It appeared that another grand sunset was due to grace Zürich, so my father and I took the train to the top of Uetliberg to capture the view of the Alps. Here is one sample – but check out the gallery for my other favorite photos. If you’re interested in current conditions, check out the webcam view.
After an evening event speaking to Dartmouth alumni in Geneva, Mara and I had a day to explore the old town and lakefront area. We were fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day, with the city decorated for the Christmas season. Even with such a short visit I feel Geneva is different than Zurich – a different language on all the signs, of course, but also an even more international feeling. Geneva “hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world”, “including the headquarters of many agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross.”
We wandered the streets of the old town, climbed the towers of Cathédrale de Saint Pierre, ate lunch in the pop-up Christmas Market in the park at la Promenade des Bastions, passed a memorial statue to the founder of the Red Cross, and walked along the lakeshore to view the iconic Jet d’eau and watch the swans (and swimmers!) at Bains des Paquis. We hopped the train back to Zürich before dark so we could view the Alps across the lake as the trained zipped along its northern shore.
A quick visit, but worthwhile. Will need to return someday!
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I made a short visit to EPFL in Lausanne, to give a talk in the Computer Science department. It was also a good chance to catch up with an old chubber friend, who is a professor of geography.
I had a chance for a quick tour of the campus, which is about fifty years old and includes some fascinating architecture – such as the Rolex Learning Center, a curvilinear structure that (to me) evokes a sense of the tiny gears in fine watchworks. That website has much better photos – but here, my photo shows the reflection of the sky and mountains in the windows.
But the most stunning feature of the campus is its spectacular view of the Alps, across Lake Geneva – on this day, mostly clear with a few clouds clinging to some summits. This view is from the rooftop café in the Computer Science building. What a view!
After a beautiful sunrise this morning, we enjoyed an incredible sunset this evening. I was downtown, along the Limmat river, where I caught the best of the few minutes of glory. View the gallery for the best full-screen imagery.
Every morning I climb Zürich’s steep strasse and steig until I reach the clear ridgeline of the Zürichberg hilltop, with its broad view across the city and Zürichsee lake to the Alps. Some days I am enveloped in the valley fog common this time of year. Other days the clouds grudgingly give me glimpses of the Alps beyond the valley. Today, finally, I was treated to a spectacular sunrise, with a crystal-clear view of the Alps and a sky painted with deep red sunlight. I picked just five photos for the (must-see!) gallery, and share only one below.
Today was a spectacular day to be high – on a summit, that is. Mid-afternoon I caught a tram to the west side of town and hoofed it up the steep slopes of Uetliberg, the hill that dominates the western edge of Zürich. I wish I’d arrived earlier, while the sunlight was still touching the Alpine peaks… but I arrived in time to climb the summit tower and watch the the clouds’ evolving palette of colors for the next half hour. It was hard to capture the magic of this moment… but I’ve posted a gallery of five favorites.
A brief visit to the beautiful town of St. Gallen.
We made a short overnight visit to St. Gallen, a pretty little town in the eastern edge of Switzerland. We were there for an evening banquet, hosted by my professor host at the University of St. Gallen, and stayed overnight so we could explore the town the next day. We spent a few hours to stroll the history ‘old town’, the famous Abbey of St. Gall, and its Christmas markets. Unfortunately the library at the Abbey was closed for cleaning, but we enjoyed their small museum about the this thousand-plus year-old archive of documents. (“Since 1983 the whole remaining abbey precinct has been a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site.”) The old town has many beautiful half-timber buildings and oriels, elaborate multistory bay windows. Many of the squares and streets had stalls selling crafts and Christmas wares, and in one square we encountered three old men playing music on their alphorns. Fascinating!
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Sometimes you need to close the laptop, grab a camera, hop a train, and head for the mountains.
Today we took the train (actually three trains, a bus, and a tram) from Zürich to Grindelwald, in central Switzerland… and then the gondola up to ‘First’, where there is a panoramic view of the Jungfrau region. On this blue-sky day, with no clouds and no wind, it was truly spectacular.
A pleasant hike to panoramic views on Bachtel, outside Zurich.
It’s still November and we’re still doing fall hiking, close to Zürich. Today Andy and I walked from the little village Gibswil, over fresh dusting of snow and through pastures and forests, to the summit of Bachtel. Although not a high mountain by Swiss standards – only 1,115 meters – it is popular for its panoramic view of the Zürichsee valley and the Alps beyond. There is a road to the summit, which has a restaurant, a playground, and an observation tower. Ok, the purist in me would normally avoid such a summit, but there is really something to be said for sitting in a warm restaurant over a plate of raclette and a glass of beer, enjoying the panoramic view.
Last night there were low clouds hovering over all these hills, leaving behind a dusting of snow at the higher elevations. We began our hike as those clouds slowly began to dissipate and the sunshine sparkled in the snow. Sadly, some clouds persisted between Bachtel and the Alps throughout our lunch, and just began to clear as we snapped a few photos and descended toward Wald. Fortunately the trails and pastures of the descent allowed many fine views toward the Glarusalps over the pretty valley town of Wald.
I certainly plan to return on some future clear-sky day! Check out the photo gallery. If you want to keep up with our adventures, click “Follow” at right.
We followed this description, and its gpx file. We made one slight detour (mistake). Our route ended up being 9.9km, 2.5 hours walking time. Tram/train/bus from home to Gibswil was about 50 minutes; from Wald to home was about 40 minutes.