Swiss Heartland Untour - May 6 to June 4, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
It wasn't until 6:34am that I crawled out of bed. Seven minutes later Eleanor followed. At 7:02am the skies were crystal clear. The thermometer read 52 degrees Fahrenheit. At 7:55am we settled down for breakfast : a fresh fruit cup consisting of nectarine chunks, strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and 1/2 of a banana each. The strawberries were so ripe I didn't need to add any sugar. We made toast using slices of the fitnessbrot. For drinks we had orange juice and coffee lightened with Rahm Panna (25% fat content).
At 9:00am we cleaned up and prepared for the 4 minute train trip to Sarnen where we would turn around and walk back to Sachseln via the Aa-Weg and Seeweg paths running along the Sarner-Aa River and the Sarnersee. The temperature was up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit with blue skies prevailing. This was going to be a great day for a picnic. Into my backpack we placed a bottle of wine, acrylic travel wine glasses along with kitchen towels to use as a tablecloth. We also packed 2 nectarines, 1 oz. cheese each, and fitnessbrot. Two apple turnovers were protected in a clear plastic fruit container. Eleanor left for the train station first while I retrieved the wheelchair from the storage area at the base of the chalet. Eleanor decided to take a short cut through the Engel Hotel parking lot. That's where I caught up with her. A dog resting on the second floor stair landing at the hotel barked at us as we passed. We boarded the 9:45am train and stepped off in Sarnen 4 minutes later.
By 10:02am we were standing at Bahnhofplatz in Sarnen, looking at the map and trying to get our bearings.
A lady stopped to help us. She spoke only German. I pointed at the Aa-Weg on the map and probably said something like "Wir gehen hier" (We're going here). She pointed us in the right direction. We thanked her and were soon on our way down Bahnhofstrasse.
Two magpie birds walking in the grass caught our attention as we were passing a school track. Magpies are very territorial. They are also thieves, and will steal anything that is of interest.
At 10:20am we were standing on the pathway called Aa-weg. Eleanor sat down on a bench, and we admired the peaceful scene for about 5 minutes. There were a number of people walking or riding a bike on the path. I couldn't resist taking some photos and video.
Aa-Weg near Rutistrasse and Sportplatz Kantonsschule.
Pedestrian bridge near entrance to the Sarnersee
Along the way we spotted a Coot on a recently completed nest.
We stopped and enjoyed the view at Seefeld Park before picking out a bench for our picnic.
Local children were playing in an unusual playground. Some of the setups are designed to be educational, others are for climbing. I have no idea how that little girl got up the telephone pole,or how she was going to get back down. She seemed to have her sights set on making it all the way to the top.
At 11:27am we finally settled down for our picnic, which included cheese, nectarines, bread, red wine and apple turnovers. The local gang of small noisy birds almost created a riot fighting for some of the bread crumbs (see video).
Before continuing on the Seeweg path, we visited the WC. Not long after that we spotted a young couple with a cute little Chihuahua. That generated a conversation about the dog. Their dog is 6 years old. Eleanor showed them a photo of our dog, Rizzo. Finally the husband asked where we were from. When I said "New Jersey, U.S.A." he immediately asked "Oh! Do you know Bon Jovi?" Eleanor said "Yes, he lives near us in Sayreville." When we walked away, I said to Eleanor "Why did you say we know Bon Jovi? We've never met him." Eleanor's hearing is not good. She has to wear hearing aids, which are a help, but not perfect. She thought he had asked "Do you know where Bon Jovi lives." The couple probably went home and told everyone that they met some people who know Bon Jovi.
There is a area set up to accommodate campers. Many were out enjoying the beautiful day having a barbecue.
At 1:16pm we crossed over a river called Melchaa where the path follows the railway tracks and the Sarnersee shoreline.
At 1:21pm the scenery became even more pleasing. In the bright sun, the temperature had climbed to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Photo below: approaching Sachseln. 1:43pm
Arriving in Sachseln at 1:56pm
As we passed the Wetter-Station, the temperature had reached 21 degrees Centigrade (70 degrees Fahrenheit). There were 6 tour buses lined up on Bahnhofstrasse for the Bruder Klaus Museum. The time was 2:06pm.
By 2:17pm we were back in the Chalet. The thermometer outside our door read 76 degrees Fahrenheit. For some reason it seems a lot warmer in Switzerland than the actual temperature. It felt more like the mid 80's F. We opened both doors at either end of the hallway to create a cooling breeze through the chalet. According to my pedometer, we had traveled 4.42 miles from Sarnen to our chalet in Sachseln. We had a light snack of bread, cheese, beer (Eleanor), wine (Bill) and a half bar of Denner's hazelnut chocolate bar. I tried taking a little nap at 4:00pm while Eleanor washed some underwear and placed them on the drying rack. At 5:00pm we prepared for our walk to Albert's place for dinner. Our outside thermometer was now registering 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
We left the chalet at 5:30pm carrying gifts for Albert and Rosemarie : Merlot wine, Italian Rose wine and an impatiens flowering plant. For old times sake, we wanted to walk up Talacherweg to Chalet Berit, where we stayed in 2002 and 2004. You have a beautiful view of the town from there, as well as the surrounding countryside. We loved eating our meals out on the patio. On our first trip in 2002 we were eating a meal there on March 14th (see photo left). Berit opened her window and yelled to us "Are you enjoying your summer vacation?"
Talacherweg was steeper than we had remembered. Albert was waiting for us when we got to the top.
Joining us for dinner were the tenants in Chalet Berit: Vance Roy (top floor) as well as Everitt Fields and and his wife, Karen (middle floor where we had stayed in 2002 & 2004). Vance's wife, Barbara, was back in the States at the time. He is a retired brain surgeon. Everitt is a retired attorney from Texas. We found out that Everitt's grandfather was W.C. Fields. When Everitt was young, he had to make a career decision whether to become a lawyer or an entertainer. He settled on becoming a lawyer because it includes the best of both occupations. Left to right in the photo are : Vance, Eleanor, Albert, Rosemarie, Everitt and Karen.
Albert had told us we would be having alpenmacaronen. Alpenmacaronen is a traditional Swiss dish consisting of macaroni, cheese, bacon and potatoes among other things. All I know is that it is delicious. Earlier when Eleanor told the Untours onsite staff member, Angelique, that we were having alpenmacaronen at Albert's, Angelique said "Oh! That is what we are having at the Untours party." Later, Eleanor admitted that she couldn't understand how the restaurant could have gotten the recipe for Albert's specialty, Albertmacaronen. I explained to her that she had heard wrong. It is "alpenmacaronen" not "Albertmacaronen." When we arrived, Albert said that Rosemarie was making the meal. So now it can be called "Rosemariemacaronen."
Dessert was fresh strawberries with whipped cream.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. We left around 9:15pm, and were back in the chalet at 9:35pm. I went to bed at 10:20pm, followed by Eleanor at 10:30pm. We decided to walk the Aareschlucht Gorge the next day. The gorge is a narrow chasm, a mile long, that cuts through a limestone ridge. Some of the walkways hang on the side of cliffs. Down below flows the jade green Aare River.
Total distance walked that day: Bill - 6.77 miles, Eleanor - 3.96 miles
To be continued.......