Monday, February 16, 2009

We'll be trudging up the mountain...

Yes, last weekend I was in Switzerland. Magnus and I took off to visit my friend Jane (the Viol player) in Aarau where she lives on Saturday.

We flew into Zurich and had a few hours to kill before catching a train to Aarau. We did about half of the main tourist tour. Zurich is pretty cute for a biggish city. We went to a Pizzeria near Jane's for dinner. Yum.

Sunday, we left quite early in the morning, took 2 trains (picked up a friend) and a bus to the side of a mountain, had hot chocolate first (as one does) and took off. It didn't take long before we had to strap on the snow shoes. Have you ever worn snow shoes? Do you have any idea how heavy those things get after about 20 steps in 3 feet of snow?!? Do you?!? I thought not. Well, I didn't either. I just thought, when Jane suggested it, "How cool, I've always wanted to try that!" I did quite well until about hour 5, when my slow plodding became weary trudging. We still had an hour to go. I'm ashamed to say I let Jane carry my small backpack the rest of the way (she insisted!)and it was a huge weight off my back. And my feet, quite literally! OK, all complaining aside, we wandered through pristine snow and saw almost no one (although a group of about 15 Germans passed us coming the other way). We ended up at a little plateau with several mountain cottages that belongs to the Spelunking club that Jane is a member of. This was pretty rustic - it had only a gas fired space heater (which worked fine because there was only one small room) and gas lamps. No running water and a latrine next to another building 50 yards away through the snow. We made Fondue for dinner. It was heavenly. We slept in the unheated attic, which was basically open to the elements. Jane's boyfriend had joined us there in the evening and created a warm nest for us out of wool blankets and 4 or so sleeping bags. I had also brought along my arctic sleeping bag so I was toasty! Except for my nose. Magnus had to flip his head one way and then the other an hour later to warm up his ears periodically.

One mishap: Magnus lost both his cell phones, which were in his jacket pocket in a plastic bag. Ly went all the way the next morning and didn't find them. By the time the snow melts and someone picks them up they'll be ruined...

We had a leisurely breakfast, packed up, strapped on those damned snow-shoes and slid down the mountain. We caught a bus to Interlaken and another to the base of the mountain across from the famous Eiger, ??? and Jungfrau mountains. From there we took a "train" straight up the side of the mountain and then a ski lift (in a cabin) two stations to the top. There we rented sleds. We had a lot of fun sledding down the mountain. Unfortunately we only had time for two runs.

We took the last lift down and returned to Aarau. We had a nice dinner at Jane's with her boyfriend, Tino as well. Next morning we took the train to Zurich, where we only had about an hour and a half. We wanted to look around, but Jane told us about a Mexican shop close to the train station. They weren't open for another 20 minutes when we got there so we had a cup of coffee in a nearby cafe. We bought salsa, spices, corn flour (yellow and blue!), black beans, chorizo and jalapeno peppers. Mmmmh! We also wanted to buy some Swiss cheese so headed over to the Coop and bought three different kinds: Guyère, Brie, and Vacherin. Mmmmh!
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