On the last day of our tour (before the day spent in the air) we left Lucerne and headed back to Frankfurt via the Black Forest. Our first stop was the Rhine Falls – a thunderously loud 70 foot-wide waterfall across the Rhine. We bought some chocolates in the gift shop and admired all of the fish in the shallows.
We stopped at the House of Black Forest Clocks and were greeted with glasses of cherry liqueur as we admired the giant cuckoo clock outside. If only I had a few thousand dollars to spare, I’d have bought one of the beautiful handmade cuckoo clocks, but instead I got gifts for friends and some liqueur. We had lunch in the cafeteria upstairs (where the handmade grandfather clocks are displayed) then were back on the road.
In Heidelberg we had a few hours to wander the city, Heidelberg Castle looking down at us from the hilltop. Mom and I walked through the streets and bought some snacks. The streets were very crowded and had a decidedly modern, London-y feel to me, after having spent so much time in older or more remote cities like St. Veit, Zermatt and Lucerne. We boarded the bus one last time and returned to the hotel in Frankfurt where we spent our first night in Germany.
thus concludes the over-a-year-long process of getting these photos prepared, tagged and posted. time for a drink.
We left the hotel early to do the Golden Roundtrip to Mount Pilatus. We took a bus from the main station to a ferry for sight seeing around the Lake of Four Cantons. Then we rode the world’s steepest cog railway from Alpnachstad to the top of Mount Pilatus. The view was breaktaking – we could see the whole valley. At one point we broke through the clouds and could only see the tallest mountains of the Alps jutting above the clouds. Amazing.
Atop Mount Pilatus we had lunch in the crisp mountain air, people-watching and listening to the alphorn musicians (video). Amy and I did a little exploring – around the back of the observation center to the stairways that take you up the side of the mountain so you can see the valley and hiking trails, and up above the observation center to a little platform with an even better view.
We rode the massive gondolas half-way down the mountain to Seilpark Pilatus, where we rode alpine sleds (when hauled back up the mountain I passed close enough to more soft, belled cows that I could’ve touched them) and did this crazy ropes course. Cargo nets: HARD. We took a cable car the rest of the way down.
Back in Lucerne, we walked through the city and across the Chapel Bridge to Old Town Lucerne. A lot of the buildings are painted and there was a lot of cool old architecture. We found this street musician (video) and I wish the sound was better – the noises he was making with his mouth and instrument were enchanting.
We left Zermatt and bussed to Berne. We stopped for lunch at the famous bear pits and watched the bear play and ham it up for the crowd. We made a comfort stop in Interlaken where I saw the longest bike parking rack ever. in the Haslital Valley we saw a Swiss Air Force jet landing over a field of cows, and we passed the military airport as we drove up the Brunig Pass.
In Lucerne we saw the beautiful and serene Lion Monument. It was so so beautiful and sad – the most breathtaking work of art I’ve ever seen. The Monument is carved into the rock face with a reflecting pool in front and surrounded by trees; the area is quiet and cool. I could’ve stood looking at him for hours, but we only had a few minutes to grab photos and take from the memorial what we could.
We also saw the famous Chapel Bridge, a covered bridge with painted panels dating to the 17th century. Some of the panels are intact, but most of the bridge and panels were destroyed in a fire in 1993.
That night we walked across town to have dinner at a fondue restaurant. We had a raclette feast! There was a complicated-looking contraption to hold and melt the cheese so it dripped down onto a plate. We had more potatoes and vegetables than we could eat with the delicious cheese. Our waiter was a very friendly Indian man – if I remember correctly, he was in Switzerland as a student, learning the hospitality trade. After dinner (and a lot of walking around) I managed to cram in some gelato; there’s always room for gelato.
I also managed to tag a wall next to a hip-hop-ish storefront with a Good night, TV! logo sticker, so hopefully that’s driven some European traffic their way.
not a lot of photos since i was mingling and drinking, not photographing. i have really attractive friends, by the way.
Arden and I spent a whole day at LACMA and gallery openings. At Hancock Park we had a nice surprise – ran into the Underwear Affair pre-race party. Lots of great costumes, free drinks, and a really inspiring and fun atmosphere.
from mimi smartypants:
[...] I suggested to Nora that we go to the playground. She pumped her fists in the air and yelled, “SCIENTIFIC!” This is excellent happy-exclamation slang and we should all start using it immediately. Scientific is the new kick ass.
i’m totally going to start doing this. …want to take bets on how long this will last before i bitch out after one too many withering/aghast/pitying looks from friends?
We awoke in Zermatt and took the Gornergrat Bahn up to see the Matterhorn. The Fates were with us, and the sky above the Alps was crisp and clear. We had a perfect view of the Matterhorn. At the Gornergrat overlook, we had our photograph taken with some cute St. Bernards. Amy, Mom and I opted to hike down to the next station and it was lovely. We had breathtaking views of the Matterhorn, glaciers and the valley. There were all kinds of tiny colorful flowers poking out between the rocks and a pretty, still lake.
Back in Zermatt, Amy and Laura left to meet their guide for a mule trek to the next town. Aunt Pat, Mom and I walked to the Mirabeau Hotel for our spa appointments. While we waited we were served wine and chocolates. Mom and Aunt Pat had massages and I had a facial (my first!). Afterwards I had the goats’ milk cream and lavender blossom bath in the copper bathtub in this large stone-floored room with views of the lawn and surrounding Alps. You can see a photo of it on the webpage linked above – it was heavenly. The water stayed so hot and afterwards I was sooooo relaxed. I got to soak for longer than scheduled because at that time of day we were the only people at the spa.
After my soak I emerged and found Mom and Aunt Pat similarly noodle-ized. We floated our way back to our hotel and relaxed with some wine while we waited for Amy and Laura to return and de-mule themselves. We walked around the corner and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant; by this point in the trip we were a bit tired of meat and potatoes.
ok i know this movie has already attracted a lot of outrage – the dakota fanning rape movie! omg! but the CHILDREN what about the CHILDREN etc etc – but this bizarro television trailer is not helping matters (sorry i can only find the theatrical-length ones online). it sort of dances around the rape while clearly being all about it (no mention of the rest of the film’s actual plot, save a fleeting shot of maybe-elvis) with a voice-over that is completely misleading in tone. maybe it’s because don lafontaine is gone – he couldn’t lend his gravitas to the narration – but…come on! this guy sounds like he’s describing a heartwarming family film on the hallmark channel about a lost puppy. fail.
tonight i saw tony bennett at the greek theatre and it was completely magical! his energy and showmanship, his voice – amazing! i met up with arden, klaus and the rest of the group at the tangier for drinks and snacks beforehand, then we hiked up the hill to the theatre. his daughter did a few numbers as his opener. priceless moment: during the intro for ‘the best is yet to come’ tony bennett shouts out “vote for obama!” and the crowd goes WILD. the band was also incredible – count basie’s favorite drummer, and amazing pianist and an insane guitarist. afterwards we went to the derby for a nightcap and it was an absolutely fabulous night. now – early to bed (ok, lies – will probably watch tivo’d ‘mad men’ or read some more comics) so i can run before driving half of our group to the cabazon outlets tomorrow morning. already this weekend is great!
cameron sent me this and immediately we were both laughing so hard we couldn’t speak. i was crying – eyes are still watering. it raises some questions tho – couldn’t the cat just walk through the side? does it do it all the time? in any case, HILARIOUS and dammit i wish i had a cat.