1 January 2010
New Years Day was slated for a full day in Zurich. However, when we got downtown, it was more like a ghost town. Everything was closed (they even had posters everywhere stating it). It made me horribly depressed; it looked like it would have been a lot of fun to spend a day hanging around the shops. Herr attempted to cheer me up by walking around the lake, but it was such a dreary grey and windy day, we ended up back at the hotel two hours later.
So the first day of the new year, I spent watching movies on the tv and just relaxing. Herr left for a few hours to take photos of trains and visit the empty campus of ETH (where Einstein went to school), and later we went for another swim up in the pool (did I mention the views?). All in all, it was best for me to have a day of relaxing, and even though I was still sad about everything being closed, I felt a lot better.
2 January 2010
Herr really wanted to go to Konstanz, and I wanted to go to Rhine Falls, so our goal was to get them both in today. It took us a while to find Lake Konstanz, but when we did it was great. The sky had cleared up, and it was a true port area with port entries and docks with boats. We couldn’t find the catamaran that was still in service at first, but as soon as we sat down at a fantastic restaurant on the pier we spotted one coming in.
The restaurant had fantastic Mediterannean/Asian cuisine; I had a potato pear soup and Herr enjoyed a delicious Asain noodle dish (I helped him with it ). We hopped on the catamaran for a 50 minute trip to the other side of the lake where the Zeppelin Museum is. We walked inside a Hindenburg replica and saw other aircraft/blimp/car related Zeppelin things but just missed the trip back we were supposed to take to Konstanz.
We ended up stopping by an ice cream shop and having a fancy kiwi sundae as we waited for the next catamaran, but it was already getting too dark to go to the falls. We just headed back to the hotel and planned to see the falls the next day.
3 January 2010
Our last day in Switzerland, Herr had originally planned to drive three hours south to go up the mountain to Zermatt, where the Matterhorn is visible. The skies were bright and sunny, and at the last minute, instead of taking it easy and swinging by the falls, we turned around to the mountains. Unfortunately, the farther south we went, the cloudier it got.
Zig zagging through the mountains, the directions read to get on a train then continue driving for a few more miles. This really confused us until we came to an auto train, where you actually drive your car onto the train, and wait in the car as the train takes you by rail through a very long tunnel. That was an interesting and dark experience (the tunnel is not lighted).
We eventually found the base of the peak with another pseudo rack railway that could take us to Zermatt. Now, I should say, none of this was free; going up a mountain is horribly expensive. So I was pretty grumpy when we got on the train. Zermatt is an interesting town in that no personal vehicles exist. There are mini hotel vehicle things, but you really just walk everywhere. Even as far up in the mountains as we were, the Matterhorn disappeared into foggy clouds. We saw the base of the craggy peak, but not the entire mountain. It was a bit disheartening.
As we waited for the train to take us back down the mountain, we stopped for a bit of cheese fondue. It seemed fitting to have our last meal be cheesy. The drive back (thank goodness the auto train was still operating at 6 p.m. on a Sunday!) took about five hours. In hindsight, we really should have gone to the falls, or just one of the mountain peaks. We are planning a trip to Austria later this year and have agreed we’d take the long way home through Switzerland so I can see the falls, and maybe even the ice caves (or regular caves), the two things I really wanted to do in Switzerland.
I do feel much better having gotten a break, but I was pretty stressed out for other reasons because of it as well. It is now the most expensive trip we have made in Europe, and it is making me wary about taking another trip anytime soon. We’ll see though, because we are finding ourselves more and more busy with the local theatre. But the views in Switzerland are definitely to die for.