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New Year, New Country

3 Jan

January 1

It is 20:48 and I am already tucked into my fedderbett.  I probably should take a statin drug after what I ate for dinner. At first nothing looked good on the Swiss menu. There were no good antipasti. Surely I would not order pasta here, and certainly not the pizza. Where are the grilled fresh vegetables? So we both went with Rösti and salad.  The former are a little like hashbrowns but worse for you, dripping with cheese. At least mine had sliced tomatoes on them.  Oh my God, get me back to Italy before I kill myself on this food! The wine is marginal, but the country is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the trains are lovely. We’ve been on four different types today coming from Rome to Lauterbrunnen. (Examples below.) Now to sleep as we only had 4 hours on New Year’s Eve.

EuroCity from Milan to Switzerland

EuroCity from Milan to Switzerland

Frecciarosso, top of the line Trenitalia

Frecciarosso, top of the line Trenitalia

Interlaken to Lauterbrunner

Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen

January 2

Cogwheel train to the mountains, filled with skiers

Cogwheel train to the mountains, filled with skiers

With precipitation in the forecast – rain in the valley and snow in the mountains – we decided to head up the Jungfrau side of the valley on the cute cog railway, joining throngs of skiers as well as hikers and those intent on sledding. First stop, Wengen, a resort town in sight of the Jungfrau. The day quickly became about transportation, always popular with Ric. The cog railway goes up very high, ferrying skiers to an array of lifts. They ski down a variety of runs, and in a complex network of lifts and railways, can return for additional runs via traditional ski lifts or rejoin the train for a warm ride to another starting point. We continued on to

Apfelkuchen for 2nd breakfast at Kleine Scheidigg. The apples are barely mortared together with cake. Yes, it was huge. Luckily it was for two.

Apfelkuchen for 2nd breakfast at Kleine Scheidigg. The apples are barely mortared together with cake. Yes, it was huge. Luckily it was for two.

Kleine Scheidigg and in a heavy snow storm there determined hiking down was not in the cards, so we took another train to Grindlewald, a larger ski resort. Luckily the pass we purchased covers all forms of lifts, gondolas and trains for three days as the tickets purchased one-at-a-time are quite pricey. Reversing, we came back to Wengen, the snow stopped, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and we caught a gondola to a magnificent viewpoint at Mannlichen. We rode so many transports we actually amortized the cost of the 3 day pass in one day. Ric was in heaven, and we managed to log over 8 kilometers on foot too.

At Mannlichen, 3 peaks, the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau

At Mannlichen, 3 peaks, the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau

For our flatland readers, sledding is nothing like when we grew up. When we were kids we hoped to find a little hill and take our sleds for a 30, 60, or 90 second ride, then slog back up and do it again until we were soaked through and had blue lips. (Of course as kids in the Upper Midwest, Ric and I also dealt with temperatures as low as -10 Fahrenheit or worse, which led to blue lips pretty damn fast.)  Here, they groom the runs for walking and sledding.  You take a train or a lift to the start of the trail and can sled for several kilometers on

Ric in the snowfield at Mannlichen. Yes, it was cold!

Ric in the snowfield at Mannlichen. Yes, it was cold!

snow packed for your pleasure. And the temp hovered around 28-30 Fahrenheit, practically spring in Minnesota. Then take a lift or train back up and do it again!

People warned us it was expensive here. They were right on some things. For example, a bottle of water that is CHF 2.20 in the valley where we are staying is Euro 1.80, or $2.44. Up on the mountain, that same bottle of water is CHF 5.50!  But everything has to be carted in on the train, increasing costs considerably. I shudder to think the cost of bringing fresh vegetables in. Dinner was on par with prices in Rome, although the wine cost more and was of lower quality. We are spoiled at wine quality and price in Italy: It’s a basic human right to have good wine at a reasonable price in Italy.

I miss hearing and speaking Italian. I never know what will come out of my mouth now. Buongiorno gets a funny look, as does grazie, but guten morgan sounds strange from my lips. Funny, though, I remember my numbers in German although I haven’t spoken it in 40 years. We sat next to four Italian young people on the train this afternoon and I really enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversation. The most priceless statement from one young man, probably 20-22 years old: “I hate the telephone. I never call anyone on my cell phone, except my mamma.” Bravo!

Tomorrow we will attempt a hike on the other side of the valley, magari

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12 Responses to “New Year, New Country”

  1. Elle August 27, 2014 at 18:17 #

    Hi, May i know what pass you bought that covers all the rides? been trying to figure out what pass is available for winter season because those that i saw is only valid for summer season, Thanks!

    Like

    • gooddayrome August 27, 2014 at 20:01 #

      Hi Elle.
      I am not sure…. We went to the Tourist Info office and they recommended one that covered only the Lauterbrunnen Vally. It was not cheap, but it did cover everything plus 1/2 price on the Schilthorn. As luck would have it, we are going to the area again tomorrow! I will try to gather more info on passes.

      Like

  2. Anita HIlmoe January 5, 2014 at 06:52 #

    It sure is beautiful there! It’s fun seeing the different types of trains also. Happy New Year! 🙂

    Like

    • gooddayrome January 5, 2014 at 17:47 #

      Ric is in heaven with the trains. In two weeks we go again, on a shorter weekend trip, but I am thinking of taking him to Torino for his birthday, just because it is a nice long train ride. HNY to you and Scott!

      Like

  3. Kim January 4, 2014 at 16:29 #

    Happy and healthy new year to you both!!

    Like

  4. Gina January 4, 2014 at 12:08 #

    Happy New Year to you and Ric! Thanks for bringing back fond memories of beautiful Switzerland (way back when, we visited Lucerne and Bern) and sharing photos of your experiences. It has been fun living vicariously through you!

    Like

    • gooddayrome January 5, 2014 at 17:46 #

      I forgot you had been here! It is truly beautiful, but I miss Italy!

      Like

  5. Janet Tabbal January 3, 2014 at 20:50 #

    Love your posts, Laurel! The trains are so romantic! Living your trip with you! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  6. Will McAllister January 3, 2014 at 18:25 #

    Gracia and I spent 4 summer days in Lauterbrunnen 20+ years ago – it was expensive then too! I remember taking the train up to Kleine Scheidigg and then walking back down, passing through Wengen. I remember it as a beautiful walk.

    Like

    • gooddayrome January 3, 2014 at 18:58 #

      Maybe we will get to do that one tomorrow! There’s been a closure from K-S to Mannlichen for two days, but I think Wengen is open. Hopefully I’ll get the January 3 posting done tomorrow, Jan 4. 🙂 Cheers!

      *Laurel L. Barton* *Roma, Italia* http://www.GoodDayRome.com

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