St. Moritz to Home

Monday 1st October, 2007
Tuesday 2nd October, 2007
Wednesday, 3rd October, 2007

Monday 1st October, 2007

Drop Cap oday was another beauty! We left St. Moritz and headed up and down the Julier Pass towards Leichtenstein. On the way we passed through more snowy peaks and snowfields, some of which I noticed had little slotted hoofprints, probably from deer or chamois.

Drop Cap e passed what they call "Heidiland", the turnoff for Maienfeld, Heidi's village, and the alps behind it. There were at least 6 - 8 hot air balloons in the clear blue sky, possibly a race or a rally - really interesting.

Schloss Vaduz photograph

Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Drop Cap e stopped for a break in Vaduz, capital and only town in Liechtenstein. It is a clean and neat looking village, surrounded by mountains and dominated by the castle. It had a lot of important looking buildings (mostly branches of foreign banks and companies) and many souvenir shops.

Liechtenstein Rathaus photograph

Rathaus, Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Drop Cap e bought a postcard to send to Neil and another to give him if it doesn't arrive. We spoke to him on the phone and he says that none of the cards we sent him have arrived. Since they were sent from Denmark and Sweden I think they have had time, perhaps they are coming by slow boat via China!

I bought a badge for my hat (I am being very restrained this trip, only buying one for each country) and also paid two francs to have my passport stamped!

Motorway service garden photograph

Garden at Motorway Services, Switzerland

Drop Cap hen on again, across the Rhine river towards Lucerne. We stopped for an early lunch at a motorway services place, quite acceptable. They had a lovely garden which seemed quite unusual for that sort of place.

Cable car photograph

Small Cable Car on Pilatus

Drop Cap hen - towards Lucerne again and we stopped at Pilatus - one of the high peaks. To my horror we had to scale it first by four-seater dangling cable cars. Luckily only Mac and I were in ours so I could gibber without embarrassing myself.

Cable car photograph

Larger Cable Car, Pilatus

Drop Cap hen we got to the top of the cable (only half way up) we transferred to a larger car which held all the group, and swooped its way up over the rest of the mountain, the last swoop being a doozy (and I wasn't the only one who disliked it, even some of the men!) until we reached the top.

On top of Pilatus photograph

Us on top of Pilatus

Drop Cap he view, though a little hazy because of the warmth, was truly spectacular and worth the effort of getting there. We wandered over the site, and walked through what they called the Galleries, tunnels carved through the rock with panoramic views out of carved windows.

Group photograph

Most of the Group on Pilatus

Drop Cap ome of the group wanted a group photo so Elmar lined us all up and took photos with people's cameras, Mac took some with mine, so he is not in it.

Paragliders photograph

Paragliders Away!

Drop Cap fter a drink and a donut we watched some intrepid young people set up the paragliders they had backpacked up and then jump casually off the edge. Made me feel queasy just watching!

Cog railway photograph

Cog Railway Pilatus

Drop Cap hen we caught the little cog railway back down the mountain, thank God, because I don't mind them, at least I feel my feet are on the ground, but I couldn't have coped with the cable car down.

Drop Cap nto Lucerne to our hotel, seems quite well situated but is another one undergoing major renovation. Our room was in a wing which meant we had to get a lift to the reception, cross and go down a stair to the ground floor, then get another lift up to the restaurant for dinner and breakfast! Crazy.

Drop Cap t is very hot in Lucerne, surprisingly enough, and we walked to the railway station where we found a Western Union office where we changed what was left of our euros to Swiss Francs. Should do us.

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Tuesday 2nd October, 2007

Drop Cap nother glorious day in Lucerne for our last tour day. We set off after breakfast for an orientation tour of Lucerne which brought us up to the Lowenplatz, site of Lucerne's second most famous landmark.

Lucerne Lion photograph

Lucerne's Wonderful Dying Lion Sculpture

Drop Cap his is the wonderful and mournful sculpture of the Dying Lion which commemorates the great endurance, loyalty and deaths of the Swiss Guards (mercenaries) trying to protect Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. The sculpture is so sad, it is magnificently done, carved in heavy relief on a sandstone cliff with a lakelet in front. I thought Dawn, one of the younger members of the tour and a major animal lover, was going to break down in tears. It was quite moving.

Lion photograph

We Meet the Famous Lion, Lucerne

Lucerne Waterfront photograph

Lucerne Waterfront

Drop Cap e then sailed off on the optional private cruise of the lake. This was superb, it was a lovely day and, although cool out on deck, we had great views of the surrounding scenery , including all the mountains, with Pilatus so clear we could actually see the cable car going up and the depot on the top.

Lucerne boathouse photograph

Boathouse of Ritzy Villa, Lake Lucerne

Drop Cap arvellous. We saw a lot of million dollar housing, most of it only having the view of the lake to recommend it as far as we are concerned - 1960's blockhouse style. There were some older villas which were very nice though. We saw a statue of Christ blessing the Lake and a lot of other craft from large pleasure boats to rowing sculls and yachts.

Chapel Bridge photograph

Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) Lucerne

Drop Cap hen we returned, Mac and I wandered along the river bank from the Kapellbrucke to the Spreuerbrucke and through some of the Old Town with its wonderful painted buildings. The swans were out in force as were clouds of midges or flying insects of some kind near the water.

Spruerbrucke photograph

Dance Macabre Paintings on Spruerbrucke, Lucerne

Drop Cap e had a light lunch at an outdoor café near the Spreuerbrucke, pastries and coffee and a sausage roll to die for. You can't get them like that at home any more, the puff pastry has too much fat in it I suppose. But I like it!

We took some photos of the medieval paintings on the Spreuerbrucke, suitably horrifying for a Dance Macabre and wandered up to the first of the stone towers which are part of the old fortifications. The road by the river runs through the tower!

Painted building photograph

One of Many Painted Buildings in Old Lucerne

Drop Cap e walked back to the hotel via some more of the Old Town and its shopping areas (mostly souvenirs and watches) and crossed the Kapellbrucke towards the old Monastery and St. Peters Church. My feet were starting to hurt so it is a good thing we were not too far from the hotel.

Drop Cap e have our last expedition tonight, a Swiss Folklore show and Dinner. Then tomorrow we go our separate ways. It has been a generally enjoyable tour, only marred by bad weather on a couple of days. The scenery has been out of this world and the company generally good.

Drop Cap e foregathered at 2100 for the last optional, the Swiss Dinner and Folklore show at the Stadtkeller, an old place in the middle of the Old Town. We had fondue (with the recipe supplied on the menu) veal in cream and mushroom sauce with rosti and lots of yodelling and alpenhorns and accordions and cowbells. A fun night.

Drop Cap ne of our honeymooners, Lynton, played the alpenhorn when they got audience members up. He can play a didge, and says the alpenhorn is easier.

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Wednesday, 3rd October, 2007

Drop Cap oday we slept in a bit before doing the final pack and getting our shuttle transfer to Zurich. Traffic was light and we did it in an hour and a half.

A last farewell to the ten or so left (most took the early shuttle) and fond goodbyes to Elmar and Bernd accompanied by discreet envelopes. Elmar kissed me on both cheeks - hope he waited to open the envelope! We felt (or I did) like cheapskates but we made up the envelopes on a night when we were particularly annoyed by Elmar's war talk over gorgeous scenery. However, he did organise us well.

Drop Cap e caught the Park Inn Shuttle bus - a very colourful striped van in red, yellow, green and blue, and had a ten minute ride to the hotel. It seems to be owned by McDonalds as it is dominated by the Macca's in the reception area.

We gave in our voucher, organised by Annette, but consternation ensued as they could not find the reservation. We thought we might have to pay now and get a refund later from Annette. They were prepared to honour the voucher, though, which was good. However, they phoned the firm Annette had booked through and ascertained that Annette had done everything right, but the other firm had not put it through.

Hotel photograph

Shower in Park Inn Room, Zurich

Drop Cap nyway, we got our room. It is the most unusual hotel room we have been in this time, probably ever. It is all one room, with one flat wall which contains the bed. The bedhead is in Golden Arches style and the beds, although close together, are separate and have remote controlled bases, lifting the head and foot as required!

Hotel photograph

Bed in Park Inn Room, Zurich

Drop Cap he opposite wall is sponge painted deep red and is in an elegant curve like half a yin/yang symbol. The TV stand swivels to face wherever you are watching it from. The shower is a translucent green glass tube which opens from the bed area with a separate toilet room and a vanity opposite. It is most unusual but not unattractive.

Drop Cap e had Macca's for lunch, two Big Mac meals cost 21SF, twice as much as at home, but half as much as Norway!

Hotel photograph

Colourful Park Inn Room, Zurich

Drop Cap he major problem with this hotel is its remote location, there is nothing else there, no shops, no alternative eating places, so you are stuck there, really, if you don't have transport. I don't mind Big Macs occasionally but I wanted something decent for dinner and the only other offering was a so-called "buffet" in the bar area, which was really pathetic, undressed salad in one bowl, two very similar stew things and spatzli and that is all. It cost us 30 SF each and did not impress us at all.

Drop Cap owever, we have a shuttle booked for 0530 tomorrow and will be homeward bound. This journal ends here.

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