Friday, 1 July 2011

Switzerland 2011 - Heading for the hills

I had arranged to meet my friend at the main train station in Zurich at 10.00 am on the day after I arrived in Switzerland. We were taking the train to the Graubunden region for a few days holiday - to inhale the clear mountain air and generally benefit from being away from it all. After one hour of waiting - and wondering - my friend turned up exactly one hour late, at 11.00 am(!), all smiles and pleased to see me! She had absolutely no idea that somehow, somewhere, she had lost one hour of her life that day; she was convinced she was on time and for the rest of the holiday she tried to figure out where those 60 minutes had gone! This set the pattern for what was to become days of poor timekeeping on our part and missed opportunities. Somehow we had lost the ability to read timetables properly and to set our alarm clocks correctly. We seemed to have flicked our timekeeping switches to snooze mode! But we were on holiday - isn't that what we're supposed to do? Not according to Swiss transport timetables if you want to go anywhere I'm afraid!

Switzerland has 26 cantons and 4 languages, Swiss German, Swiss French, Swiss Italian and Romansch. We were heading for the canton of Graubunden where a small number of people still speak Romansch - which I believe it is still taught in school - though only at primary level. We took the train from Zurich to Chur, the capital of Graubunden. We changed trains at Chur to the waiting train which wound its way to Ilanz; as we journeyed we were entertained by the beautiful countryside, lakes and mountain views.   From Ilanz, the waiting PostBus took us the remainder of the way to the mountain village of Obersaxen, winding its way upwards, to around 1300 metres - each train and bus synchronised to meet with the other - such luxury!

Having travelled this way before I didn't feel inclined to grab photographs of every detail - we friends hadn't seen each other in a year so lots to blether about! But the blethering had to stop when travelling through  my favourite part of the journey - the spectacular Rhine Gorge.  This area is known as the Swiss Grand Canyon and the landscape is breathtaking.

Very much an area for taking to the outdoors - on the water

on foot



The beautiful aqua colour of the glacial waters.





Stopped at Trin to pick up some thrillseekers.




At Ilanz - carriages await.  Take your pick!


Winding our way up into the mountains.


When we finally reached our destination we opened up the house, our home for the next 5 days, folded back the shutters on each of the windows and doors took a deep breath and and these are the vistas that we would delight in each and every minute - fantastic!

From my bedroom


From the balcony


From the living room




Or so we thought! 

As it turned out, it seems I had picked the worst week weather-wise to visit Switzerland.  The previous two months had been wall-to-wall sunshine apparently - and then I arrived!  

The following day - all day - looked like this


Great!

Reminded me of home and the 'summer' we had been having....!