Vevey

A brief visit to the French side of Switzerland.

After visiting Grindelwald, Wengen, and Lauterbrunnen, we headed over to the French side of Switzerland for a night in Vevey. A pretty little town on the shore of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), we had just enough time to stroll about the old town and to enjoy a sunny loop cruise on the lake aboard Vevey, one of a few antique paddlewheel boats that ply the waters on behalf of tourists and commuters. It was a beautiful morning and the views of the surrounding vineyards, chateaux, and mountains were impressive.

View of Vevey, Switzerland, from the ship of the same name.

Vevey is home to many interesting things – including Nestlé, the food company, which sponsored a food museum called Alimentarium. Out front, in the water just offshore, is a giant fork. Curious!

An unusual sculpture on the lakehore in Vevey, Switzerland.

Check out the gallery for more photos.

Lauterbrunnen

A morning’s visit to Lauterbrunnen valley, including a walk to Staubbach Falls and Trümmelbach falls.

After a beautiful view of the Lauterbrunnen valley at sunrise on Friday morning, and a hearty breakfast at the Hotel Edelweiss in Wengen, we boarded the cog train down from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen. It was a short walk to the edge of town and the famous Staubbach Falls. Impressive from above, these falls are truly inspirational in person. Read on, check out the gallery, and you won’t miss Trümmelbach Falls.

Lauterbrunnen from the trail to Staubbach falls.
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Wengen sunrise

A beautiful morning view from Wengen.

On Friday morning I woke early at our hotel in Wengen, a small village overlooking the Lauterbrunnen valley, and walked to the Mönchblick viewpoint as the sun was illuminating the high peaks. I waited almost an hour for it to reach down into Lauterbrunnen before heading back to breakfast. I was treated to a spectacular view of major peaks like Mönch and Jungfrau, and their neighbors Silberhorn and Breithorn, as well as the pretty town of Lauterbrunnen down in the valley, with its famous Staubbach Falls glistening in the morning sunlight. Be sure to check out the gallery, because the small photo here will not do that morning any justice.

Morning view of Mönch, Jungfrau, Breithorn peaks. and Wengen and Lauterbrunnen villages, from Mönchblick viewpoint, Wengwald.
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Grindelwald to Kleine-Scheidegg

A surprisingly challenging climb.

Seeking to maximize our final weeks in Switzerland, Pam and Andy and I headed off for another overnight trip.  On Thursday we took a sequence of trains to reach Grindelwald, a delightful tourist town in the heart of the Jungfrau region, surrounded by stunning alpine peaks.  Pam and I were last here in December – a quick trip on a stunningly beautiful winter day – and I hiked into Grindelwald after the incredible Faulhorn trek last fall. Check out the gallery and read on.

A field of wildflowers below the north face of the Eiger.
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Basel-isk fountain

Another fountain imported from a distant city.

I came across this fountain in the newer section of Zürich’s downtown area, early one Sunday morning. It’s an unusual and intriguing figure – a sort of dragon-like rooster with a snake’s tail. It looked familiar; I later remembered that it is a fountain common in Basel, which I’d seen during my February visit (like this photo).

This style of fountain is common in Basel, but unique in Zurich.

For three close-up photos, start here.

Update June 29: a friend informs me this creature is more likely a cockatrice, not a basilisk, but then the pun doesn’t work quite as well ;-).

Utilitarian fountains

A variety of Zürich fountains.

Today I’m posting a collection of a variety of Zürich fountains, mostly utilitarian in nature. though each different in their own way. See them in the gallery beginning here.

A common two-spout large-pool fountain in Alt Zurich, with a simple post rather than a statue.

The photo above shows a common form for the fountain’s spouts – a lion blowing water through a tube whose end looks like a duck (or goose). The lion is a common symbol of Zürich and the duck/goose motif is common on many spouts around town.

Mettmen–Leglerhütte

A spectacular hike from Mettmen to Leglerhütte and Unter Chärf.

Sometimes when you go for a long hike into the mountains, you never want to leave and come back. Today was one of those days – no clouds, no wind, no bugs, and spectacular views in every direction. In fact, I would rank this as one of the most outstanding hikes I’ve had in Switzerland – second only to that amazing night on Faulhorn last fall. Today I was inspired by a post from another blogger to return to Mettmen in the Glarus region, a place I visited for my first hike in Switzerland last fall. What an outstanding day! read on, and be sure to check out the gallery – today was a photographer’s dream.

Chli Chärf as seen from trail from Mettmen.
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Rigi Kulm

A steep descent made for an exciting hike on Rigi.

Today was a beautiful day so Andy and I decided to do another hike. My preferred location became temporally inconvenient, late in the morning, because the necessary bus apparently does not run during lunch time. So we picked something closer – Mount Rigi. Read on and check out the photo gallery for more.

We chose an especially steep trail down from Rigi. Zugersee dominates the view.
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Alpstein summits

A cloudy climb to the highest point in the Alpstein region.

The day after Andy and I explored the northeast side of the Seealpsee valley, from Ebenalp to Äscher and up to Schäfler, then down to Seealpsee and Wasserauen, I woke early to climb the other side of the valley. We had stayed overnight at the Alpenrose hotel in Wasserauen, and my colleague drove in to join me at 6am as planned. Our goal was to climb to Rotsteinpass and then decide whether to turn left and climb Altmann, or turn right and summit Säntis. The sky was full of clouds, low enough to obscure all the peaks, but we held on to hope that it might clear later in the morning. Our luck held, with wonderful views of landscapes and wildlife, pastures and farmhouses, and some challenging terrain on this 1600m climb to the highest point in the Appenzell region. Read on, and check out the gallery – many photos have details better seen at full-resolution.

David on the Lisengrat ridge, with Altmann summit at rear.
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Ebenalp and Äscher

A spectacular hike above the Seealpsee valley.

Nearly three years ago, I was in Switzerland for just a few days and was determined to go hiking. As it turns out, early November was not such a great time to visit alpine terrain, and I spent the day wandering through a misty snowstorm, knowing there were grand views – but all were hidden in the low clouds. I enjoyed the hike, though, and it made me more determined to return. This weekend I did – including two spectacular hikes despite some lingering cloud cover. Read on, and check out the gallery; the photos on this page tell the story but don’t capture the beauty of the place or of the day.

The trail from Schäfler up the valley follows a jagged ‘knife-edge’ trail, with cable handrails and slippery footing.
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