28 August 2009

Wanderings - Switzerland

I've been to Switzerland, land of mountains, lakes, chocolate, cows, cable cars and more.

I went to my friend Eva and Barry's wedding at Cafe Merian in Basel at the apex of Switzerland, France and Germany. At the airport you have to chose whether you want to go through Swiss or French customs. The wedding was a similarly cosmopolitan affair - an Irish man marrying a Dutch girl in Switzerland - both having lived in Scotland prior to Switzerland. It was a beautiful day in a perfect location that matched the bride and groom perfectly.


Basel was a fun city - medieval buildings, a beautiful market, swimming in the Rhine and museums galore. 


Pity I only had a morning to explore - the day after the wedding I was off to visit my friends in Lausanne. Having been to Lausanne 2 or 3 times before we decided this time to take a trip to the mountains for some hiking and some scenery. We went to Munster in the Goms Valley for 2 nights, staying in a hotel that was built in 1620 - Le Croix D'Or et Poste, surrounded by high peaks, green green pastures, higgeldy piggeldy old wooden chalets, Valais style, built without nails...wood blackened by the years....


The first day we took the cable car from Fiesch to Fieschalp and hiked about for 6 hours, visiting the Aletsch Glacier, the longest glacier in Europe. After studying glaciation at university it was great to see a real glacier up close.....nothing can prepare you for the sheer size of the ice field carving it's way through the mountains or the blue blue blue of the ice. We had the prefect lunch spot, sitting next to a little lake overlooking both the mighty Aletsch Glacier and the slightly smaller Fiesch Glacier - we even had a group of hiking nuns to keep us happy - very Sound of Music!!



The next day was off, further up the Goms valley to Gletsch where 3 mountain passes meet - the Nufenen Pass, the Grimsel Pass and the Furka Pass and the start of the River Rhone, the Rhone Glacier. I wonder what will happen to the Rhone when the glacier contracts even further - it has already shrunk about 1300m since 1870 - check out the photos here. We then drove over the Grimsel Pass (having lunch at the top with yet more wonderful views) on our way back to Lausanne. I managed to persuade my hosts, that despite the mild (rather than hot) temperatures we should still go swim in Lake Geneva that evening - my first outdoor swim for 2 years - a little chilly on entry but so refreshing once in.....next the beach in Greece!

16 comments:

Heidi said...

Oh, two of my favorite places in Europe: Switzerland and Greece. My ancestors on my dad's side are Swiss. And my husband and I went to Greece on our honeymoon. I can't wait to go back. Have fun!

Windsting said...

I love the glaciers!

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Whaou !!! Nice tour !!!! and beautiful "souvenirs"

ibb said...

Nice trip! visiting friends, party, mountains, lakes...beautiful photos.

Handmade in Israel said...

Wow! What a great trip! Those glaciers look amazing!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh my gosh! What a fabulous trip! I can't believe the size of that glacier -- thank you so much for sharing your pictures!!!

Dorit said...

amazing!

montague said...

i haven't been to Switzerland in years... but your photos make me want to go back! glad you had a good time!

shisomama said...

wow, your life is filled with so much amazing travel. no wonder your friends host such cosmopolitan affairs! hope you're having a wonderful time!

heidi said...

what a great trip. thank you so much for sharing your travels with us...

life in yonder said...

Hey vacation girl! Sounds like you are having a blast. Good for you because fall is sneaking its way in and light is fading. Can't wait to see photos from Greece!

likeschocolate said...

The wedding looked amazing!

MODsquad said...

Wow! Amazing shots! That glacier! Would love to see and feel one in person!

jane said...

these are such awesome shots! thanks!

kim said...

i'm with heidi - two of my very favorite places - switzerland and greece - heaven! i lived in switzerland for 3 yrs and loved to go to the mountains, or sit at a cafe somewhere watching the avalanches and looking at the glaciers from a distance... your header is AMAZING!!!

Jen said...

Lovely! I actually have been to Basel...last year! Small world! yay!
Jen