NORTHERN NETWORKSSuttons Bay Panorama

 

 
 
 

Link to Home Page
Link to Seasons of the Leelanau book
Link to page About Sandra
Button to Articles page
Link to Gallery page
Link to Links page
Link to Guestbook page
Link to Sandra's Europe Blog (active)
 


Sandra's Swiss Photo Collection 2007 / 2008

 If you want to see the diaries of my other trips to Switzerland,
please
click here for the first trip (spring winter 2007)
or
here for the third trip (winter 2008 - 2009)

 Panorama of the Sargans Basin
Panoramic view of the Sargans Basin, with the mountains of the core area of Heidiland right in the center.

 

The page covering my first trip to Europe was kind of a diary, a pretty huge one. My second trip was even twice as long timewise, so I think it's better to tighten things up a bit. No week-by-week logbook here, just photos with captions plus a few comments in between. That's still way enough work.
 

Getting there and settling in

It was late October when my sons, Forrest and Cameron, took me and Laddie, my service dog, to Chicago for my second flight to Europe. Laddie, always terribly afraid of walking on smooth, tiled floors, had to be carried around at O'Hare Airport. I guess that was a very funny sight.

Anyway, he made it across the pond in one piece. After all, as a service dog, he is allowed to travel together with me in the cabin, not in a cage in the freight compartment below. Funny enough, at Zurich Airport, with equally smooth floors, he walked around as if he never had had a problem. Joerg, who picked us up, got quite a kick out of that.
 

Walenstadt harbor park
One of the parks near Walenstadt harbor. Joerg says
our Michigan fall is more colorful because of the red
sugar maple leaves, which were all gone when I crossed
the Atlantic, by the way, while here autumn was still
in full swing.
 

Lake Walen seen from the park
The northern shore of the lake seen from the harbor
park. We spent only one day in Walenstadt before
we drove to Tarasp in the alpine Engadine Valley,
where the Rothenbergers have their wonderful vacation
home.

Laddie at the lake
Laddie quickly adjusted to the new environment.
 

Appartment buildings on Lake Street
Apartment buildings on Lake Street next to Joerg's
practice.
 

Tarasp I

Two days after arrival, we drove up to the Engadine.
 

Waiting at the Vereina tunnel
Waiting at the Vereina RR tunnel. You drive right onto
the train, which takes you about 12 miles through the
mountain in 15 minutes.

 

Arriving in the Engadine
At the southern end of the tunnel. There are two
such piggy-back trains per hour in each direction, plus
one or two passenger trains without motorcars.
 

Golden larch trees
Driving down the Engadine, the golden glow of the
larch trees was awesome.
 

Larches amidst green pines
Larches are deciduous conifers, so in autumn they stand out
amongst their dark green pine siblings.
 

First glance of Tarasp
A first glance of Tarasp Castle across the valley from
Ardez.
 

Driving down the ravine
Such constructions protect the roads from falling rocks.
 

Laddie frinking water from the fountain
Laddie drinking the fresh and very cold water from the
little fountain right in the front of the house.

Piz Pisoc in the evening sun
 The Piz Pisoc range in the evening sun, seen from our
front door.
 

Sunset on Piz Clünas
Last sun rays on Piz Clünas.
 

Evening clouds over the valley
Clouds in the sunset glow.
 

The weather was gorgeous.. It displayed the colors of alpine fall in their full glory. Valatscha, the little settlement of Tarasp where the family's house is, was almost empty. There are eleven farm houses, ten very old ones, most of them built in the 17th century, and the new one of Arthur Netzer and his family, built about 30 years ago. Arthur, Helen and their son, Marcus, run a farm that covers most of the area that formerly was cultivated by ten farmers, including Arthur's late dad. Then there is Marietta's home. Her late husband, a physician, had goats, pigs and the like. All the other former farm houses are used as vacation homes only, owned by folks from the lowlands like Joerg and his brother Richard.

The Netzers were there and, of course, Marietta too, but the other homes were empty. We talked a lot with Marietta, whom I admire so much. She is as active and chipper as can be, closely in touch with her relatives and friends all over the world, and she still heats her big house with wood, which she hauls in from an outbuilding, and that in her mid 'eighties. She also looks after most of Valatscha's vacation homes when no one is there. Some people call her to tell her that they will arrive in a day or two, so she goes and heats up their home.  
 

Marietta at her front door
Marietta welcoming us at her front door.
 

Valatscha Main Street
The narrow little street in front of the house.
 

Looking east from the end of the street
Looking east to Piz Pisoc from the sunny corner in the
previous photo.
 

In the Valatscha ravine
 Valatscha and the northern mountains seen from the
road in the Valatscha ravine.
 

Road in the ravine
I still freak out when Joerg parks his car in such places.
 

Chaposch and the castle
 Chaposch, the nearest settlement on the road from
Valatscha to "downtown" Tarasp.
 

Old fountain in Chaposch
An old wooden fountain in Chaposch.
 

Tarasp Castle from the road to Fontana
Tarasp Castle seen across the Zuort ravine.
 

The northern range seen across the Inn gorge
Looking down the Zuort ravine and across the Inn gorge.
The village on the other side is Ftan.
 

Up-valley view from the sunroom
The view from the sun room in the Rothenberger's barn up
the Engadine Valley, i.e. westward.
 

Valatscha from NW
Looking eastward from the Valatscha plateau to the Pisoc
range. The settlement is already in the shade of the
mountains.
 

Me talking to the cows
Yes, I do talk to all sorts of animals, not only horses,
and sometimes it seems they do talk to me too.
 

In spring there's a pond here!
On the edge of the Inn gorge. In spring there is a pond
in this little hollow.
 

Sunset behind a wooded crest
Sunset behind a wooded crest, much earlier than in
flatter areas.
 

Valatscha from W
Valatscha (center) and Tarasp Castle seen from the little
road to Aschera.
 

Huge puffball mushroom
Believe it or not, this is a mushroom. It is even edible
when young enough. This one was too old, though.
 

Wow! Never saw such a thing!
Never saw such a huge mushroom before. It's
aptly called a puffball.
 

The Rothenberger's barn
The barn of the Rothenberger house.
 

The living room
The big double door from the living room into the barn.
 

The dining room
The old dining room, formerly also living room.
 

Me sleeping on the couch
Taking a nap on the dining room couch.
 

Joerg grilling steaks in the fireplace
Joerg grilling steaks in the fireplace.
 

Roasting chestnuts
Chestnuts roasted over the hot embers, what a delight!
 

Joerg sharing chestnuts with Laddie
Laddie waiting for his share.
 

The old center of Scuol seen from Main Street
View from Main Street in Scuol into the S-charl Valley
and the National Park.
 

Hotel Belvedere
After a slight turn to the left on the same spot you see
the Lischana range.
 

Saying good-bye to Marietta
In Marietta's living room before our departure
back to the lowlands.
 

Various trips and events in the lowlands

Even down in Walenstadt, fall wasn't over yet. Laddie and I enjoyed exploring the parks on both sides of the little harbor.  

Lake Walen
Late afternoon at the lake.
 

Laddie in the park north of the harbor
Laddie in the northern park.
 

Fall colors in the northern park
Walking along the northern lake shore.
 

The shore of Walenstadt
Looking back to Walenstadt.
 

Our Thanksgiving dinner
Our Thanksgiving dinner, with pumpkin soup and chicken
instead of a whole turkey, which is difficult to find in
Switzerland.
 

My desk at the living room window
My desk at the living room window, facing east, with
morning sun.
 

Looking NE from my desk
A whole heap of snow already in November. Joerg said
he had never seen such in almost 60 years. He told me
to shoot some photos because this might be the only snow
all winter, due to climate changes. This is the view from
my desk, by the way.
 

Looking SE from the same place
View from the same place, just looking a tad more to the
right, across Lake Street to the old winery.
 

Maria and Laddie outside of the practice
Maria, Joerg's assistant, with Laddie at the
parking lot of the practice.
 

Old barn in the neighborhood
An old barn at the other end of the meadows
behind the practice.
 

Fountain at the harbor
A fountain on the southern lake shore.
 

Diving board platform covered with snow
The diving platform off the southern beach.
 

Laddie at a park bench
Maybe it's a bit too cold to take a rest on the bench.
 

Laddie loves the snow
Laddie enjoys the snow.
 

View down the lake from the little wooden bridge
Looking westward over the lake from a little wooden bridge.
 

We spent a weekend in Roggwil with Richard, Joerg's brother, Brigitte, his wife, and their kids and grand-kids.
 

Helene & Brigitte
Helene, Richard's daughter, and Brigitte in the old dining
room, age unknown, between 200 and 300 years or so.
 

Sunday walk in Roggwil
Sunday walk with the family.
 

Sheep grazing outside Roggwil
Sheep grazing next to the road to Roggwil.

Gorgeous farm of Hahnberg Castle
This gorgeous farm is part of Hahnberg Castle north of
Roggwil.
  

Brigitte with her grandkids
Brigitte having fun with her grand-daughters
 

Last coffee chat with Claudia
Claudia, Joerg and Maria. Claudia resigned to become
a full-time mom.
 

The regional Railroad Amateurs Club celebrated its 35th anniversary with a big exhibition in Walenstadt, with almost 1000 visitors. As you may remember, Joerg is a member of that crazy bunch.  
 

My special friend at the reception desk
My "special friend", Hansruedi, at the reception desk.
 

Exhibtion of the RR Club in Walenstadt
Model trains all over the place.
 

Landwasser viaduct of the Rhetian RR
An exact model of the famous Landwasser viaduct, built
by a club member and active RR engineer.
 

Model of the Rhine Gorge
Model scenery of the Rhetian Railway line in the Rhine
Gorge (Grisons).
 

The US RR department
Yup, there were American trains too!
 

A paradise for kids
A model fairground.
 

Bruno Wolf at his milling machine
Bruno, a retired boat builder, at his milling machine.

Steam engine gear made by Bruno
One example of Bruno's work, every detail is hand-made.
 

Just a few days later, Claudia gave birth to Baby Yannis. Of course we visited them at the local hospital.

 

Claudia & her mom with baby Yannis 
Claudia with the baby and her mother.
 

Me & Yannis
Holding the baby evoked old memories.
 

Notfall-Lift means emergency elevator
I got a kick out of this, but in German it simply means Emergency
Elevator.
  

Snow on the peaks behind the practice
The practice building seen from Lake Street. Within a few
days, the snow down here disappeared.
 

Vineyard north of the practice
Some snow remained at elevations above 3000 feet.
 

Laddie in the vineyards
Laddie on one of our daily walks around the
neighborhood.
 

Sheep in a vineyard
Sheep in a vineyard, used as organic movers, sort of.
 

In early December we again visited Richard and family in Roggwil.
 

Talking to Helene's Halflinger pony
Helene showed up with a Haflinger pony for some bare-
back riding with her kids.
 

Helene riding back to the stable
Helene riding back to the farm. Haflingers are a half-Arabian
mountain workhorse breed, originally from South Tyrol.
 

The farm of Lialiane & Wieland Bärlocher
The old farm of Wieland and Liliane, specializing in all
organic production.
 

The horse & cattle stable of the farm
Yana, Helene's younger daughter, in the farm yard. Horse
stable on the left, cow stable on the right.
 

A pony and a cute little donkey
Ponies and a donkey in front of the stable.
 

A calf lapping water from the tap
A calf lapping water from the tap.
 

Helene taking Leia for a little ride
Yana's first horse-back ride.
 

Helene & the kids coming back
Coming back to the farm after an hour or so.
 

Joerg's cousin Doro and her mother invited us for dinner in Buchs.  
 

Cousin Doro, me & Aunt Dorothy
Doro, me and Aunt Dorothy.
 

Aunt Dorothy & Joerg
Aunt Dorothy, 91 years old, and Joerg, somewhat younger.
 

Joerg's cousin Doro
Cousin Doro, whom I already met in Zurich in May.
 

One evening, Joerg took me to the Flumserberg skiing resort just a few miles south of Walenstadt.
 

Walenstadt seen from Flumserberg
Shade in the valley, evening sun on the northern peaks.
 

A closer look
Looking down to Walenstadt.
 

View from the Flumserberg skiing resort
View from Flumserberg up the Seez Valley into the core
mountains of Heidiland.
 

Trailer park Swiss style
Trailer park, Swiss style. In this country, no one except
a few Roma permanently lives in a trailer. These trailers
were converted into little vacation homes.
 

Tarasp II

Briefly before Christmas, we drove up to Tarasp again.
 

 Me and my wool blanket  
The house was very cold after six weeks
without heating.
 

 The old wood stove  
The 400 year-old wood stove in the dining
room is operated through this hatch in the
kitchen.
 

 Dressed up for cooking  
Cooking our first dinner in winter gear, with an electric
space heater by my side.
 

Mantel with X-Mas decoration  
I decorated the mantelpiece for Christmas.
 

 Ice sculpture in the fountain  
Ice sculpture in the fountain across the street.
 

Little get-together in front of the store  
Little get-together with mulled wine and other goodies in
front of the little grocery store in Fontana.
 

 Tarasp Castle in the snow  
Tarasp Castle seen from the grocery store.
 

Looking up the valley from the road to Scuol  
Up-valley view from the road between Tarasp and Scuol.
 

 On the road, looking across the Valatscha Ravine  
The little road leading from Fontana through Chaposch to
Valatscha.
 

Looking back on the little road to Valatscha  
Looking back to Chaposch and the castle from the
same spot.

Going into the ravine  
Going into the Valatscha ravine. This is the part I fear so much.
 

The little bridge in the ravine  
The little bridge in the Valatscha ravine.
 

Laddie in the ravine  
Laddie on the way from the bridge to Valatscha.
 

Getting into Valatscha  
Getting out of the ravine into Valatscha.
 

Brigitte andRichard, Helene and Marcos and their daughters, Leia and Yana, were coming to spend New Year in Valatscha. But briefly before their arrival, we had a technical problem. There is only a small washer, tucked away in an unheated storage room. For using it, you have to drag it to the kitchen and connect to the tap and drain pipe. The machine was pretty cold when we used it, and the tap water is only 38 degrees in winter. As a result, a solenoid valve got stuck, and more than three gallons of water poured out onto the kitchen floor. And that only a few hours after I had washed the floor!  

Anyway, the family eventually arrived and the whole house, usually very quiet, turned into a bustling bee-hive.

Over the holidays, Valatscha was in the full shade of the mountains. No sunshine despite clear weather. Only the upper floor of Marietta's home got about three minutes of sunshine at noon.
 

Flood in the kitchen  
Clearing the mess in the kitchen.
 

Raclette dinner with the gang  
Raclette dinner with the family on New Year's Eve.
 

My apple pie  
My apple pie.
 

Laddie & Richard at the fireplace  
Laddie loves Richard.
 

Cheese fondue for two  
Cheese fondue dinner for two after the family went home.
 

Laddie frolicking on the road  
Laddie frolicking on the road to Aschera.
 

First hint of sunshine after two dark weeks  
The last few days brought a tiny bit of sunshine at noon.
 

Sun on the house!  
Yeah, that's all we got...
 

We drove back to Walenstadt a week after New Year. There was still no snow down there.  Before the mid eighties, there would have been a foot or two, Joerg said.
 

Down below again

In Valatscha, I had caught a very bad cough from the kids. For weeks I could barely leave the house.
 

No snow way up the mountains  
Snow only on the peaks above 6000 feet.
 

January 19 was Joerg's 60th birthday. He thought that was nothing special. "If man had eight fingers instead of ten, no one would make a fuss about such a date," he said.

When Richard invited us over for dinner on that Saturday, Joerg smelled the rat. He said I better don my formal black dress since Richard and Brigitte most likely had invited all relatives they could get a hold of.

He was right, but he didn't know I had been involved in laying that plot too...

We had a great dinner at the Shanghai Restaurant in Arbon on Lake Constance. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet some more of Joerg's relatives.
 

Joerg & me  
I had begged Joerg to trim his beard, because I knew what
was in the pipeline, however he refused to comply.
 

Birthday dinner: Brigitte, Richard, Elisabeth & Regula  
Brigitte, Richard, Elisabeth and Regula (two of Aunt
Dorothy's four daughters).
 

 Aunt Dorothy & Cousin Doro  
Aunt Dorothy and Doro.
 

Regula & Joerg  
Tony (well, just a glimpse of him), Regula and Joerg.
 

All organic stuff from the cousins  
The birthday present from the Spörry sisters: A big box with
all sorts of purely organic produce of the region.
 

Tarasp III

We spent the first weekend in February (Carnival down in the lowlands) in Valatscha, my last stay in that wonderful place maybe for quite a while.
 

Street in Ftan  
A walk in the streets of Ftan, the village on the sunny
plateau right across the Inn gorge from Tarasp.
 

View from between the houses in Ftan  
Looking down to Tarasp from Ftan. The castle is pretty
close to the center of the picture.
 

Rabbits and sheep in Ftan  
Rabbits and sheep in a shed beside the street.
 

Ftan from the west  
Ftan seen from the west.
 

View across the Engadine Valley into Val S-charl  
Looking into the Plavna Valley south of Valatscha.
 

Looking down to Tarasp  
Overview of Tarasp and the Lischana range.
 

Tarasp Castle seen from Ftan  
Just in case you didn't spot Tarasp Castle in the previous
picture.
 

Valatscha is somewhere down there!  
The Plavna Valley on the other side of the Inn gorge.
Valatscha is close to the center of the photo, barely visible.
 

Goergeous view to the Italian border  
The Italian border is just a few miles behind those peaks.
 

The 400 year-old mill in Ftan  
The water mill in Ftan, 400 years old and still working!
 

Me & Laddie by the old mill  
The sign explains the history of the mill in
several languages.
 

Joerg showing the Fox Islands book to Marietta  
Joerg showing the Fox Islands book by Kathleen
Firestone to Marietta.
 

Guard dog Laddie at the front door  
Laddie guarding the front door.
 

We used the great weather for visiting a few more places in the area.
 

Ardez and Steinsberg Castle  
Ardez, the next village up the Engadine Valley, with
Steinsberg Castle.
 

Old front door in Ardez  
A richly ornamented front door in Ardez.
 

The Adam & Eve house in Ardez  
The Adam and Eve house with mural paintings
instead of the more frequent sgraffiti technique.
 

A closer look at the oriel of the Adam & Eve house  
The oriel (window bay) of the Adam and Eve
house, built 1647.
 

On the way up to Guarda  
Driving up to Guarda, another village on the sunny side of
the Engadine Valley.
 

Looking up the Engadine Valley from Guarda  
Looking up the valley from Guarda. The portal to the
Vereina RR tunnel is right in the center of the picture.
 

"Ladies  
The sign on the door of the Ladies' room at the
visitors' parking lot of Guarda.
 

Welcomed by sheep  
A lamb welcoming us in Guarda.
 

Old farm house in Guarda  
An old farm house on the very steep Main Street.
 

Goats on the terrace  
Goats on the terrace; goat bells neatly numbered on a bar.
 

Old wooden fountain in Guarda  
There are such old fountains everywhere in the villages.
 

The Schellenursli House in Guarda  
The Schellenursli House, center of a very popular children's book.
 

An interesting oriel in Guarda  
Another quaint oriel.
 

Main Street in Guarda  
Looking down Main Street.
 

Old front door on Main Street  
A beautiful façade in Guarda.
 

Post bus in Guarda  
Public transportation even in the smallest villages.
 

Fountain and house on Main Street  
Another fountain and a beautiful old house. Most of the
houses in the Engadine were built between 1623 and 1650.
 

Railroad bridge in Giarsun  
One of the numerous bridges of the Rhetian Railways.
 

We drove all the way up the valley to St. Moritz, one of the fanciest skiing resorts in the world. Joerg said, "You'll be disappointed. The landscape is great, but the town is just another ugly place with noisy traffic and busy people. The only difference is, many cars are Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Porsches, and the coats those folks wear are mink and chinchilla, not GoreTex."
 

Parking lot for horse race on the ice  
Parking lot of a sports event on the frozen lake.
 

Sled sulkies on the frozen lake  
Sled sulkies on the ice. The St. Moritz White Turf races
have been taking place annually since 1907.
 

View from the town over the frozen lake  
The valley is much wider up here, and there are several
lakes, all of them. of course, frozen now.
 

Looking westward to the Maloja Pass  
Looking up the valley to the Maloja Pass, which goes
down to Italy.
 

Horse-drawn sled with retractable wheels  
A horse-drawn sleigh with retractable wheels, sure a
comfortable means of transportation for exploring the area.
  

Palace Hotel in St. Moritz  
The Palace Hotel, one of the most expensive Hotels on
this planet.
 

On the way back to Tarasp, we visited the little church in Lavin, bult 1480.
 

The little church in Lavin  
The church is small, but a historical monument
of national significance.
 

Mural paintings inside the church  
The arch that separates the chancel from the
nave, with murals from 1490.
 

The chancel with murals from 1490  
The chancel with mural paintings on all walls.
 

Valatscha was again reached by the sun, which had not been the case over the holidays. Walking Laddie was a pleasure.
 

Valatscha now in the sunshine  
Valatscha in the winter sun.
 

Me talking to Arthur's calves  
A chat with Arthur Netzer's calves. They are allowed to go
outdoors whenever they like, except at night.
 

Laddie socializing too  
Laddie and a calf licking each other.  
 

Table set for raclette  
After Marietta had treated us to a nice lunch, we invited
her over for a raclette dinner.
 

Marietta, our guest  
Marietta doesn't seem to be quite familiar with the
technical equipment.
 

The day before our drive back to Walenstadt, Joerg took me across the Pass dal Fuorn through the National Park into the Müstair Valley to see the more than 1250 year-old St. Jon Convent, figuring in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. The museum of the convent is in a castle-like tower built 960 A.D., the oldest castle still existing in the entire Alps.
 

The only road in the Alpine National Park, looks like Michigan  
Road up to the Pass dal Fuorn in the Alpine National
Park. Looks a bit like Michigan, except the mountains.
 

On the Pass dal Fuorn  
The culmination point of the pass.
 

Restaurant on the pass summit, closed during winter  
The restaurant on top of the pass, closed during winter.
 

Snow plow on the pass road  
A snow plow with salting equipment.
 

Looking down into the Müstair Valley from the pass  
View from the pass down into Müstair Valley.
 

The St. Jon Convent in Müstair  
The St. Jon Convent in Müstair,

Altar in the 1200 year old church  
The altar in the church, built 759 A.D..
 

Pointed arch ceiling added centuries later  
The pointed arches in the ceiling were added centuries later.
 

The chancel with more than 1000 year old murals  
The chancel with its murals from the 1st millennium.
 

Newer organ gallery  
The organ gallery is newer too.
 

The days in the Engadine went by so fast, but all in all I had spent more than six weeks in this wonderful area since my first arrival in early spring 2007. I could hardly believe it. I feel like Tarasp has become my second home.
 

Saying good-bye to Marietta  
Marietta bidding me farwell at the front door.
 

Last weeks in the lowlands

There was still no snow in the Walenstadt, nor in any other areas below  about 5000 feet; not a single flake.
 

Harbor park in Walenstadt, still no snow  
Snow on the peaks, bare grass everywhere else.
 

The neighborhood of Joerg's practice  
The practice is in the reddish building close to the center.
 

Cousin Doro invited us for a weekend in Zurich, including a shopping tour in the world-famous Bahnhofstrasse. How could I resist?
 

The medieval center of Zurich seen from the University campus  
Zurich's medieval center seen from the university campus.
 

Looking up to the campus  
View from the garden of Rechberg Palace (around 1760)
up to the main building of the university.
 

The Urania observatory in downtown Zurich  
The Urania Observatory in downtown Zurich. It may
seem to be a crazy idea to build an observatory in
the middle of a city, but in those times, there were no cars.
 

Hans Waldmann monument  
The statue of hans Waldmann (1435 - 1489), Mayor
of Zurich and military leader of the Swiss troops in
the Burgundian Wars against Charles the Bold.
 

The Grossmünster church  
The Grossmünster (Great Minster), inaugurated around 1220,
but some parts are 400 years older.
 

The town hall built on the Limmat River  
The Town Hall (1698), overhanging the Limmat River, and the
Rüden Guild Hall (1348).
 

Fraumünster, St. Peter and Grossmünster  
The Fraumünster (Minster of Our Lady, 13th century, crypt
from 874), St. Peter (1706, with the largest church clock
face in the world), Wasserkirche (Water Church, around
1250), and Grossmünster.
 

Esplanade on Lake Zurich  
The Bürkliplatz Esplanade on Lake Zurich. About three
miles of the lake shore are one big public park.
 

An old tour boat on Lake Zurich  
MS Etzel, an old tour boat, at the dock. In the background
the dome of the Opera House.
 

The vine merchant's guild hall  
The Meisen Palace, formerly the Guild Hall of the wine
merchants, built 1757, now a porcelain and fayence museum.
 

Joerg & Doro in downtown Zurich  
Don't ask me what they are watching up there.
 

Wrought-iron sign of a very old hotel  
Sign of the Hotel Storchen, 1357, the oldest hotel in Europe.
 

Lindenhof hill, place of a Roman fortress 2000 years ago  
The Lindenhof square on top of a steep hill right on the
river. There was a Roman fortress (called
Turicum) here
already 2000 years ago, but the settlements found on
the lake shore date back to Stone Age.
 

View from Lindenhof across the Limmat River  
View from the Lindenhof hill across the Limmat River to the
Predigerkirche (Preachers' Church, 1614, the monastery
dating back to 1230), the Federal Institute of Technology
(left) and the University of Zurich (behind the steeple).
 

Having lunch at a panorama restaurant on the hills  
Doro treated us to a lunch at the Waid, a restaurant on one
of the many hills that surround Zurich, with a panoramic
view over the entire city.
 

Doro & me having lunch with a view  
We were a bit exhausted after a lot of walking, but it was
great to visit a city were hundreds of interesting places
can be reached on foot.
 

Women's stuff  
Doro bought me some slacks, which needed to be
shortened a bit.
 

Eventually, a last visit to Brigitte and Richard was due. Off the beaten path, we drove through the hills of Appenzell down to the lowlands west of St. Gallen City and from there into the Canton Thurgau. There Joerg took me to Hagenwil Castle, where we arrived briefly before sunset.
 

Hagenwil Castle near St. Gallen  
Hagenwil Castle and the steeple in the evening sun.
 

Horses behind the castle  
There were horses on a meadow right on the moat of the castle.
 

Talking to the horses  -  of course  
Needless to say I had to talk to them. I always do.
 

The drawbridge of the castle  
The drawbridge across the moat.
 

The castle is moated  
The castle is open to the public, and there
is a restaurant.
 

Joerg & Laddie on the drawbridge  
Laddie and Joerg entering the castle.
 

Part of the bailey  
The bailey.
 

Traditional Swiss Sunday breakfast at Richard's  
Sunday breakfast in Roggwil.
 

Richard & Brigitte waving good-bye  
Richard and Brigitte waving good-bye.
 

On the way back to Walenstadt, we took yet another route through the hilly Appenzell area. Our first stop was in Trogen, were Joerg showed me the Landsgemeinde-Platz, the place where, during centuries, all the men of the Canton gathered once a year in April to discuss all political matters, vote on them and elect the officials. Basic democracy in its purest form. Women's suffrage brought that tradition to an end, simply because the square was too small for the doubled electorate and it was impossible to find a larger place of comparable historical dignity.
 

Central Square in Trogen  
Two houses on the Landsgemeinde-Platz.
 

The iron sign of the old restaurant on Central Square  
Again a beautiful restaurant sign.  
 

Another old house on Central Square  
Most of the houses in Appenzell are built of wood.
This one has six stories.
 

View from the Ruppen Pass across the Rhine Valley into Austria  
View from the Ruppen Pass across the Rhine Valley into
the mountains of Vorarlberg (Austria).
 

Hotel Frauenhof in Alstätten, built 1450 (!)  
This hotel in Altstätten, built 1450, is not quite as old as the
Storchen Hotel in Zurich. Guess that's old enough.
 

Main Street in Altstätten  
Main Street in Altstätten.
 

Row of very old houses in downtown Altstätten  
All these houses are many hundred years old and still
being used. There are stores, restaurants, workshops,
offices and apartments.
 

A little square in Altstätten  
A nice little square in Altstätten. The funny doors under the
roofs were used to crane firewood into the attics.
 

Little front yard between the houses  
There's a lot to explore, like this cute yard
between two houses on Main Street.
 

Another quaint building in Altstätten  
Doesn't look like an Italian restaurant, but
that's what it is.  
 

A modern restaurant sign  
Now this is a wrought-iron restaurant sign of the more
modern kind.
 

One of the medieval town gates  
One of the old gates of the town.
 

We spent the last days before my flight back visiting a few more places in the area around Walenstadt.

First we went to Weisstannen, a little village in a narrow valley high above the Rine Valley. That's were Joerg paternal grandfather was born.
 

Weisstannen Valley  
Looking from Weisstannen into the Lavtina Valley.
 

Church in Weisstannen  
The little church in Weisstannen.
 

Frozen waterfall in the gorge below Weisstannen  
A frozen waterfall. The Weisstannen Valley
is a top destination for ice climbers.
 

Another waterfall  
There is a whole row of such waterfalls along
the Seez River.
 

Vermol high above the gorge  
Vermol, a little village on the other side of the valley,
where Joerg and Richard spent four summer vacations
with their parents.
 

We drove down to Sargans (remember the castle we visited last spring?). Right next to a busy street, there is the excavation site of a Roman villa, some 2000 years old.


Foundation walls of a Roman villa in Sargans, about 2000 years old  
The foundation walls of the villa, protected by a modern roof.
The whole complex covers about half an acre.
 

The underfloor heating system of the Roman villa  
Those folks already had an underfloor heating system.
Go figure.
 

Then we went across the Rhine into the Principality of Liechtenstein, up to Triesenberg, a village high above the Rhine Valley.
 

Church in Triesenberg, Pricipality of Liechtenstein  
The central square in Triesenberg.
 

View from Triesenberg up the Rhine Valley  
Looking south into the Sargans / Heidiland area.
 

Looking across the Rhine Valley into the Swiss Prealps  
Northwest view across the Rhine Valley into the St. Gallen
Prealps.
 

The old church in Steg, Liechtenstein  
The little church in Steg, a settlement higher up the
Liechtenstein mountains.
 

The Churfirsten range in the evening sun  
The Churfirsten range in Walenstadt Township, shot on
our way home.
 

A few days later, we drove down the lake to its western end, where the Linth River leaves the lake heading for Lake Zurich.
 

Looking up the lake from Weesen  
Weesen harbor with the mountains of Walenstadt.
 

Fountain in Weesen harbor
A fountain marks the entrance to the Linth River.

Street in Weesen  
A street in the old town center of Weesen.
 

Funny trees in Weesen  
Don't ask me how they pruned these trees.
 

View across the lake from Amden  
We drove up to Amden, a village high above the lake.
 

View from Amden to the mouth of the Linth River  
Looking down to the Lake and the Linth River.
 

A break in a little restaurant in Amden  
A break in a little restaurant in Amden.
 

 Road built into a rock face
In some places, the road is built into almost vertical
rock faces.

The road between Amden and Weesen seen from the lake shore  
Back down to the lake, looking up to the road to Amden.
 

Kids enjoying the evening on the lake shore  
Kids enjoying the evening sun on the lake shore.
 

Yes, I do love swans  
A curious swan.

Briefly before sunset in Weesen  
Sunset in Betlis near Weesen.
 

For our last Sunday walk, we drove to Tscherlach, a tiny village east of Walenstadt. From there, we walked through the vineyards along the foot of the northern mountain range to the higher parts of Walenstadt. On our way back to Tscherlach, we met Ulla and Kari Roschi, Joerg's former neighbors. They were about to leave Walenstadt for a four-year trip around the globe by car.
 

 Tscherlach, a little village in Walenstadt township  
Tscherlach in Walenstadt Township.
 

In the vineyrds of Tscherlach  
In the vineyards.
 

637m7454.jpg  
An old wine press building.
 

A cat on a balcony  
A cat enjoying the view over Upper Walenstadt.
 

Street in upper Walenstadt  
You wouldn't believe it's February!
 

Karl, Ulla & Joerg  
Kari, Ulla and Joerg.
 

Carol the horse woman  
Carol, the horse woman, who kindly invited me over for
horse-back riding when I'm back.
 

Carol's horses  
Her horse stable s right at the foot of the vineyard
slopes, with many places to explore in the neighborhood.
 

And she has cute pocket-size ponies too  
Carol gave us a demo of the abilities of one of her
miniature ponies too.
 

For once, it's Laddie who's talking to the horses  
Laddie, just like me, likes to talk to the animals.
 

Last hints of sunshine over the western horizon  
View from Tscherlach over Walenstadt to the lake briefly
after sunset.
 

Departure and traveling home

Of course I could not fly back to the USA without saying good-bye to Aunt Dorothy.
 

Saying good-bye to Aunt Dorothy  
Aunt Dorothy already has her white handkerchief
ready for waving good-bye. That's sort of a
tradition started on the very same doorsteps
by her mother, i.e. Joerg's Grandma Anna and
Great-Aunt Frieda in the 'fifties.
 

Before such a trip I am a nervous wreck. To make things worse, on the very last day before the flight, Laddie got a pretty bad diarrhea  -  just great for ten hours on a plane....
 

Bus terminal at Zurich Airport  
The bus terminal at Zurich Airport, where Laddie had to
do his last "business" before checking in.
 

Concourse 2, the way down to the underground RR station  
The way down to the underground RR station, with about
six trains per hour, many of them directly to major cities.
 

Me & Laddie at the check-in  
Unlike the funny episode at Chicago O'Hare, Laddie had
absolutely no problem walking on the smooth floor tiles.
 

Laddie the globe-trotter  
Laddie the globetrotter dog. Despite his diarrhea, he did
great on the plane.
 

Chicago O'Hare: Swiss Air staff with Laddie  
At Chicago O'Hare, everybody wanted to
take care of Laddie.

I rented a car in Chicago and drove back home, which probably wasn't very clever because driving in a snow storm at night is not exactly fun. Actually, it was horrible. Instead of six hours or so it took me almost a whole day, including a night spent at a hotel in the St. Joseph / Benton Harbor area after I had given up driving because I could not even see the shoulder of the highway. Only the last part was better, even with some sunshine.
 

Break after a stormy night  
A brief poop stop at a service area. Laddie still had the runs,
which, by the way, needed a night at the vet's later on.
 

Laddie back in the US snow  
I guess he didn't know that he had just hopped across
an ocean. Isn't he a pretty boy?
 

Forrest welcoming Laddie  
Welcomed by my son Forrest in Traverse City.
 

 

  If you want to see the diaries of my other trips to Switzerland,
please
click here for the first trip (spring winter 2007)
or
here for the third trip (winter 2008 - 2009)

 

© 2007 - 2008 Northern Networks    Sandra Serra Bradshaw, 1360 S. Bay View Trail, Suttons Bay, Michigan 49682