August 18/19 (Days 1 and 2)
Woohoo, it is vacation time. More importantly, it’s time to see Mark again. We’ve been missing each other a lot lately. This time we are going to vacation in Switzerland. Here’s a short run-down of our itinerary:
1) Bernese Oberland, specifically Grindelwald. Last time we were here we spent a week in this area before heading to Italy and loved it so much we had to go back. There are lots of hiking opportunities as well as the Jungfrau and Schlithorn – two snowy mountain resorts.
2) Lake Lucerne, specifically we’ll be staying in Brunnen. This is central Switzerland and an incredibly popular area for tourists to come, though Brunnen is off the beaten path a bit. We plan to do some canoeing, vising either Rigi or Pitalus – two mountain top resorts, some biking, and visiting medieval Lucerene.
3) Appenzell – small village in northeastern Switzerland known for being traditional and behind the times, making it a great place to visit. More hiking opportunities here as well as a cheese factory, lots of cows, and a folklore museum.
4) Chur – specifically the tiny town of Thin in southeastern Switzerland. Here we plan on hiking and maybe rafting on the Ruin Aulta which is a great gorge in the area.
5) Riederfurka – Mountain town only accessible by cable car in south-central Switzerland. There is amazing hiking in the area including a hike across a suspension bridge that overlooks a famous glacier.
6) Zermatt – home of the Matterhorn where we hope the weather will be beautiful enough for views of the Matterhorn.
We are so looking forward to this trip. The beginning of our trip is almost identical to the last time we were here, and we are actually quite excited about visiting the same areas again.
So, today I boarded my flight. I’ll fly from Houston to Paris, Paris to Marseille, and then we will take the train into Switzerland. Mark flies from Annaba, Algeria to Marseille to meet me. Unfortunately the Houston storms rolled in this afternoon and my flight ended up being delayed about an hour departing Houston. I knew right away that I would never make my connection in Paris because I only had a one hour layover which isn’t enough time already to make a connection at CDG.
The flight itself was mostly uneventful, though the first two hours was full of crazy turbulence that had the flight attendants seat-belted in the whole time delaying our dinner. They yelled on the intercom to anyone who dared to stand up. Thank goodness, the turbulence finally died off so we could eat and I could go to sleep. Also, our flight was FREEZING cold. Even the guy next to me was shivering as we wrapped ourselves in blankets. Still, after getting only 7 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, I was able to sleep just fine and stayed asleep until breakfast.
The flight attendant came by during the flight to alert me that they have already switched me to the next flight to Marseille leaving at 1:10pm instead of the prescribed 9:30am. I was disappointed of course, but I already knew that I’d miss my connection. It was nice of them to put me on the next flight already so that when we arrived in Paris I just had to pick up my new boarding card and not be worried that I wouldn’t be able to get on a plane. Late August is high travel time in Europe and especially France. Everyone takes their holiday in the month of August.
So, in Paris and with time to kill, I was able to go to the train station and change our 1:44pm train to Bulle to a 5:10pm train to Geneve. Also, I booked a hotel in Geneve for the night since we’d never make it to Bulle and our booked hotel. Mark and I were able to communicate as well and he spent his free time relaxing at the Marseille hotel pool. Sounded lovely actually.
Finally, I arrived in Marseille and we had plenty of time to catch the train to Geneve. The train ride was long with a change in Lyon, but we did make it to Geneve by 11pm and pretty much checked into the hotel and fell asleep. Oh, it is so nice to sleep in a prone position again! We’ve had a little change in plans, but nothing we can’t easily handle. This was actually a pretty easy change and doesn’t affect the main part of vacation so we are both happy.
And tomorrow we will tour the parts of Switzerland on the way to Grindelwald where our rented studio apartment is waiting for us. We look forward to it. Also, the weather here is abnormally hot for the area. It’s in the 90s during the day and many places don’t have a/c. Actually many of the trains didn’t have adequate a/c and we sat through some uncomfortable train rides. Maybe our first places to visit will be the snow covered mountains so we can cool down. I didn’t come to Switzerland for Houston weather. =)