We had a direct flight from Montreal to Zurich. The gate was in a part of the Montreal airport which I have never seen and which reminded me of an old school. It looked as if it was built in the 60’s or 70’s and never updated.
(Bitchy rant #1)
Coach class was being handled by several very tall, very dramatic “women” with over the top hairstyles and man hands. I found this very interesting and intriguing until we encountered some somewhat violent turbulence during the flight. The “stewardesses” then yelled over the intercom in quavering falsetto for everyone to return to their seats immediately. I thought the idea was to CALM the masses during a flight. The plane was squeaking and rocking and yet there was no one to soothe us with the speech that tells everyone “we are just experiencing some turbulence” and not to worry. The lack of this one deed caused people on the plane to scream during the next dip. They screamed! Any kind of screaming from adults during a flight causes a certain amount of panic….even in the very calm. KUDOS to SwissAir for equal opportunity employment…..but for Christ’s sake can you train your employees to tone down the DRAMA just a few decibels????
We arrived in Zurich on the 30th of March. We had a reservation at the Hotel Otter which turned out to be a “raver” hotel. Zurich is touted as being the new Berlin soo………there was a party till all hours at the Wuste bar downstairs. Incidentally we had jet lag and woke up starving at 1am with no food or hope for any food till morning.. so it didn’t really matter anyway. All the rooms at this hotel had a theme and we were in the Pur Pur room. It was all in pink satin. Quite a sight. The included breakfast was amazing though. they made us up little plates of food….3 different cheeses and croissant, French bread and rolls covered in pumpkin seeds, 2 different types of jam, coffee and orange juice. Delicious!
we visited the Zurich Zoo during our short stay….I’m not usually a fan of Zoos as I fell that the animals never truly have enough room and often inadequate environments, but the Lonely Planet guide assured me that the zoo was roomy. All in all it wasn’t bad…however the camel and the rhino seemed particularly pissed.
We also ran across a crazy bird that was singing in the Zurich streets long after dark.
Tiger in the midst of eating the remains of an American tourist
Little Leopard in a hollow tree
2. Bern (Mittelhausern) with Mark and Susanna Riese and Vita and Johannes
We were then off to stay with some friends that Chris had met and been roommates with during his 5 years in Switzerland. We enjoyed a terrific fondue (my first true Swiss fondue) and hung out with Johannes and Vita. The company and food were both amazing (Mark and Susanna are vegetarian yipppppppppppppeeeeeeeeeee) and we really enjoyed the community where they live. Such a quaint little train station and community with a great view of the mountains. We went on a little hike out behind their house. It really made me want to move there! Johannes is really into pirates and knights and he and his friend Andrew had Piratenfests out in the back yard toting wooden swords and drinking water as if it were rum!
The Riese Family…Bern
In the gardens of the PDC..Bern
silhouette at the top of the hill in Mittelhausern
3. St. Imier valley with Pierre and Giselle Vorpe
This turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip. Not only because Pierre and Giselle were so nice…but also because the area was so beautiful. Giselle was also a wonderful cook and hostess and we had some terrific food as well as a raclette…which was my first. Pierre is an engineer and we all really had some terrific conversations.
The Inner Cloister at the St. Ursanne monastery
Giselle and I at St. Ursanne
Cris, Giselle and Pierre
4. Mürren (Gimmelwald and Lauterbrunnen)
Although Murren has some of the best landscapes in Switzerland..it was my least favorite place that we visited on the trip. Partially because I didn’t like our room at the Eiger Guesthouse, and partially because the weather did not cooperate during our stay. The first day was absolutely beautiful…but then we had rain on the 2nd day and lots of snow (20cm) on the 3rd and 4th days. We walked around 15k on the second day but couldn’t traverse some of the trails due to mud slides and such. We walked down to Gimmelwald and then took the Funi back to Murren. After lunch we made our way to Lauterbrunen which was a very nice little town. A redeeming quality about our stay at the EG was that the food was really great. The price of the room included breakfast and dinner which were skillfully and deliciously prepared…and they accommodated my vegetariansm which was great. The rooms and the bathroom were just not clean by Swiss standards and the place itself seemed to be in some need of repair.
Eiger(elevation 3970 m = 13025 ft), Mönch(4099 m = 13448 ft) and Jungfrau(4158 m = 13642 ft)
Picture of the snowy tain station from our room window
Lovely waterfall taken from Lauterbrunen
Still to come!
6. Annecy, France with Pierre and Fabienne Castori and children
7. Lausanne (Ouchy, Montreux, Chillion)