July 02, 2008: Day 1– Excerpt
As we rode the train first to Luzern and then made the five-minute connection for the train to Meirigen, we saw the real mountains coming into view. It was stunning! Even having been here before, I can’t even get my head around how beautiful and majestic it is here. It still takes my breath away. Andy was loving it, too.
He’s probably never seen anything quite like this before—even though I have, it’s like the first time for me, too, because this time, I have to organize everything and get us from one place to the next. It will be an adventure.
Rode the train to Meiringen until the Brieg stop, then we (the other two Hasliberg couples as well) disembarked with the well-wishes of Margirit the Untours organizer, and climbed on the bus that would ultimately take us to Reuti. The other two couples are staying a town or two down, in Holfhof or something like that. I’ll check tomorrow. At any rate, Andy and I end up being the last Untours people on the bus, with a whole bunch of locals (or if tourists, German speaking-tourists). At one point, I really worried that we’d missed the stop, because it seemed like the bus was starting to go back the way it had come, but just when we started to panic and plan our backup steps(take the bus back to the trains station and then take the train to Meiringen, and take the cable car up to Reuti), the bus turned back down the way we were supposed to be going.
We finally got off at Reuti, but then we were left alone. The bus had apparently been a few minutes early, so the caretaker (Jacquiline Strieche?) hadn’t had a chance to get to the bus stop yet. But before she came, we had another little panic attack about what to do next, where to go, how to contact people, where we could find a phone, etc. It wasn’t “panicking” so much as serious “O.K. we’ll figure this out.”
Luckily we decided to wait a few minutes to see if she would come. She did, and we made our greetings, etc., and she and her friend led us back up to the Pollux. I used a bunch of the Swiss-German phrases I’d learned because it seems a waste to say in English what I could say in Swiss (such as, the Weather is Beautiful), etc, which it was, by the way. As I told Andy on the way up, “At least we came in on a clear day so you could see all this awesomeness, even if it gets all socked in tomorrow.”
The Pollux is just breathtaking. It’s unbelievable. Even 100x better than the pictures made it out to be, and the pictures made it look lovely! Our view is to die for, the apartment is not only pretty modern, but beautiful and simple. Andy and I just about fell over when we saw how amazing it was. It really is a fantastic place to stay—we both were almost giddy trying to communicate with Jacquiline. Her English is a little rusty, and my Swiss is atrocious, so I’m rather impressed that we managed to overall communicate. To tell the truth, her English, even rusty, is millions of miles ahead of my Swiss, which I’m starting to realize although incredibly useful (see below), it is completely insufficient for any kind of extended conversation.
After Jacquiline got us settled, Andy and I decided—after some discussion—not to try to squeeze in Riechenbackfalls today, since we were both jetlagged and it was getting later in the evening for the Swiss (it was about 4 o’clock by now), and we weren’t sure if there would be time to go down by the lift, go to the falls, actually SEE the falls, and then catch the lift back up. We haven’t been taught how to read that insanely complicated book of schedules yet, so we decided to play it safe and just walk a little around town. Jacquiline had pointed out a little grocery shop just a little ways down from us, so we dropped in there to pick up some supplements for the small food stuffs Untours provided in the apartment (which was exceptionally nice!). The lady who runs the place speaks—again—better English than I do Swiss, though perhaps not quite as fluently as Jacquiline. Then again, who knows? She just seemed more willing to trust our faulty German skills. She was incredibly nice and very helpful. We managed to scrape out a question about the wine selection (actually knowing that vise vie meant white wine and reuss vie means red wine), and what she would suggest. I used my catch-all phrase for the second time today: I understand a little Swiss-German, but not well. I’ve also been using “Ish guet” a whole lot, because it’s easy to remember, and because it fits my mannerisms—otherwise I’d just be saying “sure” or “that’s fine” or “cool” which doesn’t translate as well. We also picked up some lemon-citron icecream that looks exactly like something we got here when I was last here. At least, I don’t recall seeing it anywhere else in the U.S., so it must have been here.
Then, because of the heat, Andy and I headed back up to the apartment. It has been a difficult afternoon, because we’re both exhausted and want to sleep, but while I’ve been trying to fight it off by planning tons of things and looking and maps, etc., Andy has been accidentally dozing wherever he so much as sits down. I’ll call out “Andy wake up!” every time he disappears into the bedroom or up into the loft and the apartment gets really quiet. Then I’ll hear a groan and he’ll get up. He’s doing a little better now, mainly because he isn’t letting himself sit down or lay down. He took some more pictures, though which is great.
I still can’t get over our insanely perfect view. We definitely did not have a view even that good in Meiringen.
We ate around 6, cheese, bread, red wine, and jam. It was super tasty. Even though Andy disliked the cheese at first (he felt it tasted too much like parmesan (which granted, it did a little—it was very strong), once he realized it tasted very good with the wine, he ate a fair amount of it. The bread was absolutely divine, also. However, due to the lack of sleep and the fact that we haven’t been drinking much, the one small glass of wine each made us both rather dizzy and low and behold-! more tired. ^_^
Since then, we’ve just been trying to stay awake. I think tomorrow after the orientation, we’re going to try to hit up at least Riechenbachfalls and maybe the Aerschlucht if we’re really on our game. A hot berry Sunday sounds good now—it’s cooled off significantly from the swealtering heat of earlier. Reuti is still sunny, but Meiringen is probably in shadows now. Maybe we’ll try to watch Shrek 3, which the hostess has, in order to stay awake until 9. I think it will be a challenge.