Okay, first of all let me just say I am on my third change of clothes for the day. It's been rather warm you could say. 92 degrees today, 91 degrees yesterday. And because it "never" gets this hot in Switzerland our apartment has no air conditioning (not even an electric fan). Does the phrase "sweat sleep" conjure up an image for you? Well, that's our reality for now and the next several days as the weather isn't supposed to break until Wednesday of next week.
In my initial enthusiasm for this apartment I neglected to mention a few things other than the lack of air conditioning. Such as the severe lack of storage for clothing. This only became an issue once our bags arrived yesterday afternoon. Then we tried to unpack and put the clothes away but there was no "away" to put them so now our clothes are all over the dining table and chairs and shoes are all over the bedroom floor and the place generally looks as if a bomb went off in here. Add to the lack of bedroom storage a lack of kitchen storage and you have food all over the kitchen surfaces as well. Not to mention that our refrigerator suffers from severe asthma -- wheezing and gasping every time the condenser goes on which with 90 plus degree temps is a regular occurrence. So perhaps I spoke too soon but I still like this place a lot. The view will likely be enough to sustain me for the two weeks that we are here.
Now on to other news. Today was the big day when Russell and I were to going hiking with Doris. Let me explain. In a temporary fit of insanity I hired a professional hiker to take us hiking for two days during our stay in Switzerland. I thought that she would insure a.) that we actually went hiking and b) that we would learn something from our hiking. Of course all this was before I found out how much she costs and by then I felt like I was in too deep to go back. Plus there is something about a big bill way out in the future that makes it seem like not such a big bill today.
Well today was the day when the bill came due. We met at the train station not far from our apartment at 8:45 and right away I liked her. She was an older woman (our age) with a fun and friendly personality. Together we drove to the funicular. The idea was that we were going to take the funicular to the top of Reichenbach Falls and then hike from there up to a historic hotel and if we were up to it to continue to a spectacular spot further up the mountain. The trail was to be relatively easy and well maintained.
So, the first part, the funicular, was fun. Reichenbach Falls is where Sherlock Holmes met his date with death after struggling with Moriarty they both fell into the falls. The view of the falls is quite spectacular but then it was time to start climbing. The first bit of our hike was steep with lots of steps. We took it easy but I thought we were doing pretty well. Sure I was out of breath a couple of times and rested maybe once possibly twice.
When we got to the end of leg one, Doris went off to check the bus schedule. I thought this was a little strange but whatever. Well, the next thing I know she is suggesting a "slight" change in plans. "Rather than walking up," she says "perhaps we will take the bus to the top and walk down from there." Well, now I am no idiot and this sounded pretty good to me -- ride up, walk down. Perfect. Russell took to the idea right away too and so next thing I know we are all on an air conditioned bus (for it came right away) driving by what would have been a pretty darn challenging walk.
When we got to the top, the first order of business was ... to get ourselves a little something to drink (strictly so that we could adjust to the altitude;) And then, we were off again only this time going down. Much better. But then Doris suggested we take this 45-minute trail to something Schlute (a gorge). We agreed and the next thing I know we are going up again. And up. And up. And there is no air conditioned bus that is going to save me this time! Not that I needed air conditioning because it was a narrow stone gorge filled with racing glacier water that was spritzing us (and making the walking a little treacherous). It was however scenic and I am glad we did it.
Obviously after that tough workout it was time for ... lunch. And there just happened to be a historic hotel where we stopped and enjoyed a lovely meal with a stunning view (wasn't cheap though-- food here in Switzerland is quite expensive).
After our lunch break, we hiked some more (down) through beautiful meadows absolutely filled with blooming wildflowers. It must have been the peak time for wildflowers and I don't think that you could have hand picked three more appreciative people to witness them than me, Russell and Doris. We really enjoyed ourselves and the view (looking back) was tremendous.
Unfortunately, I lost my footing on a portion of the trail that was overgrown with vegetation. I simply did not see the rock that was there and I fell and started to roll down the hill. Luckily I was able to stop myself. And once I managed to start lifting myself up what do I hear? "Wait, wait. Stay right there. Let me get a picture." And this from my loving husband. Its alright though because two minutes before I fell he had warned me to be careful and watch my step. The only damage? My bruised pride as well as a skinned shin.
By this time we were almost back to the spot were we had originally gotten the bus and now planned to take it back to town. Doris very kindly agreed to give us a day off tomorrow (we had originally scheduled her for two days in a row -- again, what was I thinking?) but now we've had another "slight" change in plans and we will be hiking up to her cabin in the mountains where we will meet her husband and we will all have lunch together. Now doesn't that sound a lot more civilized than excessive strain and ego-driven exertion? Ah, hiking with Russell and Stephen. It may not be what you expect but I can guarantee you won't go hungry!