In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.

Day 11 - 23 Juli - Monday

We dress up in hiking drag and make our way over to the funicular at Reichenbach falls and take it up to the terminus which is about half-way up the falls. The goal is to hike the rest of the way and continue on to Großscheidegg on foot, and then by bus to Grindelwald. So we are ready with our new walking sticks, collapsible cups (which are great for drinking from the scores of fountains flowing with pure alpine water), and (this is important) my new hiking boots.

The climb to the top of the falls is strenuous reminding me of everyone of my sixty-two years, and gives me quite a workout. There is also the Sherlock Holmes stuff with Moriarity at the falls, a star marking the place where Sherlock meets his nemesis. This Holmes stuff is major in Meiringen, with a little museum and all. We do make it to Zwingi, and move on to Kaltenbrunnen. The land is utterly beautifulalmost beyond telling. Cows, bells, flowers, brooks, peaks, waterfalls, hardwood and coniferous forests make for a remarkable hiking environment.

Somewhere, about 2 km. outside of Rosenlaui, I can hardly walk. My legs, right above my ankles, are becoming blistered (not the place that I thought blisters would form) by the high sides of my hiking boots. I limp into Rosenlaui and we sit at the Post Shop where I immediately take off my boots. Arthur has made sandwiches with baguette, cheese, and schinken, so we devour those and then go over to the Gasthaus where they have a wonderful Aprikosenkuchen (pastry shell, with apricots, and custard). It is perfect. We sit and wait for the Post bus, and look at the scenery, drink water and coffee, and look at people.

When the bus arrives we get on board, continuing our original journey but in a motorized fashion. The bus takes us past spectacular peaks, well above timberline, composed of grey granite alone, dressed only with snow and waterfalls tumbling down the sheer sides that would make Half Dome blush.

I am in awe because I realize these sights would be recognizable to ancients. What route did Hannibal take? It gives me a sense of an odd perspective. From Großscheidegg we descend into Grindlwald and catch a train to Interlaken, and then another to home ­ still hurting.

I go to the Internet Café and Arthur shops for supper (Tomato soup with croutons and broccoli). It was very good. Then there is reading (Mailer: it's getting better) writing, and sleep. In spite of the pain, it was a wonderful day.

MTH 9/30/07
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