Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

By Claire
One of the things we discovered immediately upon entering Switzerland is that it is expensive. Diesel is about €.10 more per liter than anywhere else (Germany is pretty high too, though). But, they let you pee for free. I suppose it has a psychological effect, making you think, “Gee, what a great country. I don't have to pay to pee!” Fortunately, we were able to knock down the price of our campsite to €29.12 (from €33.88) by getting the “more than 3 nights” 10% discount plus the 10% discount for having a CCI card (Camping Card International). I went to some trouble getting that card. It’s only available through the Canadian Auto Club and I paid $20 for it. It was one of those things lost in the robbery. However, I was able to email them and a very nice woman wrote back with a scanned copy of our card attached. The campground here accepted that and even printed out a copy for us so we can use it in the future. We've mostly been using our ACSI card so it hasn't been too big a problem.

Another thing we have discovered about Switzerland, and Lauterbrunnen in particular, is that everywhere you turn, you see something beautiful. Their cemeteries are the prettiest I’ve ever seen with more flowers than any others.

Lauterbrunnen (many fountains) is a compact village with everything we could possibly need, including a very nice Coop grocery store. ATMs are everywhere, including our campground. Finding them is often a challenge when we first enter a country with a different currency, but not here.

Covered bridge from our campground


Although we have found that May was not really the best time to come to Switzerland, we have enjoyed our time here, even with the disappointment of not being able to go up higher into the mountains due to snow and fog. It has also rained a fair amount, mostly at night. I think July or August would have been much better; maybe even September. If we had it to do all over again and didn’t have the 3 month limitation of the Schengen Agreement, we would go straight to Switzerland from Holland in September, then back through France and on to Italy, following the rest of our itinerary. Maybe next time.

We love the animals with the bells around their necks ringing. Poor things, that would drive me nuts. They probably wonder who is ringing that infernal bell all the time.

Dignified (notice this one does not have a bell)

Undignified (baa...baa my ears are ringing!)

I’m continually fascinated by how they live in Switzerland with the threat of avalanche. This “fencing” must be to prevent them.

As we stroll through town, I love looking at the older homes and the gardens everyone seems to put such care into.

1889 House

Gnomes–a popular theme here

Flowers and vegetables, what a great combination

Flowers—does anyone know what these are called? They look like little Chinese lanterns

Wood—I love how neat and tidy these small logs are organized

Tomorrow morning we will put things back in "driving" order and head back to Germany to visit the Black Forest for a few days. We can really feel the winding down of our time in Europe. Before we know it, we'll be in England!

Stitched with silver-white
The twilit mountain ridge
Holds the last spring light.
~ Kato Koko


Karin said...

Hi Claire and Chuck,

Those flowers are called Bleeding Hearts. Just checked Google and the same picture came up, so know I am correct. My mother use to have them in her garden.

Switzerland is really beautiful. I have heard from others that it is very expensive but so glad you could "pee" for free! (You can "pee" for free on Paros too, in the main town, but they are Turkish squat toilets, most people would rather pay and get a decent one! Ha, ha.

Anxious to see/hear what you think of the Black Forest. Be sure to heat some Black Forest" cake. Yum, yum!

Karin on Paros

Chuck and Claire said...

Thanks for the name of the flower. They are very definitely heart shaped. I wonder if I can grow them at home. Thanks for the tip about Black Forest cake, one of my favorites. I completely forgot about that. Sounds like we'll just have to go out for coffee and cake.

Elisabetta said...

Those must be "Mom Flowers" because my mom also loved them, they're native to Connecticut.

I was in a wedding outside of Zurich back in, I think, summer 2003... our host joked that in Switzerland, "even our dirt is clean!" Do you guys not find all that pristine orderliness a tad OCD? (That's obsessive compulsive syndrome.) While I'll admit to being one who alphabetized her spices for the logic and convenience of it(when I had that many!) there's a lot to be said for random beauty, no?

This spring I found wild roses and irises on my mountain, and with a borrowed, squared-off shovel, was able to transplant Nature's beauty to my front porch pots! They survived, yay!
Stay warm, and remember, the remainder of ur journey is still months longer than most folk ever hope to have! Elle*

Chuck and Claire said...

Gosh no, didn't bother me at all. It wasn't THAT clean. It's just interestingly different from some of the other places we've been.

Chuck and Claire said...

Um, if OCD means constantly clean bathrooms with heated floors, great showers, and all the accoutrements of home, then yeah, I'll take pristine orderliness. I found random beauty all around me--the animals, the snow on the mountains, the carpets of wildflowers--what's not to like?

Carol said...

C & C--just getting back to your blog after being with my Mom. I recognized your flowers instantly, Karin is correct. The common name is bleeding heart, the genus is Dicentra. They are a plant that likes a lot of water. They would not do well in Davis unless you have a cool, shaded portion of your garden, that receives a fair amount of water. You find them growing in wooded areas back east. They are beautiful and have been hybridized as well.