Sunday, July 24, 2022

Eurotrip 2022 - Day 2 (7/24/2022) - Oberblegisee

We got almost 10 hours of sleep (or at least with eyes closed) overnight, and were feeling much more rested by the time Fran's alarm went off at 7a. She hadn't yet decided which day trip we were going to do, but had narrowed it down to Braunwald (a resort town she found in some online research) and Flims (a suggestion by the hotel clerk who checked us in the day before). The goal was to do a moderate hike and get some good mountain views. After she settled on Braunwald we hurriedly got dressed and headed to the Hauptbahnhof (via the S-Bahn) to catch the 8:43 train to Linthal. We also bought a couple of pretzel and cheese sandwiches (which she had been craving since we arrived) for breakfast on the train. We found the train to be completely full with fellow hikers as we boarded, but were luckily able to find a couple of seats.

The train trip was about 1.5 hours, and we got off at Linthal Braunwaldbahn. The Braunwaldbahn is a cable railway that takes a single car up/down the steep slope between the main railway and Braunwald every 15 minutes. We bought a couple of round-trip tickets and made our way up. At the top we found a tourist information center and asked the lady there for advice on trails to take. She suggested a few, including one to Oberblegisee, an alpine lake, that we already had our eye on - we settled on that one.

View on the hike from Braunwald to Oberblegisee

The map suggested that it was a 3 hour hike each way, though I would say that 2 hours is probably a better estimate at a reasonable pace. We were going a bit faster than that, and made it in about 1.5 hours. The first third or so of the trail is uphill on paved and gravel roads through the town of Braunwald, and is the most strenuous. The rest of it is more up-and-down along rocky trails, gravel trails, and through beaten-down grass, some of it going by, or through, farms on the hillside. We saw quite a few paragliders on the hike up. The lake itself is pretty stunning, with clear water right below a mountain cliff. There were a good number of swimmers in the lake, and Fran decided to strip down to her underwear (she hadn't brought a swimsuit) and join them. After her swim, a bit of rock-skipping, and generally enjoying the view, we headed back the trail toward Braunwald, stopping at a hillside cafe on the way for a quick drink.


We made it back to Braunwald, took the cable car down, and then waited for the train. We caught the 4:47p train to Zürich HB. After arriving Fran bought another pretzel and we went in search of some take-out for dinner. We settled on a place called Brooklyn Burgermeister, because of the name, which was on the way to the hotel. I got a veggie burger and some truffle fries, while Fran got a caesar salad without the chicken which turned out to be quite weak. We ate in the little park right outside the hotel, and then headed up to do some blogging before turning in.


Full pictures for the trip here:

Eurotrip 2022 - Days 0-1 (7/22-3/2022) - To Zürich

 The trip started on a Friday night after a day of work. Fran and I took an 8:55p (ET) flight from JFK to Zürich, arriving around 11am (CET) Saturday morning. We were worried about getting sleep on the plan (and I had previously experienced extended neck pain after falling asleep funny on a plane), so we bought a couple of Cabeau neck pillows from a stand at the airport. It helped me get a few hours of sleep, though not the most restful, on the 8 hour flight without any lingering pain (just a little discomfort after using it for an extended period of time).

After landing at the Zürich airport I used my (recently acquired) Google Fi cell service to get us some directions toward the city; though the Google maps directions honestly weren't that helpful, as we found out from an information clerk that any train heading to Zürich HB (the central station) would do. We bought tickets and boarded one. At the train station we attempted to continue on the Google Maps route to our hotel, which directed us to take the S4 to Selnau. From the symbol, we thought that the S4 was a tram, so we went outside to go find it. We hopped on the 4 tram even though it wasn't showing Selnau as a stop. After one stop, the dot on the map seemed to be in a different location than expected, so we hopped off and took the 4 in the opposite direction. And after 2 stops on that tram the dot was heading in the wrong direction yet again, so we got off to regroup. By this time the light rain had almost completely stopped. I searched for directions one more time, and this time Google Maps told us to take the 3 tram four stops; this time it finally worked. We would find out later that day that the S4 was actually part of the S-Bahn rail system, and was essentially a subway during the leg that we had needed.

Jet-lagged at the Lake Zürich waterfront

After finding Hotel St-Georges we checked in and luckily found that our room was ready. After a quick shower (in the tiny shower) and a bit of a rest, we headed out to explore the city on foot. We walked along the Schanzengraben moat toward Lake Zürich. After checking out the waterfront, we headed north through the old town, with a stop at Grossmünster (a church). We had both been running low on energy throughout the walk, and joked that we were on our 20th wind while trying to power through.

We eventually headed back toward the hotel to try to find a light dinner in the area. We settled on a Greek place named Mazì near the hotel, which turned out to have some pretty good mezze plates. Then back at the hotel we watched a few videos on YouTube in order to complete our goal of staying up until 9p so that we could get on a good sleep schedule.


Full pictures for the trip here: