Switzerland - Day 14, Tuesday, June 13, 2000
Today began with our now standard climb up the hill to the train station where we caught the 9 AM Inter City train to Interlaken Ost. If it hadn't left a couple of minutes late we would not have made it. The next train left at 9:07 so missing the one at 9:00 would not have been a big deal.
We sat among about seven college students from the US who had just arrived in Switzerland from France. I overheard one of the four guys sitting across the isle from me commenting on his awe about how the mountains rose straight out of Lake Thun. I thought to myself "you ain't seen nothing yet."
At Interlaken we quickly walked from track 2 to track 5 to catch the train up the valley to Lauterbrunnen. On this train Geri and I sat with a two ladies from Western Australia. When we told them that we were headed to Turkey after Switzerland one of the ladies asked me how she could get information on Meli's tours. Of course I gave her Meli's web site address.
At Lauterbrunnen we caught a bus further up the valley to Stechelberg where we caught a cable car up to Gimmelwald.
After walking around tiny little Gimmelwald which clings to the side of a mountain at about 4,500 feet we caught another cable car on up to Mürren which sits at 5,400 feet above sea level. Mürren is a much bigger burg than Gimmelwald and caters to far more tourists.
Just as we arrived at the Gimmelwald cable station to go to Mürren three young American girls from the Philadelphia area came into the station all out of breath and a bit upset. On their way down the hill from where they were staying a guy jumped out of the woods, butt naked except for hiking shoes and a blonde wig. They said he was playing with himself while running toward them. They screamed and ran even though they had very heavy backpacks.
This water trough sits on one of the main thoroughfares in Gimmelwald.
Carolyn and Geri pronounced all three girls cute. I agree but one of them was very pretty. She's the one who said "I'm 23 years old but I want my mommy and a hug, and I want to cry right now." Geri gave her a hug and she was well on her way to crying when a lady walked up to learn some of the details about the "event."
Apparently the lady had been their host, landlady or whatever while they were staying is Gimmelwald. It soon became clear that this guy was well known in the village. The lady was soon off to call the police. She indicated that the guy had never touched anybody but obviously he has sure scared some. The lady said her 9-year-old had twice seen the guy exposing himself.
We ate lunch as soon as we arrived in Mürren, where we met a couple from London. They have friends in South Carolina near the Georgia line (Augusta) and had visited them in March. They said that London is not so wonderful as it used to be, and is not as safe.
Mürren is the highest village (5,450 ft) in the area that is occupied year round.
We then walked around for about an hour, buying a bit of lace and a pair of salad tools. At 2:25 PM we caught the cable car back to Gimmelwald and then on down to Stechelberg for the bus back to Lauterbunnen. A lady in an electric wheel chair was on the car with us. She said that she has some trouble with the trains, she doesn't always get help. Maybe it is because she hasn't called ahead. We have seen a special lift for people in wheel chairs. Unfortunately regular access to trains is not designed for something other than feet. The 15:05 train took us back down to Interlaken Ost where the 15:40 train got us to Spiez about 16:00.
A quick walk down the hill got us to the apartment about 4:15 PM, in time to have our non-carry-on bags ready to take to the train station to be checked. Our landlady, Erika, was to be here at 4:30 to take our bags and us up to the train station. She we already here when we arrived.
We quickly zipped up and locked our bags, which we had packed early this morning. Carolyn's bag is checked through to Washington and ours are checked through to Istanbul. This leaves me a little nervous. I hope I have everything I need for the next two days. I hope our bags are waiting for us in Istanbul when we get there Thursday evening. (It was!)
Today dawned bright and clear. The weather was wonderful while we were up in the mountains. Right now, just before 6:00 PM, it's thundering like crazy and raining a little bit. Make that a lot. And with the sound of the church bells tolling the hour at 6:00 PM, Spiez is certainly giving us a dramatic farewell.