Swiss Heartland Untour - May 6 to June 4, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Eleanor and I both grew up sleeping in unheated attic bedrooms. So at Chalet Britschgi it was not unusual for us to open our bedroom window each night when we went to bed to let cool air in. I loved my down-filled pillow. The down-filled quilt however was so efficient that I would get too warm. Eleanor is never warm enough due to poor circulation in her polio leg. To make matters worse her feet stuck out the bottom of her quilt. So I gave her my quilt and changed to one or two regular blankets. By now the jet lag had left us, and we were starting to wake up our usual back home time, 5:00am - 5:30am. As usual a bird was singing outside our window in a nearby tree when we woke up at 5:34am. It has an unusual song. Sometimes it seemed like it was talking to itself.
The temperature was 50 degrees Fahrenheit with overcast skies. The local Sunnis Bakery opened at 6:00am. When I arrived there at 6:16am, there was already a line of people inside. At that time of day the pastries are still in containers stacked on the floor rather than in the display cases. The pastries are trucked to the Sachseln location from a main bakery site in another town. I was hoping to get 4 pastries : 2 apfelstrudels and something with a cherry filling. All she had were 2 apfelstrudels.
The breakfast was probably the usual. We planned to catch the 8:28am train to Brienz. So we left the chalet at 8:10am. But before leaving I had to admire Alois' vegetable garden. I was beginning to think that there are no plant eating insects in Switzerland. The leaves on all the plant are pristine with no evidence of damage from insects. Shortly after returning home from our Swiss Heartland Untour, I posted the following:
"There are no bugs in Switzerland"
As were were walking down Brunigstrasse something happened that had been happening to us almost daily at a particular spot. Cars passing by would tap their car horn twice "bip, bip." We couldn't understand why they were doing this. Albert and Rosemarie didn't know why when we asked them. It wasn't until two weeks later that the mystery was solved. I finally noticed on May 30th that the "bip, bip" noise occurred at a particular spot. There was a manhole cover that was not set perfectly flat. When the car tires passed over it, it rocked slightly and made the "bip, bip" noise.
As we passed the photography store on Bahnhofstrasse, the Wetter-Station showed 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit).
As the train pulled in at 8:28am Eleanor gave the thumbs up hitch-hiking sign to get a smile out of the train engineer.
By the time we reached Brunig Hasliberg at 9:05am, we had decided to change our plans for the day. A new group of arrivals was meeting with Untours onsite contact, Barbara, at the Meiringen train station at 9:35am for a short orientation. Others could join her at 10:35am for a bus trip leaving at 10:45am to Barbara's village of Guttannen. There she would give a one hour tour of that alpine village. Cost would be 6CHF ($6.78 U.S. dollars) per person. Upon arrival in Meiringen we planned to let Barbara know that we would be joining the group at 10:35am for the trip to Guttannen.
When the train pulled in at 9:19am there was no one in sight. So we walked to the Sherlock Holmes Museum to check open hours. By the time we got back to the train station at 9:45am there was still no sign of Barbara and the new arrivals. Thinking that they might have moved to a more sheltered location, we looked inside the train station and, inside the Migros store as well as immediate area in Meiringen. Eleanor tried to call Barbara's mobile, but the message said it wasn't working. We could only assume that they either left early or the trip was cancelled due to the weather. So we went back to our original plan and boarded the 10:22am train to Brienz. Just as we pulled out, there were fellow untourists Carol and Ivan walking towards the front of the train station.
By 10:37am we were walking down Haupstrasse on the way to Jobin Woodcarving School and Museum.
When we arrived at 10:45am, there were two tour buses parked out front. The entry fee was 5CHF ($5.65 U.S. dollars). The saleslady couldn't find an English brochure. She told us to join the tour bus groups speaking English. However, since the tour group was so large, we couldn't hear the guide and had difficulty getting close to the exhibit being discussed. This is why we hate going on large bus tours. So we broke off from the tour group and went the way of an untourist...on our own.
The intricately carved works of art on display in the museum are truly impressive.
After the museum we continued into the woodcarving school where many young apprentices were working on their projects.
By the time we exited Jobin it was 11:40am. The skies seemed to be getting brighter. So we decided to buy sandwiches and a drink at COOP and have a picnic on the quai at the shore of Lake Brienz.
We purchased two sandwiches along with two cans of Rugen Brau beer, and set out for a nice spot with a bench. But by the time we got settled the skies darkened again with a threat of rain. Halfway through our picnic it started to drizzle.
We had to gather everything up and scoot back to the train station and catch the next train to Meiringen, where we planned to visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. As we approached the train station the railroad crossing gate lowered, blocking our way. We were on the wrong side of the tracks. To make matters worse that was the 12:54pm train to Meiringen. The next train wasn't until 1:25pm. As we sat on a bench at the train station, the sun reappeared. Things worked out anyway. The train arrived in Meiringen at 1:36pm, a few minutes after the Sherlock Holmes Museum opened.
Eleanor wanted to buy an authentic Sherlock Holmes hat for her brother. So it was my job to try it out. After putting it on I suddenly felt more observant. It passed the test.
We also bought several miniature handcuffs (complete with keys) to give as gifts.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes' 221b Baker Street living room
After the Sherlock Holmes Museum, we were ready to call it a day. There was a train scheduled to leave at 15:22 (3:22pm). We weren't sure if it stopped in Sachseln. The clerk at the information desk said that the next train to stop in Sachseln leaves at 15:41 (3:41pm). Good thing I checked. The 3:41pm train dropped us off in Sachseln at 16:28 (4:48pm).
We stopped at Gasser's to say hello to the nice young lady who gave Eleanor a rose on Mother's Day. We found out that her name is Daniela. She is very nice, and always wears a beautiful scarf around her neck. She posed for a photograph with Eleanor.
Back at the chalet at 5:00pm we found a bouquet of fresh flowers on the porch chair. They were a replacement for the week old daisies. We received an email from Blindekuh Restaurant requesting us to re-confirm our reservation for 11:30am,Friday, May 23rd. I sent a reply to confirm.
At 6:25pm our dinner consisted of salad with cucumbers, hard-boiled egg, cheese, and red pepper with Italian dressing. Of course fitnessbrot and red wine were also a part of the meal. Dessert was 1/2 of a Denner "Traveler" chocolate bar with hazelnuts and raisins. We were saving the apfelstrudel for breakfast on the train. At 7:30pm the skies outside were blue with some cumulus clouds. It looked like the next day would finally be a nice one weatherwise. We decided to walk the Valley of the Waterfalls. So we planned to catch the 7:28am train.
Before going to bed I took a photo of the items purchased at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
I went to bed at 8:05pm. Eleanor followed at 8:20pm.
Total distance walked that day: Bill - 5.59 miles, Eleanor - 4.09 miles
Tomorrow's destination: Valley of the Waterfalls (also called the Valley of the 72 Waterfalls) with a stop at Trummelbach Falls (a waterfall inside a mountain).