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posts about ga tours.

some weeks ago, we visited the stanserhorn, taking up the “cabrio” cable car. up there, the weather was quite bearable compared to in zürich, where it was way above 30 degrees, though it was not as nice – it even rained a little. later, we took the ship form hergiswil back to lucerne.

we spent part of this weekend in zermatt.

on friday, we took the cable cars up to the top of the klein matterhorn, up to 3880 meters above sea level. it’s an amazing trip! unfortunately, we weren’t very lucky with the weather, and from a certain high on we were essentially covered in clouds. there also was kind of a snowstorm going on, which made it quite unconfortable on the outside:

(we didn’t walk up to the summit; without a ski mask it was not that much fun walking through the essentially horizontally flying snow…)

on the other hand, we walked a bit through illuminated glacier:

here are two photos from the trip down:

at least, it was possible to see something from there, even though we couldn’t see the matterhorn at all. but well, on the second day we got a glimpse. there were still some clouds around (and the klein matterhorn was covered by them a lot of the time), but this time we went up the gornergrat to around 3100 meters above sea level. up there, we had some really great views!

later, when travelling back, instead of taking the direct route via visp and zurich, we decided to follow the glacier express trail a bit by taking the matterhorn-gotthard bahn from visp via göschenen to andermatt, and then proceeded home from there. the last photos above are from that trip.

two weeks ago, we tried out the bernina express panoramic train from chur to tirano, and afterwards the bernina express bus to lugano.

the beginning of the trip, from chur to st. moritz, is similar to the last part of the glacier express train ride (starting in zermatt), following the albula line, and then follows the bernina line via the bernina pass to italy, peaking at 2253 meters above sea level.

we were lucky and the weather was (once again) quite good – which was quite some luck: on the day before, where we originally wanted to go but didn’t got a reservation, it was raining like crazy. the panorama carriages were once again nice, though taking photos is still quite a challenge thanks to the reflections which are almost always there. but hey, we were there to enjoy the views, and not to make great photos. (that’s for some other time. there’s a lot of beauty out there, for example the morteratsch glacier which we could watch while driving by.)

anyway. the second main part of the trip, the express bus from tirano to lugano, wasn’t as good as we hoped – i always feel kind of squeezed in a bus and am looking forward to leave it :-). the views were nice, but the next time i’d still skip that part.

yesterday, we visited the pizol. getting up was quite an adventure, though; we first travelled via train to bad ragaz, from where claimed bus 456 (a postauto) proceeds to the cable car station. unfortunately, as it turned out, the bus is only going during winter season. as we were waiting where it should leave, we noticed another small bus with “pizol” largely printed on it leaving at the designated time. the bus was hidden behind another postauto when we got out of the train station, so we only noticed it when it was leaving. since we weren’t the only ones standing at the postauto stop waiting for bus 456, we were a bit confused, and finally went to ask in the train station. turns out, they knew that the bus was still written on incorrectly and already passed the message on several times, but nothing happened. so we waited one hour for the next bus (walking would have taken around 40 minutes, but that’s not too much fun at over 30 degrees in the sun). well, when the (private) pizol bus finally came back, we also tried to inform the driver, who apparently never before heard about this problem. he also mentioned that from next year on, there will be a postauto also during summer… well, we hope that maybe now someone will put up a sign at the postauto stop that the bus is currently departing from somewhere else…

anyway, we finally took up the cable cars to laufböden, from where we wanted to walk the panorama trail (should be around 60 minutes). interestingly, the only sign up there pointing to the destination of the panorama trail said it would take 20 minutes. with no real different choice, we started walking that direction, until after 50 meters or so we found another sign, splitting up between the direct route (“standart-weg”) and the panorama trail. we continued the panoramic trail, though in the end we noticed we apparently screwed something up, as when we arrived at a lake inbetween, we saw that the panoramic trail leaving from there to our starting point left in another direction… whatever… anyway, we had a nice view, and up there the temperature was really nice and bearable. we also were able to put our feet into the lake, which was very refreshing. after circling the lake, we continued the trail to the pizolhütte where we had lunch, and finally proceeded down.

overall it was a very nice excursion, except that getting there (and also getting back to the train station) via public transport is apparently somewhat more complicated…

yesterday we visited the bernese oberland, to mürren. we first spontaneously took the cablecar up the schilthorn, known to many from the james bond movie on her majesty’s secret service. in fact, one terrace up there was built specifically for the film to allow a helicopter to land there. from the top of the schilthorn, one has a great view on the surrounding mountains, most prominently eiger, mönch and jungfrau. (a couple of years ago i was up there, visiting the jungfraujoch.)

afterwards, we took the cablecar back down to mürren, and took the funicular up to the allmendhubel. from there, we enjoyed the mountain view trail to the grütschalp train station. from the trail we had a great view on the big three mountains (eiger, mönch, jungfrau). it was a really nice hike with some diversion, from moorlands to ski slopes, forests to dry-stone walls and even some cows.

last weekend, we revisited obersaxen for a waffle party. (sorry, no photos of the waffles, but they were really tasty!) again, the weather was great, even though it was sometimes pretty cloudy and sometimes even showers came down.

i have to admit that i haven’t been really updating my blog for quite some time now, even though there was a lot i wanted to add. now that i finally have a bit of spare time, i want to add at least some of these things.

after being on muottas muragl, we continued to the other end of switzerland, namely to the small village of broc, where the chocolate producer cailler is located. there, we signed up for a course on making pralines.

we first drank a nice hot chocolate in the cafeteria:

after that, we explored the shop, before finally our course began. at the beginning of the course, we began to prepare the filling.

for that, we started heating chocolate (cailler cuisine of course ;-) ) with a bit of cream, and later added some butter. that was put into the fridge to cool down. while it cooled down, we took a look at the available garnishments:

(the alcohol should be added when melting the chocolate. we decided against it since you have to decide between all your pralines having alcohol or none.) after some time, we put the chocolate cream into an icing bag and created little heaps (i’m tempted to write turds – the similarity was quite obvious). these were cooled again, until we transformed them using our hands to balls. these were cooled down again, and we were provided with chocolate for the shell. (producing that one yourself is quite tedious work, since you have to invest quite some time to preserve the glossy look. i guess at cailler they have machines for that.) we then put garnishments into pots and started to produce pralines. here are some results:

the process of getting to this point was to take a ball of filling, put it into the shell chocolate bowl, turn it around there, extract it and bath it in the garnishment bowl:

afterwards, the pralines had to be cooled another time. we then were provided with packaging and decoration material:

afterwards, we went on a tour while our pralines were staying in the fridge. after the tour, you end up in a room where you can try all pralines produced by cailler, and you can eat as much was you want. finally, we picked up our pralines and began to return home. it was a great and tasty experience!

yesterday we were on an excursion, which led us from our home to some nice places between lake constance and schaffhausen with a final stop in baden before we returned home.

we first traveled to tägerwilen to look at a small design settlement with eight houses, where different materials were used. unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very great at that point, and it was not very easy to take good pictures there anyway… afterwards, we walked over to gottlieben and waited for our boat.

we traveled by boat on lake constance and the rhine to schaffhausen. the weather was still not great, it was cloudy, but at least it wasn’t raining. when approaching schaffhausen, the clouds started to rip apart.

in schaffhausen, the clouds began to clear up. we explored the old town a bit.

finally, we walked up to the munot, a fortification built during the 16th century. from there we had a great view – some of the above photos were taken from there or from the way up/down.

finally, we proceeded by train to waldshut to drink coffee, and continued by train to baden to eat dinner. at least, that was what we planned to do in baden. turns out that the city center is essentially dead from 6 pm on, except fast food “restaurants” or pubs. we had to walk quite some distance outside of the city center to find something to eat; we ended up in an italian restaurant chain near the kantonsschule. on the way back, two of us who had to travel westwards wanted to take bus 3, which would have allowed them to arrive home earlier than if they would take the later bus which would be perfect for us. bus 3 is supposed to leave at the same stop. unfortunately, unknown to us and also to google maps, apple maps, etc., there are two stops called “kantonsschule”. at the time we located the second stop on a map, their bus was already gone… really great. anyway, we eventually got back to the main station, and were able to depart in direction of our beds after this long day…

today, i did an excursion to the furka pass and the rhône glacier. i started at 05:45 in zürich, took the train to göschenen, and continued by postauto to the hotel belvédère.

from there, one can visit the ice grotto, a grotto hewn into the glacier. this was the first time i was inside a glacier, though not the first time being inside a artifical ice cave. there is a long twisted corridor, ending in a grotto. the walls often have lights inside, yielding spectacular effects. check out some impressions:

after that, i did a hike to the furka passhöhe. supposed to be a nice, easy hike, at least when you start at at the passhöhe. starting from hotel belvédère, the way is very steep in the beginning (instead of going steeply down at the end). here’s what my gps recorded for me.

the hike started at 2291 meters above sea level, climbed up to 2450 meters above sea level in around 700 meters, and peaked at 2486 meters above sea level near the end, and ended at 2427 meters above sea level after 2.97 kilometers. according to qlandkartegt, i climbed up 358 meters and walked down 222 meters during the whole trip. not bad for my training level… almost took me 2 1/2 hours. but it was really beautiful up there!

in case you want to do the trip in the same direction: the trail starts, seen from the glacier, behind the hotel. the sign is pretty easy to miss, and the trailhead is also easy to miss…

yesterday, i paid konstanz a short visit. here are some impressions: