Our hiking friend, Ermanno, entertained us along with his lovely wife and two children at their home in Zurich. We talked about lots of ‘getting to know you’ things over our delicious Italian antipasto of rockmelon, prosciutto, mozzarella and other treats. Our ‘pasta’ experience continued from days just past, as our conversation wandered off into our individual stories: hiking, exercise, religion and language. Hugs, and a promise to catch up again somewhere in the world ended the pleasant evening.
The next morning, Roland and Rosmarie confirmed our watches were correct when they collected us right on time. Friends from our walk in Italy last year, it was great to see them again and to meet their lovely daughters. Our conversation, as you might imagine, was hiking inspired, as it moved in and out of our recent adventures. The next morning a bush track took us through forest shadows, across small creeks, and past conglomerate rocks, (a mixture of odd shaped stones and gravelly material indicative of glacial movements in the past). It was hard to believe that we were in the midst of a large, international city, without the sight or sound of a motored vehicle.
The streets of Zurich guided us along the centrepiece lake and past some of the town’s special icons. A sausage at a famous street side venue (where Roger Federer has a victory snack), was a pleasant interlude as our Zurich walk wound down. We revelled on our wander through the old city, ate the famous Sprungli chocolates, and took a tram up the gently sloped hills to our new home with our friends in Zurich and a very tasty pastetli dinner.
A warm morning and we took a train to another walk. Uetliberg is a substantial range of hills that looks back on Zurich and forward to associated cantons. A high viewing tower allowed us to capture a better sense of the wider city as it meandered around this affable hill. A superb Voltini for dinner, followed by a night at the opera Lohengrin, (four hours of opera with one failed marriage attempt, a marriage that ended when the groom turned into a duck, and just one death). However the opera was superbly crafted as was the engrossing theatre house ceiling frescoes.
Yesterday’s bush walk and hill trail were only warm ups. A car ride started our third day and our first mountain hike. Mount Rigi was the queen of them, and 1800 metres of it challenged me more than I had expected, after all I was a seasoned hiker. But keeping up with the Swiss is a different matter. No wonder they don’t eat breakfast, they eat up mountains instead. While there were a few respites along the way, they became less and less as the final ascent had no such favours. The gift of huge lake views and mountain vistas was a fitting reward for a long morning’s walk.
It was to have been a downhill stroll to our ferry but time was against us if our Lucerne adventure was to be completed. This glorious medieval city with its stunning fast flowing energy-providing river under stunning covered wooden bridges only increased our appetite for more. After aperitifs on the river’s edge and fine dining of ‘gshnetzles’ (veal and rosti), another glorious day was over.
But the Grand Zurich tour was not yet over. After my forth perfectly boiled egg (courtesy of Roland) and tasty croissant, Rosmarie took Corrie and I to the magnificent Rheinfell waterfall. It was as though we were suspended in front of this huge wall of water, just a cool spray away from its torrential contents, due to the cleverly designed viewing platforms.
A rest day, you might call it, with a famous Swiss Bratwurst at its closure with our generous and delightfully entertaining Swiss friends. Our 70-day Swiss adventure was sadly over.