Account of travels across the world. This blog provides descriptions of travels in different parts of the world. Pictures related to many of the blogs can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/7330879@N05/ and for more information I can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 30, 2004
Since we had dropped the idea of going to visit Mt. Titlis and with the weather being really gorgeous on this day, and having used up our rail pass days, it was decided that we would drive to Grindenwald a small village on the way to Jungfrau. The drive was unhurried and pleasant and we stopped by the lake once and watched an old man take a solitary bath in ice cold water. We stopped for coffee once too and eventually went through Interlaken to hit the mountain roads again and travel up towards Grindenwald. The drive went by a stream and the scenery was really nice. Stopped on the way to walk in the meadows and take pictures and eventually reached the village and drove up to a point where it was possible to take a cable car up to a restaurant. Went up there and had lunch in the mountain restaurant. Then took a small stroll and Bebo and Mikku also got to do some tobogganing. It was a relatively relaxed visit; we then took the cable car back to the village, drove to the railway station and took the cog railway back up to Klein Scheidigg. Thankfully there were no Bajaj today. Spent the afternoon watching the Jungfrau, Monch and Eiger and generally sitting in the meadows. Evenetually, took the train back to Grindelwald and drove back to Meriengen and had dinner at our favorite restaurant. It was the last night in Meiriengen and the Bernese Oberland. It was also the last night that everyone was healthy.
July 1, 2004
I got up with a head cold and decided to go for a short walk to the computer place and catch up on the e-mail, then I also had my pastry and coffee, but was feeling pretty miserable. For most of the morning just kind of hung around the station and stores. Also managed to drop my well-trusted Motorola phone that I use in Asia and Europe and destroyed the display on it. The phone, however, continued to work fine! Got a contact from Terry Dumansky our graduate students and planned to meet up later in the day. When I got back to the room Mikku too was not well and since she had a cold for some time we decided to start her off on the antibiotic. When we travel I always usually carry two doses of antibiotics, but this time I had come with one (usually use a broad-spectrum thing like Doxycyclin 100 mg, 2 on the first day and 1 for 7 more days) does so since she really needed it we decided to start her on that. I decided to wing it. We left from the hotel around noon and stopped back at the tea room for some more coffee and did a little bit of souvenir hunting at the stores. It was also a slightly rainy day and eventually left Meiriengen around noon-thirty and headed towards the South via the Grimsel Pass. This was a treacherous route and with the fog and the rain it was really interesting trying to negotiate endless hair-pin bends as we slowly made our way up to the top of the Grimsel Pass at about 7,000 feet. It was a set of glaciers we were crossing and the outside was just amazing with the snow, permanent ice, and the fog. There are four major passes in Switzerland ?St. Gotthard, Stuten, Grimsel and Furka. Between our trip in 1990 and this one we have now crossed all the passes. After crossing the pass the road winds down to the valley and this was familiar territory as we drove through Brig and Visp and the meadows of the valley. Nearly 14 years ago Mikku and I had spent a day at one of these small villages that we were passing through. Eventually we got on the highway towards Sion and Martigny. This now took us towards the French part of Switzerland and very quickly everything changed. The architecture was different, the people spoke differently when we stopped for coffee and the behavior was different. This was within a difference of about 100 miles from German-Switzerland where we were all these days after leaving Lugano which was Italian-Switzerland. Anyway, we passed through Martigny and decided to stop for the night. We checked out a small hotel by the railway station in the village of Stembercher. Mikku was not very excited by the fact we were next to the railway station. Anyway, we decide to try the hotels in Verbier. It was another treacherous drive up the mountains to the resort town on Verbier. It was about 6 pm by then. As it turns out, being a ski-resort, hotels in Verbier were closed in summer except for a couple of really expensive ones. However, someone suggested we try the old village of Verbier and see if there the old Hotel de Touriste was available. We started our drive down to the village. The little restaurant with the hotel was open but they said that even though the hotel was open the owner might have gone for a night out and could be back late. We decided to wait a little, Mikku had a soup and I had a drink and Bebo had some bread. By then we were tired and both Mikku and I were sick. Since the owner did not return in 30 minutes we decided to climb down into the valley and reached the same old hotel by the station. Looked much better now!! We got a room there and it was interesting that it was like a suite with two rooms and so Bebo had his own room. But the shower stall was built into the bed room and we had to use the public WC as is the tradition with these small European hotels. The owners were OK but spoke only French ?one language I do not know and Bebo was a little help (after some French at school) with ordering the food and water. But the price of the food was high. Anyway, we were tired and sick by then and eventually called it a day by about 10:30 at night.
July 2, 2004
We decided to sleep in a little on this day. It was a really clear and nice day. Eventually after the breakfast we left from the hotel around 11:00 in the morning. We had decided to meet up with Terry in Martigny and so drove to Martigny and I was also able to get a new phone there for only $80 which was an excellent and inexpensive replacement for the broken Motorola. Terry and we then had lunch at tat Kebab place and after lunch Terry left for the station and we started our drive towards Chamonix-Mont. Blanc. The day was nice and the drive was pleasant except both Mikku and I were not feeling too well. We crossed into France and soon reached Chamonix. This is a well known tourist town with the Mont. Blanc towering over the village of Chamonix. We got into a really nice room at the Hotel Valle Blanche with the room overlooking the L Arve River. It was early afternoon when we got there. After resting a little in the room we decided to stroll around the town some. Mostly cafes and souvenir shops but that was fine and fun to do. Finally got back to the room and I got food from McDonalds for everyone and we decided to go to bed early too since we were all tired and still nursing the cold and my fever.