Swiss Heartland Untour - May 6 to June 4, 2014
Monday, May 12, 2014
I was up at 6:00am. Eleanor followed at 6:15am. A look outside our front door revealed overcast skies except for a ray of sunshine lighting up the hills across the Sarnersee. The temperature on our thermometer showed 53 degrees Fahrenheit. The forecast for Zurich indicated a predicted high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit with a couple of light rain showers. We decided to spend the day in Zurich.
Breakfast was the usual: 1/2 cantaloupe each, 1/2 banana each, 1/2 oz. of Appenzeller cheese, orange juice, coffee and 1/2 yogurt each. In addition Eleanor had a mandelstengel. There is no record of what pastry I had. However, I did make it to Sunni Bakery for the first time that morning and returned with 4 pastries, two of which were the only apple strudels they had. The strudels were bigger than Cafe zum Stein and cheaper. So I probably ate one of the strudels.
Prior to our trip I had printed various train itineraries off the SBB online timetable for trips to Zurich as well as for all our other day trip possibilities.
We decided to take the 8:29am train out of Sachseln. After a train change in Luzern we were scheduled to arrive in Zurich at 9:56am.
On the Luzern to Zurich leg of the trip we met a woman originally from London, now living in Ontario, Canada. Her husband didn't want to come, so she visited friends in Munich, and had been traveling for 3 weeks solo. Her name is Sharanne. Her mother wanted to name her Sharon, while her father wanted Anne. So they compromised. Eleanor referred to her as the "Lucky Lady." There was one incident during her trip when a conductor gave her a hard time because her Swiss Rail Pass hadn't been validated. If I remember correctly, that usually results in a 100CHF fine. However, the other passengers came to her defense, and talked to the conductor. Finally he validated her Swiss Rail Pass. She had only one rainy day so far, and was able to find accommodations. She stayed for the first time at a Youth Hostel. Due to her age they upgraded her from a dorm to a room with a private bath with no increase in price.
This happened again at one of the hotels. When she checked in, they upgraded her to a suite with no increase in price. She normally doesn't carry a camera. At one point in her trip she left her camera in the seat pocket of a bus. She realized it at the train station. When she exclaimed what happened, a guy went in the back and reappeared with her camera. She was so happy that she gave the guy a big kiss. Meanwhile an Italian guy witnessed all this. He reached into his pocket, and holding out his money-filled hand, asks for a kiss also. She never did say whether she granted his request.
It wasn't until we arrived at the Zurich Train Station that we realized, we forgot to bring the wheelchair. Zurich involves a lot of walking. So making our way to our lunch destination would take longer than planned.
Getting from the train to the train station main entrance/exit at Bahnhofstrasse was a long walk in itself. A few blocks down Bahnhofstrasse we turned left onto Uraniastrasse, followed that to the bridge and then walked along the Limmat River onto Schipfe. Eventually the steep walk up Fortunagasse to Lindenhofstrasse led us to our first destination, Lindenhof. The square is shaded by linden trees and overlooks the Limmat River.
Zurich Train Station Looking down Bahnhofstrasse
Schipfe along the Limmat River(photo below left) Fortunagasse (photo below right)
Entrance ramp to Lindenhof
Upon entering Lindenhof we saw the cutest little dog. It is a 5 month old puppy. Eleanor soon made friends with it. We thanked the ladies for allowing to take photographs.
There appeared to be a school group there on a tour. The statue commemorates the local women who cleverly defended the town in 1292.
There is a great view of the city from Lindenhof.
At 11:04am we decided to move on. Lunch at a place called Vorderer Sternen was our objective. It is a bit of a walk to get to it at Bellevueplatz, Theaterstrasse 22. We enjoyed a great lunch there on our last Untour in 2004. I had read about it in a article by travel writer Burt Wolf. It is popular with the locals. We wanted to arrive there by 12:00 o'clock noon. In 2004 a long line formed outside this place soon after noon. The food is affordable and very good.
When we arrived at Vorderer Sternen at about 11:30am, there were already a few people in line.
While Eleanor was picking out a table inside, I asked for two St. Gallen Bratwursts. They are wrapped in parchment paper. After paying, I picked up two burli rolls along with several cups of senf (mustard that clears your nostrils). Once we were settled, I then ordered two glasses of beer at a nearby counter.
According to travel writer and native of Switzerland, Burt Wolf, "Protocol requires you to hold the sausage in one hand. You dip it in the mustard and take a bite. The other hand is used for holding the bread. You follow the bite of the sausage with the bite of the bread, and then a drink of beer. You can alternate the beer and the bread with the right hand, but you must never let go of the sausage." We followed protocol. The sausage was so good Eleanor suggested buying another and sharing it. But we were soon full.
We couldn't leave this place without creating some noise. I was 3/4 done with my beer and attempting to tear off a piece of the bread when it let go, causing my hand to knock the beer glass onto the floor. Our server, Michele, came over to clean up the broken glass. I said to him "Entschuldigung!" which means "sorry!" A minute later a full glass of beer was placed in front of me. I attempted to pay. But they refused to take the money. I said "Danke schon." Before we left, a nearby table caused a ruckus. While attempting to tear a piece of the burli roll, a lady knocked the metal menu holder off the table, and bouncing across the floor. I didn't feel so bad after that. Apparently burli roll accidents are common here. Oddly enough a part of the plate glass window behind Eleanor was patched temporarily with cardboard. Another burli roll accident? As we were leaving, Eleanor almost bumped into Michele bringing a glass of beer outside. He was the one that cleaned up my mess. We all laughed. We were soon back on the street, thankful to leave the establishment without causing anymore damage.
Total cost of the meal at Vorderer Sternen came to 24CHF ($27.12 U.S. dollars).
At 12:25pm we headed for Teddy's Souvenir Shop. Limmatquai 34. As expected they have a lot of the usual tourist trinkets. However, they also have an excellent selection of Swiss Army knives. I found the model I was looking for, Victorinox Swiss Champ XLT. We purchased a number of other items. Best of all, they had an engraving machine. Not only did they engrave the handles of the knives we purchased, but also the knives we had purchased in Interlaken.
Melanie (left in photo) was the one who waited on us. I asked her if the lady who owns the shop is her mother. She said "no." The owner wasn't in the shop that day. Ten years ago the owner, who served us back then, had warned us not to leave our wheelchair outside for fear of it getting stolen. I wanted to tell her that I never forgot that, and really appreciated it. The owner's son, Christian, was in the small office behind the counter. Christian came out to say hello to us. He has been working there for 10 years. I remarked to Melanie "So that means you are the old timer in the shop." Mara was the other saleslady on the floor. Christian told us that Teddy's has been in business there more than 40 years. Melanie, Mara and Christian were very nice. We enjoyed having a conversation with them.
Eleanor was looking for a good pair of scissors as well as some kitchen utensils. They told us to try Messer-Scharf, the sister store of Teddy's a short distance away at Oberdorfstrasse 25.
They have a great selection of high quality items. Eleanor purchased 2 knife leather cases, 6 scissors, a cheese knife and a travel security pouch. While ringing up the bill the salesgirl noticed our photo on the VISA credit card. It was taken in Giverny, France near Monet's Waters Gardens. That led to talk of traveling. The salesgirl dreams of traveling one day. Eleanor told her about Untours and handed her one of our Untours cards with the website.
Around 2:00pm we planned to make our next stop at Grossmunster. We also needed to visit the WC. At the Grossmunster the attendant said that they have no WC. He told us that the closest one is a distance away along the Limmat River.
We still were sure where exactly to look. Finally when we got to Teddy's Souvenir Shop, Eleanor suggested that we stop in and ask them where the public WC is located. They remembered us from our earlier visit. They graciously allowed us to use their employee WC. That was very nice of them. We did not feel like hiking back to Grossmunster. Eleanor was getting tired, and so was I. The decision was to continue slowly walking along the Limmat River in the direction of the train station.
At the Muhlesteg Pedestrian Bridge we were about to cross the river when a man and women stopped me. They saw the camera hanging around my neck. They spoke no English. However, hand gestures got the message across that they wanted me to take their photo using the digital photo feature in their video camera. I took two photos. They were very happy.
As we crossed the bridge, it became obvious that it is a favorite site for young couples to profess their love symbolically. There were padlocks of all shapes and sizes with names, dates and hearts engraved or applied with indelible marker pens. We had seen a similar fad in Paris on our trip in 2010.
By the time we arrived at the train station it was 3:00pm. Checking my printout of the departure schedule, the next train was to leave at 16:04 (4:04pm) on track 4. So we had a little time to browse. That train would put us back in Sachseln at 17:27 (5:27pm).
We stopped in Sprungli to stare at the pastries. However, we managed to keep our composure and walked away with just a loaf of Mixkarn brot (dark bread with seeds) at a cost of 5CHF ($5.65 U.S. dollars).
The Erdbeer-Torte (strawberry cake) (photo above right) was a whopping 32.00CHF ($36.16 U.S. dollars). The sign says 4 portionen (4 portions).
The St. Honore-Torte Kirsch (cherry cake or pie) was also a bit pricey at 25CHF ($28.25 U.S. dollars).
On the train from Zurich to Luzern we became acquainted with a young man sitting across from us. His name is Francis from Hong Kong. He works for a company called the Schindler Group based in Switzerland. Schindler manufactures, installs, services and modernizes elevators, escalators and moving walks for almost every type of building requirement worldwide. He said that he was in Switzerland one week for business meetings, and then one week in Spain. We told him some funny stories of our travels including the "Lucky Lady" incident, and the flying beer glass lunch in Zurich. There was a lot of laughing. A man and women across the aisle were eavesdropping and couldn't help laughing. So we included them in the conversation. They just arrived and were to spend 12 days in Switzerland. They are from either India or Pakistan. Before we parted ways Eleanor told Francis and the man and women about Untours. Of course Eleanor made sure that everyone received Untours cards.
We arrived in Sachseln at 5:27pm and headed into town. The decision had already been made to stop at Cafe zum Stein for an ice cream sundae.
We stopped briefly to check the temperature on the Wetter-Station posted on the wall outside one of the stores on Bahnhofstrasse. The current temperature at 5:35pm was 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).
At Cafe zum Stein we wasted no time deciding what we wanted. Eleanor ordered a "mini" Amarena (vanille, pistache mit Amarenakirschen) - 8CHF($9.04 U.S. dollars). I had Danemark (vanille, schocoladensauce) - 10.50CHF($11.86 U.S. dollars). This was our first Sachseln ice cream since we arrived the previous week.
Before returning to the chalet we took the opportunity to visit Berit's gravesite. Albert gave us directions on Mother's Day. We had no trouble locating it.
She was one of the nicest persons we have ever met.
Back at the chalet we spoke with our landlord, Louise, briefly. She was watering the flowers. We were back in the chalet at 7:00pm. I was in bed at 9:30pm. Eleanor followed at 9:30pm.
The next day we were scheduled to go on the Swiss Culture trip with Angelique to a little village above Interlaken. The trip would include a visit to a young alphorn maker, who would let us in on the secrets of making an alphorn. We were looking forward to that.
Total distance walked that day : Bill - 7.09 miles Eleanor - 5.30 miles.
To be continued.....