A Very Swiss 4th

July 21, 2010 at 8:37 AM Leave a comment

We have had an adventurous past few weeks. For the 4th, instead of staying around post and grilling, we packed up the car and headed down to Switzerland for camping. We stayed at the same campsite (in Lauterbrunnen) we went to last year for Labor Day. This go around, we bought all our camping equipment instead of renting. Now, it’ll be much easier to go camping whenever we want.

Camping was the perfect getaway. I really needed to get away from work for an extra day or two, and Switzerland was perfect for relaxation. The only downside was the heat. I can’t believe it was as hot as it was even in the valley. I don’t know exactly how warm it got, because my cell service does not work outside of Germany, but I’m guessing it was at least in the upper 80s. (Note: Through the magic of the internet, I just found out that the temperatures ranged from 61 to 88 while we were there. Pretty warm for the Alps!)

We drove in Friday evening and even though it is just under a 4 hour drive, we hit the worst Stau (aka traffic jam) that we have even been in. The Autobahn was gridlocked for miles and it lasted about 2 hours. People were getting out of their cars and walking around ON the Autobahn. It was that bad. Needless to say, we ended up arriving at the campsite much later than we had planned. Unfortunately, this meant that we pulled in after dark. Setting up a campsite at night was a first for me. The only light we had was the little LED lantern we had bought. It was extra fun considering we were using a brand new tent, so we weren’t entirely sure of the directions.

After about an hour (maybe a little longer), everything was set up. The process would have been more expedient had we been setting up in the daylight, but c’est la vie. It was very nice to wake up there on Saturday with a full day ahead of us.

I can’t remember what our activities were on each day, so I’ll just break it down in bullets:

  • We went on a two hour bike ride with Béni. It was his first time to come along with us on a bike ride, and he did a great job. By the end, he was so tired, and he spent the rest of the day napping.
  • We saw a few cliff jumpers while on our bike ride, but we saw disappointingly few cattle. Last year, there were cows everywhere we looked. I wonder where they all were this year.
  • We went on a summer luge, called a Rodelbahn, up at Pfingstegg. Picture a long metal slide, and you get to ride along the slide with its twists and turns while sitting on a little luge-like cart. I was such a wimp and held the brake so much that it took me nearly 2 minutes longer to ride it than it took John.
  • After riding the luge, we decided to go for a hike. It wasn’t optimal considering we were both wearing flip flops, but I’m glad we did it. We hiked for a little over an hour and saw some breath-taking sights. Our hike took us opposite the face of the Eiger, with views of several large waterfalls. Unfortunately, my foot got stabbed by a loose fencing wire just as we were ending our hike. Luckily, it didn’t draw blood, but it sure did sting!
  • We toured Trummelbach falls, which provides the sole drainage for the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains (ie glacial and snow melt as well as rain water). The water has carved it was way through the inside of the mountain, where there are 10 separate places where the water falls lower. We got to tour through it all and thoroughly enjoyed the natural air conditioning. The water flows through there at about 20,000 liters per second. The water flow is incredible!
  • We grilled for the 4th of July. However, it took us until the mid-afternoon to realize it was actually the 4th. My watch has to be manually set for the date whenever the month has less than 31 days. We spent the first half of the day thinking it was the 3rd. Oops! So yeah, we grilled for dinner. Unfortunately, it started raining shortly after we got dinner going. While John finished grilling, I worked to move everything inside our tent and set it up for dinner. It was very relaxing to sit inside and listen to the sound of the rain hit the tent.
  • We went to Interlaken one day but only ended up staying about an hour. It was dreadfully touristy, and we couldn’t take it. The smaller towns around our campsite were much more charming and enjoyable.
  • Our last evening in Switzerland, we had planned to go out to eat. Around 6 o’clock, we headed to a nice hotel in town with Béni . The host or server (not sure which) seemed annoyed that we didn’t have reservations. He sat us at a table that was reserved at 7:30, so we had to be done by then, which is really pushing it and we didn’t want to rush. When our waitress came up, we asked if we could move to a table at the end of the row that wasn’t reserved. She told us that our dog would be in the way there. John told her he wouldn’t and moved us anyway (go John!). She was thoroughly annoyed with us and no one was dog friendly. Come on now, this is a camping/outdoor rec-based town. How can you afford not to be dog friendly? Everyone takes their dogs places here as well as throughout most of Europe. We sat down at the new table and she asked us what we wanted to drink. There was no drink menu (at all – not even sodas) in the food menu, so we asked for a wine list. She dropped one off and not even 60 seconds later, she returned and said “Tell me.” John and I were so insulted. We told her we needed a minute, and when she left, we decided that we weren’t about to pay these people for a nice evening out. We got up and left and ended up eating at the restaurant at our campsite that was much friendlier toward Béni.
  • Speaking of the campsite’s restaurant, they have one of those Cow Parade sculptures, and as we walked in, Béni got spooked by the “cow” and his hair stood on end as he growled and barked. Luckily, the other diners on the patio thought it was as funny as we did. Because of his fear of the cow, we ate inside FAR away from the scary cow.

We headed back to Heidelberg on Tuesday morning. As we were packing up, my obligatory camping injury occurred. Our neighbors refused to follow the strict campsite rules of keeping their dog on a leash, and their small dog wandered over to our campsite. Béni was recovering from a pretty uncomfortable blister on one of his paws, so we were trying to keep him resting. I immediately walked over to Béni as I saw the other dog approach, and I grabbed his collar and put one foot on his leash, which was a metal line encased in plastic. Béni got really excited and pulled so hard that the line wrapped around my foot and tightened. I am still healing from the cut, which (sorry for the graphic nature of this statement) was oozing for days. If I put a bandage on it, it would end up ripping the scab off when I changed bandages. Fortunately, it is now well on its way to healing and I no longer walk with a limp.

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Entry filed under: Our Goings On, Travel. Tags: , , , , .

‘Til Gabriel Blows His Horn The Couch Chronicles

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