September 1st we started out early in the morning; our destination was Stein am Rhein. We took the train to Luzern, then Zurich and Winterthur and finally Stein am Rhein. Once in Stein am Rhein, we took the one hour cruise to Schaffhausen.
We showed our Swiss Pass and the cruise was free. A great day for a cruise! We met a young woman with her two young sons from German. We enjoyed eating our picnic lunch as we rode along the water way. An hour later we arrived in Schaffhausen. The world-famous Rhein Falls are here. From the boat dock we took a bus directly to the falls; the cost was 4 swiss francs each. It was amazing to see and hear the roaring Falls. It was hard to describe the Falls, you really must be there to appreciated the sight.
Large boats navigated the rough water; passengers cruised out to the Falls, some boats navigated too close. Other passengers got off the boat and climbed up a path to see the Falls up close. A mist from the water rose and at times obscured the boats. After many pictures were taken we headed back to Schaffhausen. Instead of waiting for the bus (it wasn’t due for 2 hours) a local man gave us directions, which include a steep walk up, up and around a curve and up further to reach the street at the top. We didn’t meet anyone on this walk. (I can’t imagine why) However, Fred had talked to a young man previously, Alex Graff, from Australia; he worked in London for a few months and had decided to see the Rhein Falls. He joined us for the very steep walk to the bus stop, which was located a few streets away. As we walked, he gave us his email address so we could keep in touch. The train trip was three and a half hours each way. We took the train back to Zurich then Luzern and finally took the train to Meiringen. It was a long but very rewarding day!
September 2nd We trained to Interlaken West; a few untourists had mentioned the new Migros was located there.
This was a super Migros, even an escalator to the other floors. On the first floor was a Denners Store; we had bought a jar of Denners Bolognese Sauce at the Coop in Meiringen. We picked up another jar while we were in Interlaken West. Other types of shops were located on the first floor.
The Migros cafeteria was nicely decorated and spacious. The aisles were wide and items placed neatly on the shelves. Everything was in order, no cluttered at all. Store clerks stacked the shelves; and from time to time asked if they could help us find an item. We also bought a few souvenirs for our family. As yesterday was a long travel day, we decided to take it easy today. We enjoyed our picnic lunch in a small park, and now it was time to head back to Meiringen. We stopped at the Coop for a few items for our lunch tomorrow. It was wonderful to stay in the Brugger apartment; we had all the comforts of home. We packed our picnic lunch almost everyday and made easy dinners. This saved us time and money as well.
September 3rd today was the Alumni Trip to Thun. We arrived in Thun early; later we would meet at the boat jetty across the street from the Thun train station. There was another trip with the newcomers to the chocolate factory scheduled for the same day. We enjoyed a delicious
lunch at the Manora Department Store, what a buffet! Different food stations displayed quite an array of food, again tooo much food and tooo many choices. Hot soups, salads, pizza, quiche, hot entrees, desserts, fresh fruit, puddings were displayed attractively. After lunch we met Shirley who was across the street. Two women joined us for the tour. All in all we had five alumni and Vincent, our tour guide. He met us at the boat jetty as planned. When we walked along the street he told us interesting stories about the artist, Marquard Wocher, and he described the different areas "old town" and how Thun looked in the 1800’s. When we approached the building Vincent told us we would climb five flights of stairs to reach the roof top. Wow, it was quite a walk up the narrow staircase. As we climbed up the narrow stairs, someone said, “Are we there yet?” This got a loud “no” from everyone. A little out of breath we rested when we reached the roof top. The view from this area was spectacular!!!
As we looked out over “old town” we saw so much, a very impressive and breath-taking sight.
As we stood on the roof top, you could imagine what the artist saw hundreds of years ago. Vincent explained the Swiss artist, Marquard Wocher, lived in Thun many, many years ago. Between 1809 and 1814 he painted the large panorama of Thun. In order to see this masterpiece, we rode the bus to the Schadau Park, Our Swiss Rail Pass provide us with free admission to the Museum. It took the artist 2 years to draw the all the sketches, then assemble them on paper, and finally put the sketches on canvas. Since 1961 the Panorama painting has been on displayed to the public in a specially erected building in Schadau Park in Thun. It is easy to reach the park by bus or a 25 minute walk. After the tour was over Shirley, Fred and I took the train to Meiringen. Shirley joined us for wine, crackers and cheese on the balcony. As usual, it was a great day in Switzerland! Later in the week we returned to the Wocher Museum and took many pictures inside the museum. It was so large, it was almost impossible to arrange the pictures as a panoramic view.
September 4th the weather today was overcast with light rain. We checked train schedules, and with only two changes we rode to Biel which is located in the French area of Switzerland. The train ride took 2 hours and 15 minutes, each way. There was two and a half hour cruise from Biel to Solothurn. It was a gentle cruise on the Aare to Solothurn, which was a walled in city. However, we would not have enough time to enjoy the cruise; plus it was three connections to Meiringen. Later when we arrived in Meiringen, Lydia and Ernst invited us to dinner on Saturday evening. We were pleased with their invitation. They are a caring couple; we enjoy their company very much.
September 5th Shirley, Fred and I made plans to go to the Alpen Tower for the brunch. It was an ideal day, sunny and warm. However, when Fred arose in the morning he wanted to stay home and get some much needed rest. We had been hurrying on and off trains for the past few days, and it finally caught up with him. I understood, and met Shirley at Migros. At the lift station, we paid the attendant 38 swiss francs each for the round trip and brunch. The ride was 3 lifts up and back.
It was fun to ride the different lifts, some gondolas, and cable cars. At the Alpen Tower we showed our tickets and proceed to the dining room. Large panoramic windows gave us a real glimpse of the majestic mountains that surrounded the Tower.
Shirley and I made a toast: “to a great holiday in Switzerland”. We walked outside after our brunch. The cows grazed on the mountain side. They just looked up, and went back to eating the grass. They simply ignored us. We walked along the gravel path, and
and took more pictures of the scenery and awesome mountains. By now the wind had really picked up and the flags, and wind socks were blowing around like crazy!!. It was time to ride the gondolas and cable cars down to Meiringen. At one gondola station, the attendant told us, the ride down would be slow due to the high winds. Our gondola did not sway at all, and the ride to the bottom was smooth. We stopped at the playground in Meiringen to take more pictures. It was nice that Shirley and I had a chance to spend some time together; we had a lot of laughs!
In Meiringen, the high winds had strip some of the pear and apple trees. Leaves and fruit were stewn around the sidewalks on the side streets. The high winds lasted for two days. However, as the wind subsided, people raked and picked up the debris from the storm. We had been to Switzerland three times before and had never witness this type of weather.