In November, Andy and I made a frosty climb to the summit of Bachtel, not far from Zürich, and enjoyed a brisk view and a hearty warm lunch below a gray sky. Today, I wanted a quick morning hike so I hopped a train out to Wald and walked back up to the summit under blue skies and amidst summer sights and sounds and smells. My climb reversed the path of our November descent, up through the outer neighborhoods of Wald and through the pastures of the hillside farms. From the summit I had a grand 360-degree view of Zürichsee and the Alps to the south and the rolling hills to the north and east. I settled into the outdoor veranda of the summit restaurant for a cup of tea while the sun slid across the southern horizon. I then picked a new trail down, ending up in the pretty village of Wernetshausen, where I could hop a bus and train and tram back home. Check out the gallery.
Hike stats: 8.8km with 510m gain and 389m descent; 2h14 moving time, 1:00 stopped time.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” said Laurence, as we drove from the train station in Horb toward Sulzau, Germany, the tiny village where my great-great-great grandfather Franz Kotz first learned his trade as a schreiner (cabinetmaker) and which he left in 1848 to find a new life in America. I never imagined that I might be back in Sulzau so soon, in search of the Sulzau-Kotz connection – and I certainly never imagined I would meet a distant cousin, today. Read on!
After visiting Munich we continued north across the pastoral plains of Germany to reach Bremen, where Pam has relatives. We changed trains in Hannover (with the requisite joke about our “return to Hanover”), where met Andy after his arrival from Zürich. Although the skies were grey, the onward train to Bremen passed through pretty countryside. Check out the gallery and read on.
One of the most domineering fountains I’ve encountered in Zürich is in Bürkliplatz, a beautiful park between the edge of Altstadt (old town) and the lakefront. It is clearly dedicated to an Arnold Geiser.
It turns out that Mr. Geiser was the city architect during a formative period in the latter half of the 19th century. According to this page, “At his death the city architect Arnold Geiser (1844-1909) left behind a legacy ‘for a monument to beautify the city.’ The city organised a competition under the Zürich artists. The winner, Jacob Brüllmann was surprisingly not from Zürich, but citizen of Weinfelden and living in Stuttgart. The foundations for the massive sculpture was designed by the architect Jean Freytag. On 20 October 1911, the entire monument was passed as ‘Stierbändiger-Brunnen’ (Bull Tamer Fountain) to the public.”
On my first trip out of the country since January, we’re headed to northern Germany to visit relatives. (The Schengen area largely reopened to cross-border travel on 15 June.) We decided to make a stopover in Munich, to break up the long train trip and to enjoy visiting the sights of this historic city. Although our one-day visit just scratched the surface, I hope you’ll read on and enjoy the gallery.
The old-town area of Zürich includes many of the most dramatic and interesting fountains, some of which I’ve already shared here. Today I’m posting 22 photos from seven fountains, all within a few blocks of each other. They start here in the gallery.
The Stüssihofstatt fountain, below, was described by another blogger as “a memorial built in honor of the former Bürgermeister [Mayor] Rudolf Stüssi, killed in battle not far from here.” It is one of the few painted fountains in Zürich – which we saw to be far more common in Bern.
Unfortunately, I don’t know the story behind any of the other fountains. The I particularly like this one, a very dynamic sculpture of a man battling a lion.
And this one follows a common theme – a young maiden bathing.
Finally, a more contemporary design (1932), a multi-level fountain with a statue of a rearing horse.
For more photos of these and three other fountains, start here in the gallery.
Tuesday’s weather was promising to be gorgeous, and I could not let such a day pass me by – despite an afternoon full of meetings. Waking early, and browsing the weather maps, train schedules, and hiking routes, I decided to return to Flumserberg – because it is close and offers many options. The catch?: the best train would leave in 13 minutes. Good thing I keep my backpack ready to go! Jump on the train with me, read on, and check out the gallery.
A beautiful hike past a massive UNESCO heritage site.
The Aletsch glacier is one of those must-see destinations in Switzerland. A UNESCO heritage site, it is the largest glacier in the Alps and is actually the combination of several glaciers draining the backside of major peaks I’d seen just two days earlier: Mönch, Jungfrau, Eiger, and their neighbors. I really wanted to hike this glacier valley before I leave Switzerland – yet I have very few hiking days left. So, I spontaneously decided to head for the Aletsch Arena instead of returning to Zürich as planned.
This is one of those hikes that is worthy of an extensive gallery – because the scenery is so dramatic I simply could not resist that shutter button. Check out that gallery and read on.
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.
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!