Posted: April 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: deardiary | 5 Comments »

let me just set something straight, i don’t normally travel completely plan-less. normally i have a good month or two of research before i go somewhere, so even if i don’t have a reservation (although i do make them when i know for 100% certain i want to hit a particular spot) i have a good sense of what i’d like to do and what my options are.

this isn’t the case with this trip. for those that don’t know, i’ve been a bit busy at work for the past couple months, and this isn’t so much a vacation i’m on as a forced escape from work. i don’t want to burn out, so i needed to get away, simple as that. in the limited planning i had done Switzerland was not much more than a good location from which to get to france and italy, not a destination i had planned to explore thoroughly in and of itself.

so, imagine my surprise that i find myself visiting nothing but Switzerland for this trip. the reasons were simple, the route to Italy was through Switzerland, giving this country enough time to impress upon me that ‘hey, wait a second, what’s all this then?’. it’s an astoundingly beautiful country. also, the Canadian dollar is almost the same as a swiss franc in value, so it’s easier to gauge expenses (bloody expensive) while the euro is more than $1.60! one quick purchase later and i had an all Switzerland rail pass and no idea what to do with it.

this, of course, is all a lead up to explain how, at 1pm today, i ended up in Gimmelwald (wow, beautiful) at the mountain hostel, where, if you’ll peruse their website, you’ll see that they don’t open until the 18th of April. ahem

Petra, the owner, was around when i arrived and graciously offered me the run of the hostel, even to stay the night in the empty hostel should i wish. it was gorgeous, and until about 5pm it was my plan to do so. after hiking up to Müren, enjoying a late lunch and a cappucino i returned to the hostel ready to get some domestic chores done, shower/shave, wash clothes, catch up on my blogging/photo processing & organizing, etc. having showered, and started my laundry i then discovered that the internet was down. faced with a long boring night in an empty hostel on a coldd mountain (it’s warm during the day, but even down in luzern it was sweater weather at night) i’ve decided to leave while i still could, semi-damp clothes be damned.

now i’m on the train, after catching the second last gondola/bus/train combo out of gimmelwald, heading back to interlaken in search of a hostel. if all goes according to plan, i’ll be posting this while drinking a beer and eating dinner. *fingers crossed*

p.s. found a wonderful hostel in interlaken – the happy inn lodge.Only one room left, a single room all to myself (perfect for drying all the clothes that was still damp), will stay another night in the dorm. joining a group going to the highest trainstation in europe tomorrow (over 3000meters!), many pics to follow.

5 Comments on “flexibility”

  1. 1 canadianfoodiegirl said at 8:14 pm on April 14th, 2009:

    Seriously, that sounds awesome in the literal “full of awe” sense of the word, and fun!
    Don’t hurry back. Nobody’s messing with intra.net. (They’re still in the conspiracy stage.)

  2. 2 David said at 8:15 pm on April 14th, 2009:


  3. 3 bthompson said at 10:09 pm on April 14th, 2009:

    You are making great travel decisions _and your pictures are extraordinary. What fun and adventure! What’s with you and parallel lines in terms of photos – consistently good composition and framing on your part(tram track, téléphérique cables, etc.)? I covet the optics on your camera. There. I said it.

    Ah Switzerland – I seriously _just got an email from a pal with IBM Amsterdam and he wants to transfer to Switzerland “then I want to go to Switzerland. Fantastic country and great people too” he writes.

    Let me offer you a perspective about despoiling of mountains. You go up a mountain in CH and you might get a playground or a luxury ski resort (I speak from experience I worked in Champéry CH south and east of Geneva) on occasion. That’s what you get with 500 years of peace.

    GF and I do our share of mountain walking in FR and IT and it’s hard to get anywhere near a summit and not find WWI-era or later artillery emplacements, war materiel, barbed wire, the Maginot line blockhauses, alpine troop caves, etc. Where we climb in IT/CH border there are lots of WWI ‘Via ferrata’ scarring the mountains – these are steel cables and ladders bolted to the mountains to aid the troops in getting to the summit to defend against the enemy. Oh and crosses – there are lots of crosses on the summits. Lots of war graves too (seen any of _those in CH? Bet not)

    That’s what war gives mountains what I listed above and what you’re likely not seeing in CH.

    So give me playgrounds and ski resorts over gun emplacements and war graves any day. Crosses on summits I could go either way…(pardon the rather Cartesian pun there)

    You are a great traveler in terms of decision making I think and your blogs are articulate, funny, honest and clever. Talented photog too. Thank you.

    BTW: it’s fairly straightforward for a Canadian to get temporary and legal work in CH. I did. My boss did. Something to think about eh?

    BTW: Lausanne (and perhaps Venice) is probably the most spooky beautiful city I’ve ever visited if you have a chance going back to Geneva and you have a chance – I _think there’s a ferry from Lausanne to Geneva that stops in Evian les Bains in France.

    Let me offer on good authority that mountains do get jealous and at times vengeful. Monte Pilone (about 130 k east from Interlaken where you are right now) did her best to throw my GF and me off her east slope last year – and that just for _mentioning her taller sister mountain to the south, Monte Nava.

    Have you noticed all the hospitals in CH? Isn’t it amazing? They all have those cool white-on-red cross flags flying…they’re _everywhere.

    Can you get a picture of on of the many ‘nuclear bomb shelter this way’ signs in Geneva? (another artefact of 500 years of peace I suppose)

    BTW I recall a few watch sellers in Geneva if you’re looking to pick up one cheap.

    Ciao – b

  4. 4 dchartier said at 6:50 am on April 17th, 2009:

    @david: no apologies necessary, was a good little adventure.

    @brady: watches? i hadn’t noticed, i’ll keep my eyes open and if i spot any of those elusive swiss watch sellers i’ll let you know.

  5. 5 Linda B said at 2:17 pm on August 25th, 2009:

    First day reading your blog and I love it!
    Happy travelling. Great photos too!

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