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!