Monday, July 5, 2010

Switzerland is Beautiful! (Day 3)

Base of the Cablecar, About to Start the Hike

Alpine Flowers

Hiking along the Rinderberg trail above Gstaad


At the Farm House

You Know Who

Laura and Michael

Lunch at Horneggli! Above Gstaad

Fondue with a View!

Going Down








Day 3, another early start to the day as we decided to venture to the Berenese Alps in Switzerland for some more great hiking. We headed for the holiday region of Gstaad which is composed of ten cottage villages. The actual town of Gstaad is a fabulous chalet village and world famous chic resort where the rich and famous come to play – Jack Nicolson is a regular visitor, Roger more has a private chalet, and Roman Polanski is currently on house arrest.

We began our hike at the mountain station of the Rinderberg cablecar that starts out in Zweisimmen. Rinderberg is the ideal introduction to the largest skiing and hiking area in the region. With more than 105km of ski slopes in winter and enticing high altitude and mountain ridge hikes in the summer.

The hike began with an uphill climb and then leveled off into an undulating mountain ridge which offered up some absolutely spectacular panorama views. Let me just say that Swizterland is beautiful! Everything is so picturesque!

All the summer alpine flowers were in bloom so the hills and mountains were covered in a blanket of colour. The summer months is also the time when the farmers move their cows up from the valley into the alpine mountains to graze. As a result, there are a plethora of farm houses scattered throughout the mountain ranges, many of which are without electricity. Some of these farm houses, especially those near hiking paths are open to visitors and hikers who wish to stop in and purchase some of their local fare – milk, cheese, sausage. About halfway through our hike we came across such a place, we knocked on the door and were greated by a jolly heavy set german speaking swiss mountain girl with short brown hair who repeatedly used the phrase “yaaa yaaa”. We bought some cheese and trockenwurst and continued on our merry way.

As we walked along the mountain ridge and took in the incredible vistas of craggy mountain peaks and emerald green hills we also had the pleasure of enjoying the symphony of cow bells that would waft and resonate up through the mountains and valleys.

We stopped for lunch at an alpine restaurant near the end of our hike for a fantastic meal. Since we were in the German part of Swizterland the entire menu was in, you guessed it, German! I dont speak a word of German so I left the ordering up to Laura and Michael. We ended up feasting on a delicious plate of bratwurst with rosti (a swiss dish consisting mainly of potatoes), wine and the best fondue I've ever had in my life!! It was fondue with a view!! I have no idea what kind of cheese they used for the fondu, but I'm guessing it was probably a mix of two or three local cheeses. It was so good, the perfect swiss alpine lunch!

With our bellies full of wine, cheese and sausage we began our decent down the mountain. Michael had to take a different route back to catch the train back to the car. We then headed into the beautiful town of Gstaad for a wonder about and to peruse some of the shops. No purchases today.

We finished off the day with dinner back at home, a delicious salade de chevre chaud, more wine and of course great company and conversation. A fabulous day!