Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where I hiked in the Swiss Alps September 8, 2009

Words can not describe the beauty of the Swiss Alps. I can say after hiking for approximately 8 hours, my feet were killing me and I had 4 blisters. I wouldn't trade any one of them for the views I saw.

We began our day from our 'hotel' in Lauterbrunnen and hiking to Wengen. This was a tough, the toughest section of the day, all up hill for about an hour and a half... I thought I was in shape, but I am not. We hit Wengen and decided to take the tram to Mannlichen. The tram went straight up the mountain. From Mannlichen we hiked to Klein Scheidegg and had lunch there. From there we hiked back down to Wengen and then took the train back to Lauterbrunnen. This section is the Junfrau region. I am guessing we hiked about 14 KM, which is about 22 miles. The hills are gorgeous. We got to hike thru a pasture, right past the cows, all of which do where the swiss cow bells making the hills alive with music. What an experience. I can't wait to head back to Switerland. After hiking all day, we headed into Interlaken to meet a very dear friend, Rebecca Titz, who lives in Zurich. She took a 2 hour train ride just to meet us for dinner. It was so great to see her. I last saw her in the spring. After dinnner it was back to Lauterbrunnen for a good nights sleep!

Hiking The Swiss Alps, September 8, 2009

September 7, 2009: Basal and Lauterbrunnen Switzerland

The drive from Mannheim, Germany to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (where we were staying) was only a 4 hour drive. We left Mannheim around 6:00 AM... really early. You would never know that we were only going for 3 days by the way my younger brother, Chad, packed... As compared to the one small backpack I took...
We did stop in Basal Switzerland for breakfast and to walk around for a bit. First stop was a bank so that we could all get the Swiss Francs. Everyone pays cash for everything in Europe, which I thought was great. There are ATM's everywhere. While in Basal we stopped at the Raushaus, which is similar to the city hall. Also know as the Red House or the Rat's House. I personally think Rat's House fits very well for politicians. hee hee hee. We also visited an amazing Cathedral where we were able to climb up the bell tower and over look the entire city. We climbed up over the bell as well. The church has a gorgeous and very unique patter on the roof. I believe it was the Rhein River that ran thru Basal. We finally arrived in Lauterbrunnen about 2:00, and couldn't check in to our room until 3:00, so after parking the car we walked to a cafe to have lunch. I was amazed at our room, absolutely cute and darling...It was probably a 9 x 9 room with 2 sets of bunk beds, that were not a full size twin. My feet hung off the end and I am only 5'9. There was also a small shelving/closet unit and a tiny desk. This little room was quite pricey as well, almost $200 a night, but worth every penney. It had a communal bathroom, including showers. I felt like I was staying in the dorms again. I also had to pay for hot water in the showers. It was half a franc for 4 minutes of hot water (about $0.50) and again after hiking around, worth every franc. After checking in, we off to walk to Trummelbach Falls. The waterfalls drain the water of Eiger, Monk, and Jungfrau glaciers ... over 20,000 liters of water flow from the waterfalls per second ... and the waterfalls are the only glacier-waterfalls in Europe that run inside a mountain and are still accessible. We had to take a lift inside the mountain ... very similar to a mine shaft to reach the middle of the waterfalls ... then we were able to hike around tunnels to see different sections of the waterfalls. It was really really cool. After the supposed 20 minute walk, according to the desk agent at the hotel, which actually took 2 hours round trip, we headed to Interlaken for dinner. On the walk back, we discovered a playground, which the boys enjoyed immensely. Dinner in Interlaken was fantastic. What an exhausting day! But worth every minute. Switzerland is absolutely gorgeous!

Trummelbrach Falls, Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, September 7, 2009

Basal, Switzerland September 7, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Speyer Germany Sunday September 6, 2009

Day 3: Heidelberg, Germany

What a gorgeous city! On Saturday September 5, 2009 it was off to Heidelberg via train! Heidelberg also has a great shopping street that I loved walking as we headed to the Heidelberg Schloss (Castle), a definite landmark. The castle is amazing, what a structure. There was several very large vats of Wine and a gorgeous garden. The garden is the perfect place to take a blanket, a picnic, a good book and good company. While were were there there were several brides. I must admit it would be a cool place for bridals, a wedding reception and to get engaged... Very romantic. The pictures do not do it justice at all. On the shopping street, I picked up a book about Germany, a watch, a carving of the castle, postcards and a small bag.

Lunch was eaten at Vetter's in Heidelberg. It is a Brewery that brews 33% beer, which is huge compared to Utah's 3% beer. Vetter's is where I ate my first traditional german meal... Brautwurst and Sauerkraut and the american Diet Coke. A glass of water was just as expensive as diet coke, so I had the soda.

Saturday night, my younger brother had decided to have some of his church friends over for a small party. It was great fun to meet some more of Chadder's friends. We ate and watched Hitch. After Hitch the decision was made to watch a scary movie, so in went The Grudge 2, which was perfect. Chad had cracked his balcony door and then excused himself. At the most perfect point in the movie Chad snuck out on the balcony from the other bedroom and he hit the door into the living room, those on the couch all screamed and jumped. It was so funny.

Heidelberg Germany, 9-5-2009

Mannheim, Germany September 4, 2009

So... Day 2 in Germany and it was decided to stay in Mannheim for the day, which is where Chad lives. What a great little city. We visited the Marktplatz, the Water Tower (Am Wasserturm), The Paradeplatz, the Schloss which was turned into a Universitat, and the Hauptbahnhof (the train station). In Mannheim they have a fairly large shopping section of which had several H&M's Stores, a WoolWorths, Markets... Wow. Chad wanted me to familarize myself with downtown so that the days he had to go into work I could head downtown and shop... I have to admit it was a bit confusing, I had no idea what was east or west or north or south and living in Utah that is a bit of a challenge. Their downtown is done on the grid system, but it is different. It is a letter number system. Each block was a letter and each space/business was a number. For example the sushi restaurant we ate dinner at was at Q12 downtown. On our way into town we stopped and ate breakfast at a little card called Cafe Fellows. I had the best bagel I have ever eaten. It was great to just sit and eat and relax. There was no hurry at all. I was amazed at how everyone smokes over there. The cafe had a nice none smoking section and a smoking section as well as outdoor seating. Fun little tables, chairs and couches gave it a homey feeling. After touring the city and doing a bit of shopping, buying sunglasses and Chad buying a cell phone cover and an aweseom ring, we just walked and walked and walked. I love that aspect. They have an amazing public transportation system and everyone walks. Honeslty in the 12 days I was there I think I saw maybe 4 or 5 obese people, everyone else was slender. Friday night it was off to sushi, my favorite food. I was honestly amazed that my younger brother would eat sushi. Growing up all he would eat was applesauce and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches... then here he is enjoying raw fish and seaweed with me. We met some of his friends for dinner. I enjoyed their company, but it was strange not being able to understand much of what was being said, due to my lack of understanding of German. I have decided it would be beneficial to take a german class before I go back to visit again. Friday night I crashed again after a day out on the town. I fell asleep watching Mamma Mia on the couch. Enjoy the pics!

Pictures from Mannheim Germany Friday September 4, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wurzberg, Germany Slideshow!

Wurzberg Germany and the flight over...

I recently had the opporunity to travel to Germany to visit my younger brother. I flew out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday September 2nd. The flight from SLC to NYC (JFK) was smooth and relaxing, I had the time to read a Mary Higgins Clark book. On the flight from NYC to Frankfurt was a different story. I had taken some dramamine, the drowsy kind, with me so that I could sleep on the 8 hour flight, knowing that I would not sleep when I arrived in Germany. So after dinner on the flight I took my dramamine and put the headphones to sleep. Not ever 20 minutes later we hit turbulance, and not minor turbulance. The plane all of a sudden took about a 45 degree dive to the left. Had I not had my seatbelt on I would have been ended up in another seat. The pilot immediately came on the intercom and told everyone to sit down and buckle up. I honestly thought we were going down. I began the "death bed" repentance and began being very grateful that I knew how to swim and that my seat cushion was a floatation device because we were over the Atlantic. The turbulance went on for about an hour and much for sleeping. I arrived in Frankfurt at 9:00 AM, after 18 hours spent in airports and in the air! It was all worth it. After picking up my luggage, and meeting my brother, we were off to Wurzberg (I didn't even get to shower, oh well. My brother took me to see the Bishops Residenz, what a gorgeous building. We took a tour of it and then walked around the gardens. We also walked thru the town and ate at an absolutely darling and tasty cafe. I learned that a Diet Coke is a cola light... ina cola light grosse is a large diet coke... That phrase came in handy. It was strange to me because I would hear the german and not understand, but I would think in spanish... It was great going out for meals there, because you were never rushed thru a meal. I loved that. We headed back to Mannheim that evening, just in time for a bit of rush hour. I was exhausted but so glad to be visiting my brother. It was great and smart for my brother to not let me sleep. It helped with the jet lag and sleeping amazingly well that first night.

My brother's apartment is great. I was amazed to learn that when you move into an apartment there it is an empty shell. When my brother moved in he had to put in all of the light fixtures, the kitchen cupboards and everything. There was nothing there. Literally when you move out you take everything with you including the kitchen sink...

Emjoy the picutures... more stories to come...