As was the case with Norway, the motivation to go to Switzerland again did not come strictly from my own head. The idea to flee Germany instead came first as a passing reflection on the weather forecast, but it wasn’t until I had seen and then reconsidered a few other NWHikers.net threads (and in particular this one) that I decided resolutely to go. It took me five days to make up my mind and reserve a room, but I largely used that time to figure out what I’d do. Considering the amount of time Brian and I had in the area at the beginning of September, I think what we did was perfect… we got to hike a bit and see some of the most majestic viewpoints without feeling “rushed” to only see the highlights with no real appreciation for the area. With two and a half days in the area this time, I could slow down a bit and look into venturing a bit further astray.
The first hike I did (Schynige Platte to First via Bachalpsee and Faulhorn) was one of the most memorable hikes I’ve done. There weren’t many people on the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wilderswil at 6:30 AM, but the cogwheel train from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte was packed — they had to get a second train to meet capacity. It was clear why so many people visited this area once I arrived at Schynige Platte: the views there are spectacular. Not to say that views from elsewhere aren’t impressive; the difference is that from most places, such as Kleine Scheidegg, it’s usually only possible to see Eiger, Mönch, or Jungfrau:
From Schynige Platte, the Alps as a chain of mountains are fully visible. The deep valleys leading up to the mountains were also breathtaking in person and a stark contrast to the rising rock beyond. Continue reading “Always sunny in Switzerland”→
I was hoping to go to Oktoberfest in one of the previous two weekends, but timing proved difficult. Long story made short, I chose to go to Switzerland instead of drinking beer. The weather was right for hiking, and the long weekend was right for finally doing some more “extreme” photography.
First, I have to make a plug for the hotel I stayed at. As is usually the case, I started by looking at booking.com and saw that the Hotel Silberhorn was decently rated and priced. I called them to ask if they had availability — and they quoted me an even better price than what I had seen online. When I arrived, the owner (the hotel is family owned) asked if I would be able to attend breakfast, and I told him I’d probably be gone an hour before it started. He offered me a sandwich, but in packing it also packed me a lunch sandwich, bottle of water, and an apple. He did this the next day, too. Parking was free, breakfast was included, and the hotel was literally a three minute walk (across the street and up a small hill) from the Lauterbrunnen train station. I usually don’t writing glowing reviews about hotels, but this one was fantastic. The room even had a balcony. I could gush on about this forever, but…
As I wrote a long paragraph ago, the weather was right for hiking. In fact, it’s been nice for a few weeks now — maybe to make up for the dismal (i.e. cold and wet) July and August. While this seems perfect for picture-making, rain helps bring down dust in the air, which otherwise gets in between a camera sensor and the intended subject. This was especially evident in Hegau. 20 km before exiting the A81 autobahn for the Swiss border, there’s a rest stop with a decent dinner selection. A month ago, right before my second trip to Switzerland, this is what the sunset looked like.
When I first thought I’d be seeing one in Norway (I actually walked or drove by two during my time there), the image my extensive vocabulary conjured up was one like this. In person, and at the wrong time of day, it looks nothing like that — but my travel plan for the two months of August and September resembles the graphic (not sure what the lightning symbolizes, however). My itinerary has looked like this:
July 30-31: Italy
August 5-6: Strasbourg
August 12-13: Zermatt
August 19-20: Norway (Tromsø)
August 20-21: Norway (Stamsund / Lofoten)
August 27-28: Norway (Moskenesøy, traveling back to Stuttgart)
For the record, that’s travel on every weekend of August. A friend came last week to visit for ten days, and the itinerary now looks thus: Continue reading “Maelstrom”→