earlier that we realized we had seen more ibex.

We walked by some information boards. The first one was about avalanch guards. Then we passed on about Ogi-Bocke – Ogi mountings which I found interesting because I hadn’t seen them before.   These Three-leg Mountings are:

  • Snow slide barriers
  • Efficient in the starting area of avalanches
  • Limited lifetime since they are build from wood

They plant young trees around them so they are only used where forests can grow. They help with the growth of the young trees and after 20-30 years, the trees take over the function of the barrier. The full grown trees are, of course, the best barriers.

Here is a photo from the poster of what they look like in the winter.

These are the ones we saw today.

When we arrived at the outskirts of Gimmelwald, we passed the Honesty Shop. Of course I had to buy something so I found 3 tiny bamboo spoons.

We didn’t actually walk into Gimmelwald because the trail to Stechelberg was right there and that was just where we were headed. It was a downhill trail that we may have considered difficult before all of our other hikes but was actually quite easy for us.

There aren’t many flowers in September, but I noticed this beautiful one.

Walking through the valley floor was so peaceful.. The waterfalls were frequent and beautiful. I loved this double one.

We have seen so many of these water troughs in front of houses in several towns. They each have a faucets with running water. I found out that the water from the faucets is all drinkable.

Here is Shirley coming through the beautiful forest trail.

Shirley took a photo of me near a beautiful rock wall with moss on it.

We passed this sign that had 2 ways to Stechelberg.

We decided to take the 25 minute route. Shirley said, The 40 minute one is probably easier, but when did we ever choose the easier route?”

This beautiful waterfall that just seemed to be coming right out of the cliff.

I love the red rock in this close-up of it.

We kept passing waterfalls. Shirley told me that there are 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

The tree trunk growing over the rocks was spectacular.

We arrived at Stechelberg and stopped for lunch at the Hotel Stechelberg Restaurant. While we were eating lunch I read this sentence in a brochure: “The sound of waterfalls is like music playing amidst the surrounding snow-capped peaks.” Although we weren’t seeing the snow-capped peaks, that describes my feelings today perfectly.

The Weisse Lüutchine flows right through Stechelberg.  I remember the name from the story about the 2 rivers. I so love these beautiful flowing rivers.

Just another view of the Weisse Lüutchine

We pased so many examples of the wood storage containers.

Wha an interesting place to grow tomatoes..

We could see across the valley to Wengen up on the hill..

Well, we had dressed for rain and it didn’t disappoint us. We could see it in the distance and we walked right into it.

We reached Trümmelbch Waterfalls. How can I ever find the words to describe this place. Trümmelbch Waterfalls is by far one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. There are 10 glacial waterfalls draining together within a mountain cavern. Trümmelbch alone drains the mighty glacier defiles of the Eiger (3970 M), Monch (4000 m), and Jungfrau (3158 m) with up to a 20,000 liters of water per second. These waterfalls carry 20,200 tons of boulder detritus per year. It’s drainage area is 24 km squared. It is the only glacier-waterfalls in Europe inside a mountain and still accessible. It is truly hard to believe that they built an elevator (which goes part way up), steps, and walkways right inside a mountain so we can view this incredible place. These photos just can’t do justice to what we experienced today.

Shirley and I took photos of each other.

I hope these couple of videos helps to hear the power of these waterfalls.

Video A

After this incredible experience, we still had a 45 minute walk to Lauterbrunnen. We passed this man feeding a calf that must have lost its mother.

The color of the grass in the valley was so green…

…and still another waterfall to view.

The rock faces on the way home were so beautiful.

We took the tram and train back up to Murren. Much to our surprixe, there was a small group of ibex eating grass in the field below the Bahn Hoff Shirley read someplace that it was illegal to shoot any animal near a gondola, tram, or train.  This was the moment we realized that we had seen ibex – not deer – earlier in the day.

To top off our fabulous day, the clouds had lifeted and the views from the widow in our room were spectacular. Of course I had to use the camera to zoom in on them.

This will certainly be a day never to be forgotten.