No reason for me writing today, but I know you would all be bitterly disappointed if you didn't hear from me. I had an afternoon flight from Copenhagen to Zurich. Since the flight was in the middle of the day it pretty much shot the whole day. Not enough time to do anything in Copenhagen this morning and by the time I got settled in Zurich it was too late to do anything here.
It was cold and raining when I left Copenhagen but it was sunny and 75 degrees when I got to Switzerland. Flying time was only one hour and twenty minutes to get here. Below is a picture from the flight. I assume that is Southern Germany in the picture.
It was a two minute walk to my hotel as I am staying at the Radisson Blu which is in the Zurich airport. It wouldn't have been my first choice of where to stay but this is the hotel used on the first night of my Swiss rail tour which begins Sunday. So I decided to stay here so I wouldn't have to move later. The tour company was able to get me a good rate on the pre-nights as well. It is a very nice hotel. There is a six-story wine rack in the atrium. I can watch the planes take off and land from my room.
The hotel is connected to the airport via an underground mall. All kinds of stores, restaurants and shops. Train station is there as well. 13 minute train ride to central Zurich. Everything is very convenient. One of the nicest airports I've ever seen. I have arranged a couple independent tours for Friday and Saturday before the tour begins Sunday. I'm praying for good weather. The forecast for the next few days looks good. I will spend a total of 12 nights here in Switzerland and then fly home.
I began my day with breakfast at the hotel and then I took the train into central Zurich. Below is the main train station.
I had a tour leaving at 11:00 so I got to town a little early so I could walk around town a bit.
Zurich is a beautiful city. It's the largest city in Switzerland but not a huge city, only 350,000 people.
Today I journeyed out into the countryside east of Zurich. My first stop was in the town of Rapperswil.
Above you can see the castle up on the hill behind the town. The picture below was taken from the castle of Lake Zurich. It begins here and extends all the way to Zurich about 40 miles northwest.
It was a beautiful drive through the country. Weather was almost perfect, sunny and warm but there was a little haze which reduced visibility of the mountains in the distance.
We stopped in small villages and towns throughout the day. I don't remember the name of the one below.
Next I knocked another country off my bucket list, Liechtenstein. This is the twelfth and final country I will be visiting this trip. Liechtenstein is a very small principality between eastern Switzerland and western Austria. In the picture below you can see Vaduz Castle overlooking the capital city of Vaduz. The castle is still home to the Prince of Liechtenstein who will be celebrating his birthday next week.
Below is the government building of the tiny country.
Our last stop of the day was Heidiland. Below his her original house. Not sure how a fictional character has a real house but this is supposedly it.
And below is the beautiful countryside around Heidiland.
It was a nice day. I will be heading back into the alps again tomorrow. Forecast looks good so far.
I had a great day today. I had breakfast at the hotel and then took the train in to central Zurich like I did yesterday. Today I took a small group tour into the Alps. We traveled over 300 kilometers in the course of the day. The small group was nice. There was just eight of us plus the guide who also did the driving. Yesterday I went east and today I went south. Below is a picture of our first scenic stop, Lungerersee Lake.
As you can see from the picture above weather was great again today. Notice the nice green color of the lake. When we got higher in the mountains the lakes where a gray color, almost white. We traveled over Brunig Pass (1008 meters) to the Bernese Oberland (highlands). Our next stop was at Aare Gorge where we had lunch and then walked through the gorge.
Most of my pictures in here didn't come out too well. The sun shining on the white water through the narrow opening of the gorge over exposed most of the pictures. It was a two kilometer walk through the gorge. It got very narrow in places, not more than a meter wide.
Next we ascended through wild landscapes to Grimsel Pass (2165 meters). What looks like a bridge in the center of the picture below is actually the top of a dam.
The picture above was almost to the top of Grimsel Pass. The picture below is on top looking the other direction.
Our next stop was Rhone Glacier. We had to drive through about 1000 switchbacks to get there as you can see in the picture below.
Below is the Rhone Glacier, which is receding rapidly. It probably won't exist for much longer.
Below is the ice cave we walked through. I didn't spend a whole lot of time in there. I didn't bring a coat and it was a bit chilly in there.
The picture below was taken from the glacier. You get a better view of the long winding road.
Our last stop was in Schollenen Gorge with its legendary Devils Bridge at the base of St. Gotthard Mountain. It was impossible to photograph. I couldn't get far enough away and it was also into the sun. Below is the best I could do.
It was about a two hour drive back to Zurich from here. It was a beautiful drive all the way back. We drove past one segment of Lake Luzern. I don't remember the name of the town in the picture below.
We also passed beautiful Lake Zug.
It was an excellent day. The small group tour was really nice. When we got back to Zurich the streets were jammed with half-naked drunken teenagers. They were also all over the train that I took to get back to the hotel as well. I walked through about a dozen cars trying to find one where there wasn't a party going on. I never did find one. I got back to the hotel a little before dark. I love Switzerland so far, but you would not believe the prices here. And the exchange rate doesn't help. When I was planning this trip many months ago the exchange rate was almost even. When I got here I only got 70 cents on the dollar.
Have a good weekend everybody,
It was another nice day here in Switzerland. A few more clouds today but still very nice. This morning I visited Rhine Falls which is north of Zurich on the German border. Below is a fortress very near the falls.
Rhine Falls is the largest waterfall in Europe based on the volume of water going through it. The falls were right into the sun so I couldn't get a decent picture.
I took a boat out to that little island in the middle of the falls. Out there about 100 people try to cram into a little platform on top of the rock. There's room for about 6 people.
Below is a picture from the top of the rock.
The trip only took a couple hours. This afternoon I joined up with my rail tour group. Not a very big group, there is only 18 of us. We'll be together for the next seven days as we travel throughout Switzerland on the scenic Swiss trains. The first thing we did was a short tour of Zurich. Unlike the other people in the group I have already been here for four days, so we didn't visit anything I hadn't already seen.
This will be my last day in Zurich.
Below is Lake Zurich.
I'm staying in very small mountain chalets the next three nights. St. Moritz tomorrow and Zermatt on Tuesday and Wednesday. Not sure if I'll have Internet access or not, so if you don't here from me for a few days don't send out a search party.
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