Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trift Bridge - eek

After two days at Engelberg and the Gelmer Lake hike, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could still walk on day 3!  Let's head 'em up and move 'em out!

Today's destination - the Trift Bridge!
uhhh - where's the trail folks?

go Sophie go!

Swiss wildlife!

checking out Andre

getting sophs ready for her bridge crossing
I don't Sophie thinks this is such a great idea

Ellen and Alan holding on for dear life

i need practice at taking selfies


Come visit!

Hiking (aka suriving) around the Gelmer Lake

Discussion with the Hotel Dude:

Me and Ellen:  We're planning to do the Crystal Hike tomorrow.  Can we get there by bus?
Hotel Dude:  Yes you can but the bus only runs 4 times a day.
Me and Ellen:  Huh.  Well then.  Is there another hike you can recommend?  That's mega cool but easy?
Hotel Dude:  Totally.  You should should take [the world's scariest ever] furnicular up to the Gelmer Lake and hike around that.  It'll take you about two hours [and possibly cost you your life].
Me and Ellen:  Okay great!

First of all, the Gelmer Furnicular is at a 106% gradient.  Yikes.  It was originally built to haul materials up for the dam.  Now, in true Swiss fashion, you can pay some money and take it up for fun!

here are the tracks up the mountain

and here's the furnicular that takes you up!

The Swiss do not mess around with their hiking.  Here's the description on the website regarding the hike we did [with commentary added]:  Trail is not necessarily fully visible [no kidding]. Some parts maybe secured with ropes or chains [thank goodness]. Maybe [definitely] you need your hands for balance [or you will die]. Some parts with exposed crash hazard, scree plots, trackless [what the heck is a scree plot?].

Here we go!  Follow the white-red-white markers!

we just started and i can barely see the trail

even with the fog, it was still amazing

one wrong step and splash!

seriously?  this is the trail?

white-red-white - and under the rock we go!
thank goodness for the cables!


coming down the mountain

That was just our morning adventure!  In the afternoon, we headed to the city of Meiringen to see the Reichenbach Falls where Sherlock and Moriarty met their ends.

Sophie enjoying her hike

the falls
looking back toward town from the top

Andre hiding from the spray   
couldn't resist
  Come visit!

Summer activities in the snow? totally possible!

We had friends visit!  Which always makes us way more fun than we are by ourselves.

For our first stop, we headed to Engelberg to play in the snow!

For future reference, I recommend that anyone that goes to Engelberg do the activities in the following order:  Ice Flyer Chair, Glacier Park, Cliff Walk and/or Glacier Cave.

The Ice Flyer Chair is just a fancy name for riding a ski lift during the summer for which you have to pay an extra 12 CHF.  As it happens we shared our ride with a man, his wife and son and we got to talking and I mentioned it was a bit of a rip off to pay the extra 12 CHF just to ride a ski lift during the summer.  Apparently he's one of the owners of the company that runs the whole place.  Open mouth...insert foot...  :)

It was fun to be up in the snow during the summer.  There were tourists slipping and sliding everywhere.  The ladies in their sandals were particularly entertaining.

It was a gorgeous day.

We stopped halfway up to have lunch with an awesome view of a lake in the middle of the mountain. 

the view at the top
Enjoying the Ice Flyer Chair!

The Cliff Walk is at 9,900 altitude and it's totally awesome

Ellen and I surviving the Cliff Bridge Walk

Solo selfie at the top!

Group Selfie!

I don't even know.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It was all Greek to me!

Couldn't resist.

So, we went to Greece this week.  We flew into Athens and spent about 4 hours before heading to the island of Syros.  4 hours was long enough to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Parthenon!  And almost die of heat exhaustion.  Geez.  Especially since it was probably about 60 degrees in Zurich when we left in the morning.  Andre was actually wearing a light jacket on the way to the airport.  We felt like we stepped off the airplane and onto the sun.  It made for some great photos though!

The Temple of Olympian Zeus
construction completed in 2nd century AD

the detail on the columns was really impressive

The Parthenon
completed in 438 BC

detail of the upper left corner
a view of the entire structure
Looking at the Temple of Olympian Zeus from the Parthenon
There is so much marble in Greece that even the walkways are marble

hey y'all!
After our whirlwind tour of Athens, we hopped on a ferry to head to the island of Syros.  For the last 10 years, the island has hosted the Festival of the Aegean which is a cultural festival that puts on various concerts and performances over a 10 day period in July.  This year, Faith's choir, the Highland Youth Ensemble, was participating in several of the concerts so of course, we had to pop down to visit.

We arrived late at night on Wed so we couldn't really see what was going on.  We woke up on Thursday morning and looked outside our window to see the gorgeous Aegean Sea.

We spent Thursday touring the island and eating delicious food.

the city of Hermoupolis
Lunch at Plakostroto with an amazing view

this guy just jumped right up on the table like he owned the place
On Friday, Andre and I spent most of the day in the water.  We bought ourselves some flippers and snorkels and went and checked out the fishies!  That evening, Faith had a concert at the St Nikolas Church which is a Greek Orthodox church from the late 1800s (I think...).

The choir performing

some after performance pics
On Saturday, Andre and I went swimming again in the morning.  How could we resist with this water???  We saw lots of colorful fishes and even saw an octopus!  We spent the rest of the day exploring the island again and eating some more!

a church in the town of Vapori
if it weren't a bajillion degrees, i would totally move here
It was a short trip and we'll definitely have to go back again! (in Dec...)