July 3, 2008 — Day 2: Excerpt
It was only about a 1 km walk (it was labeled on a sign like everything here, that’s how I know) to the Aare Gorge (Aareschlucht) from Riechenbach. We thought about taking the little railway tram that goes to it, but I was getting my second wind, and I was enjoying the exercise. This was when we discussed how we wanted to speak other languages, and how we were kind of glad there weren’t more American tourists around, as we both concurred that they are the most annoying (the loud, almost shouting slow English at people, as though that will help; refusing to speak a foreign language; finding cultural differences (like small fridges) annoying, etc.). This was about when we decided to work a little more on our French, since Andy’s had six years and I’ve had five (both include individual years of 7th and 8th grade, which technically is only French 1 together). Besides, we’d been relying on that for all written instructions and signs anyway.
We bought our tickets (ouch, another 15 francs together) and headed off on the trail. We actually went the opposite way as my family did the first time through the Aareschlucht, from the restaurant (where the path lead us) to the other end, which seemed to make sense since the numbers of the attractions were actually going in the right direction (1-13). Andy really liked it, and I loved it too. We spoke a lot of the time in French when we could manage it—Andy speaks French better than I do, but I can usually understand what he’s saying and respond accordingly—and English when we couldn’t.
At the other end of the gorge, we were really warm (because we went from the really cool, damp beginning of the hike to the end, which was muggy and hot) so we bought a previously-known-as Solero Shots! It’s not called Solero Shots anymore—starts with a C I think—though there were Solero popsicles, so the company is still around, just maybe sold the drink part. It was a lovely walk down memory lane, and Andy enjoyed it. Then after another brief pit stop, we headed down the road toward the sign that said “Aareschlucht Ost” which strangely led us down across a foot bridge over the river Aare to a solid rock wall with a handle-less door set into it. It looked like a utility tunnel, or like something the DARMA initiative (LOST) would have. I noticed that the sign next to the door said something like “stops on demand” and Andy noticed the buttons, one with an arrow pointing upward with the words “Aareschlucht Ost” and one with a down arrow with another town name under it. He hit the one with the up arrow and the button lit up. I tell you, it was like Riven. We stood and waited, not moving, and then all of a sudden (which again, was vehicular luck or divine intervention) there was a cool gust of wind and the sound of a train rushing past the open window (which we didn’t realize was open behind the meshing until then) and then the handless door slid open with a hiss, revealing the open doors of a train. We boarded, showed the conductor our ticket (which thankfully covered the cost), and off we went, zipping through the tunnel back to Mieringen.