Gruezi am Mittenwald...

Trip Start Apr 28, 2007
Trip End Oct 26, 2007

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Up hill and down dale on an alpine scale......

Back in Kussnacht  am Rigi,  James left for his European rail trip on Sunday, and we went walking with Joy around a lake in Luzern where the rowing World Cup was being held. Brian talked to some Kiwis who seemed to have had some good results, including Georgina Evers- Swindell. The twins had won their event but said they were not holidaying for the next few days with the rest of the team; they needed more training - seemed hard to believe.
We needed more training! We hiked and biked to a whole new physical peak over the next week. One outing mid week was on the Swiss Way; the Weg der Schweizz, which was completed for the millennium as a walkway for the Swiss people. Again the views make it all worthwhile. But Jen maintained that it's a big ask after 3 hours of hiking to find that the next 3 hours are up and down another 370 vertical metres on the way back to where we left the car - think that is about twice the vertical height of The Mount back home.  During the day's hike we passed the Rutli Field which is where the nation of Switzerland was declared, and where in WW2 we understand Swiss generals declared Swiss neutrality.  We also passed the Transcendental Meditation and Ayur Vedic centre at Seelisberg where Maharishi had lived.
Temperatures had really soared in Switzerland and were now often in the 30's until late in the evening.  So the Open Air Kino in Zug at night was a great way to see a movie. With a glass of wine in hand, after dinner eaten outside a local Zug Italian restaurant, we saw "Notes on a Scandal" with Cate Blanchett and Judy Dench. A memorable night out.
If it's Friday, it's hiking... and this time Joy and Hilary picked a peak in the neighbouring canton of Berne. Of course Jen related this straight back to Tolla's Bernese Mountain Dog origins. Joy and Hilary are seriously fit but we were relieved at how well we coped and enjoyed the hike up about 900 metres and over many kilometres of Swiss farm land. En route we picked handfuls of raspberries, blackberries and tiny wild strawberries bursting with intense flavour. We even found cherries for the picking. The Swiss country side is interlaced with walking paths and tracks, some marked better than others.  This one was so well marked that even we did not get lost.
So that we should not get too complacent about our new found fitness levels, Sunday was a 50km bike ride around the lake Zugersee with Joy and Gary's friends Ruth and Roger. All went well especially the stop for usual espresso and beer in Zug, but then Jen collided with the pavement. Nasty skin scuffs but bones all intact.
We had a great time in Kussnacht with generous hospitality from Joy. We enjoyed wonderful meals with so much fresh produce from the garden.  Quite inspiring really. Gary was sadly missed, but we plan to be back after nearly two weeks in France to catch up with him then. 

Impressions of Switzerland: 
Red geraniums in window boxes; mind-blowingly neat wood piles; hanky sized and impeccably neat farms; Swiss farmers cutting and raking hay by hand; up and down dale on an alpine scale; and an understanding of the where and why of  the Sound of Music; oh and of course the gnomes.
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