Monday, July 21, 2008

Sils Maria

We spent a beautful day in Sils Maria, a small town near Vicosoprano. The Romansche language is spoken in this area, and it's the home of Fredrick Nitsche, the philosopher. Bikes, walkers, and horse-drawn carriages are found on the streets, along with the occasional small car. Fred and Alice treated the group to a horse-drawn carriage ride up a mountain path on this unforgettably perfect day. A recent storm produced snow on the mountains; a great contrast to the bright blue sky. We had lunch on a hill before the group split into two for our choice of walks.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thunder in Morcote

We've arrived in Morcote, on Lake Lugano in the Tocino region of Switzerland. We had heavy thunderstorms last night rumbling through, with rain this morning and the sun breaking through.

Our hotel overlooks the lake, with a view of Italy on the opposite shore. We'll probably board the morning boat back to Lugano to take in some museums or the marketplace today. We had the traditional Swiss breakfast of yogurt, meusli, breads, cheese, meats, juice and coffee with milk. Great way to start the day!

We're Off to Marcote Today

We had thunderstorms late yesterday and clouds and cooler weather today. We're off to Morcote, in the Italian section later this morning. We're expecting temps in the 90's and sunny weather during our stay.

Last night, we had a cheese and tomato fondue at the restaurant, and earlier that day, several of our group enjoyed crepes of all kinds (mushroom and cheese was the all time favorite!), and of course, at breakfast we have croissants... I'll try to upload pictures once we're in Morcote...

Friday, July 11, 2008

You Cannot Get Lost in Switzerland!

You will find these helpful signs wherever you walk on mountain trails in Switzerland. They often list the walking time that it takes to get to the next village.

A Fine Walk to Weisshorn

We are now in Grimentz, a beautiful little town in the French speaking section of Switzerland. Today, some of us took the funicular up to walk through the Path of the Planets, outside of St. Luc. It has been a beautiful walk, ending at the Weisshorn Hotel, at 7700 feet. We enjoyed cafe, tartes aux abricots and salade. Magnificante!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


After a long international flight, it is important to rehydrate yourself. Here are some examples of beverages that will do the trick. Most of them are various forms of water with abit of sugar and flavor, all for about 40-100 kcalories each.

The wine and beer are a different story. More on that later!

Why French Women (and Swiss women) Dont Get Fat

Here is a shot of a street near the train station in Winterthur. Bikes are lined up, usually unlocked by people taking the train to work. In Winterthur, most people either walk or bike, there were rarely any cars. Great way to stay in shape!

You will see my friend, Karen Fitton from Iowa, over toward the left. She and her husband Robert, were just finishing up a two week stay in Switzerland when our group arrived. From here, the three of us took the train to Zurich to check out a great chocolate store called Mercur. What a treat!!

Quiche Susse

Hungry? You will always find great food at street side bakeries. Here are some quiche susse, filled with either rhubarb, apple, peach or lingonberry. I saw (and sampled) these in Winterthur on Tuesday, when I was visiting friends from Decorah who were there, finishing up their tour of Switzerland.

lunch time in the Alps

We have just arrived in Kanderstad on a beautiful summer day. Most of the group chose this outdoor spot to relax after a morning train ride. It is just too pretty outside to be in on a computer, so I will make this short.

Monday, July 7, 2008

we have arrived in lenzburg

please pardon my poor typing skills on this swiss computer. we have all arrived in lenzburg and are resting up for the start of the tour tomorrow. the flight from chicago to zurich was great on swiss air, but our plane from mpls to chicago on united was delayed, sending fred and i at a running pace through ohare to catch the flight out. it is a free day tomorrow, and i hope to catch a train back towards zurich and meet up with friends from decorah who happen to be in winterthur. i will see if i can download a picture of a great little kebob stand that we hit when we stay in lenzburg. if the four of us who had lunch there look tired, well... we are in a major sleep deficit...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Wine Region, near Montreaux

Here's a view of Lake Geneva from a walk through the vineyards last September, looking towards Montreaux. Along the walk, there are numerous spots to sample local wines. This day trip includes a boat ride on Lake Geneva.

Size Matters in Switzerland!

Most cows in Switzerland will wear a bell while grazing in the Alps during the summer. This lady is probably a lead cow. Lead cows are assigned the largest and loudest bell. Other cows in the herd are kept together by the sound of these bells.

The Appenzell Region

This is a view from the Hotel Alpenblick, a Four Star hotel in Schwende, looking down towards the train tracks. Schwende is a quaint little village in the German section of Switzerland. A short jaunt over those incredible mountains in the background will take you to Austria.

A typical farmstead

This is a view of a typical farmstead in the Appenzell Region. Note that the barn is connected right to the house! The cows are in the Alps in the summer; then in the barn in the wintertime.

Let's GO!

I've been in touch with friends who are currently in Switzerland, and according to them, the weather's been hot and humid. Their 'fleece' never left the suitcase! Because of that, and since we'll be spending a fair amount of time in the southern, Italian section of the country, well... I'm packing light!
Besides what you see here, I'll be bringing a 22x16x10 rolling suitcase. I'll be wearing my boots onto the plane, so I don't need to carry them. In the daypack shown, I'll have a toothbrush, some 'wet ones', my iPod (with my French language lessons!), my passport and health insurance card. Also: eye drops, small bag of gorp (peanuts and raisins), two extra camera batteries in a separate ziplock, a small, good book (A House for Mr. Biswas), a business card to identify the daypack, just in case... and my camera. Since it's an overnight flight, I'll dress in strechy yoga pants, a T-shirt and will bring a fleece, some flip flops, eye covers and ear plugs. I've been pushing fluids to stay hydrated, and getting in some good nights' sleep!