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The Europe Odyssey

Almost twenty years ago in 2001, Bev and I made a major trek to Europe. It was three weeks and longer than our later trips to Palestine, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.   For each of those latter, I generated several letters describing each trip in detail and sent them to Roy, my brother, in Chicago. In fact, since about 2004, I documented practically every trip we took in the U.S. and elsewhere.

In 2001, I had just not begun creating travel letters. So, this paper will be an attempt to reconstruct that Europe excursion. I have a small 5”x7” spiral notebook in which I recorded rather sketchy notes day by day. There are roughly 28 pages. Also, after the trip we built a photo album of about 50 pages with typed notes to document most of the photos. Hence, I should have a fair amount of material from which to piece together our experiences.   Oh yes, adding to all that, I bet I can remember things not recorded yet either in notes or photos.

It seems interesting to look at my European photos now. They were developed from film back in November of 2001. I bet I took them with small Kodak pocket cameras that could be purchased in drug stores.   Remember those days.   Maybe they are still selling them. Since that time, I received a digital Canon A20 camera from Chris as a birthday present. I still have it; but I bought another digital Canon PowerShot A1400 to increase the storage and features.   More recently, I have one of Chris’s retired iPhones and use it for all my pictures.   The world changes in 20 years in so many ways.   At least in my personal world that was three technologies in 20 years.

What was the purpose of our journey?   Not just sightseeing and vacationing.   We were going to Hungary to visit the Muschs.   Dana who is Beverly’s daughter, Steve who is her husband, and our two grandchildren, Sydney and Sammy, were spending a year in Budapest. Steve had a good friend who went to Albania for the work of their church. Courageously, Steve chose to volunteer in Hungary to do related work. The emphasis was to work with Roma – gypsies – who are live on the margins of society in Hungary. The Roma suffer much discrimination in Eastern Europe. So, during the Muschs’ time there, we thought we would pay a visit.

Departure on September 27, 2001

Notice that we were traveling just after the infamous September 11, 2001.   Friends and associates thought we should be concerned.   However, throughout the trip, the people we met were extremely thoughtful and friendly toward us Americans due the recent events of 911. One wonders when and how that sentiment changed after we instituted our wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.   We squandered a lot of good relations and the U.S. image has just continued to suffer.

Our flight to Europe was on Icelandic Airlines. My notes indicate that we departed about an hour and a half late due to some mechanical problem. Our instructions at departure were in English with some Icelandic.   We flew directly to Reykjavik, Iceland. (Maybe it stopped in New York.) And then at 6 AM, we hopped over to Paris after changing planes in Reykjavik.

We landed in Paris at CDG – Charles De Gaulle Airport. It was 1 PM. Our adventures began there. There were no customs to go through and we found our bags easily. We went to the elevator to Exit 36. We had assumed – wrongly – that we needed to go there for getting to AVIS. There was a long line – very crowded and very hot -waiting for the large elevators. Two of three were operating. In the crowd, I felt uneasy for all the close quarters and I shifted my billfold from my back pocket to my fanny-pack – hanging at my beltline in front of me. That was a mistake!! When we got on the elevator, I was one of the first and moved to the back dragging my luggage. I had not reached the back of the elevator, but some black man stood firm, facing me and, whatever I did, he would not backup. The elevator started and I made a half-turn to my left and faced another dark complexed Arab-looking man. We were sandwiched like sardines. When the elevator stopped and people started moving, something made me look down to the fanny pack. It was open. My billfold was gone. It was laying on the floor in front of me.   I spotted the Arab-looking man rapidly moving out the door. Shouting, I left everything and tried to get out. Outside my pick-pocketer had already disappeared into the crowd. The black man must have unzipped the pack and the Arab (Profiling might make him of Algerian decent.) had pulled out the wallet. The elevator door closed, and my bag was still on it.

Beverly with her bag somehow got to the elevator when its door opened. On the next floor? Whatever, she tried to pull off the bag, but had to negotiate to get it since everyone thought that an unattended bag might contain explosives.   It was just after 911 and security was high.

We reunited after our brief separation. We had our bags. Thankfully, I had my billfold with only the $40 or so of cash removed. So feeling violated, we proceeded to try to report our encounter. Close at hand was an officer who was engaged in talking to two French soldiers. The officer worn the uniform indicating that he belonged to the National Police. He spoke some English and I was able to explain our situation. We believed we should report the incident. So off we went to the police office. The officer led. We followed with our bags. Finally, the two French soldiers followed with their berets and brandishing their automatic weapons.   Quite an entourage!

After a long walk through the airport lobby, we came to the police station.  Inside we waited for an officer (I believe he was in a suit and not uniformed.) who was informed of what we were there for.  As I stood there, I looked off through a door to where I could see a barred cell.   Confined inside a Moslem was knelling on a cot in prayer.

We were escorted into another room in the back of the station and there we sat and worked with the officer to complete the police report.   It was busy-work and nothing became of it as far as we know. The officer was not as good with his English speaking as the National policeman. But I believe he could write English.

While we were there, Beverly noticed that on the wall by the officer’s desk there was a sign that said in French: No smoking (Ne pas fumer.)   Bev poked me and motioned to the sign. The officer was puffing away. Spotting our notice of the sign, he pointed to the sign and then to his cigarette as he non-verbally asked if we could continue to smoke. We approved and all was well. However, it seemed like we were seeing some characteristic of the French. Maybe he was just a hardened smoker.   It was a funny memory.

As will happen in this story of our trip to Europe there will be lots of gaps because the details are gone from my recollection.   So that is the case here. My next memories on the trip was getting our rental car and our visit will François and his family.

My notes put us in Francois’s apartment at 8 PM and I’m certain we ate with them at that point before going to bed. We stayed with the Francois’s family that night, on Saturday (9-29), and left on Sunday after Mass.

Here is a picture of the entire family.  FrancoisFamily2001

From the left, Fanny is first, followed by her mother, Anne-Marie. Then comes Clemente, François, and the oldest son, Nicolas.

The dinners were very grand celebrations, as I recall. We were well fed. My notes say we were served rice, and a whole fish which was carved as we do a turkey. The fish was delicious, and bones were not a problem. At the end of a meal we had a course of cheese. The cheese was eaten with a bite of bread. After that course came dessert.

Paris September 29, 2001

On the 29th of September, we had a breakfast as it rained. Luckily it did not last long. We walked with François to the center of his village. My note says the church where we would attend the next morning was begun in the 10th Century and completed in the 12th.

After lunch we went for a whirlwind tour of Paris. Parking and traffic were difficult. We first parked by a building which was called the Arab World Institute.   Its full address is Arab World Institute, Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, Paris, France in Google Earth. One can use that full address to locate it via Google Earth and then click on the “360” bubble to get a view of the building and plaza.   I was very impressed.

To explain the building’s uniqueness, I am including the following which is the graphic of a page I built several years ago. The text may have come from Wikipedia. ArabicInstitute

We started at this location on the West Bank of the Seine. The Seine was flowing just to the northeast just on the other side of the Quai Saint Bernard.   That Quai Saint Bernard is some sort of idiom. Quai translates as wharf. But many of the boulevards along the Seine have names that begin with “Quai.” So, there were probably docks along the Seine at some period of the past.

At some point we crossed a bridge to get to the Ile de la Cité, the island where Notre Dame and Sainte Chappelle are located. At Notre Dame (built in 1160 – 1260), we met with many tourists queued to enter the iconic structure. Thinking better of joining that crowd we settled for the beautiful church of Sainte-Chappelle. A website describes that church as: A gem of Gothic styleBuilt in seven years (1242-1248), an impressive feat, the Sainte Chapelle was intended to house precious Christian relics, including Christ's crown of thorns, acquired by Saint Louis - King Louis IX.   It has 15 stained glasses windows, each 45-50 feet high, where the panes depicted 1113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

My photos of the Sainte Chapelle windows did not do them justice. For a little color, I will add a picture of a mime. I want to call them “mimes.” But unlike what I believe is usual for mimes, these performers acted as statues.MimeSeine

Standing perfectly motionless. They must be a rather common sight. I believe we saw two as we crossed the Seine bridges. To the left is the Sphinx.

After Sainte Chapelle, we went back to the car and saw the rest of Paris in the trip back to François’s apartment. We drove by the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much except for watching the Eiffel Tower recede into the distance as I viewed it out the back window of the car.

François pointed out a French restaurant which had dinners priced at 2000 francs – excluding wine.

Street people were sleeping along the Seine covered with cardboard.

Our dinner that evening was canard (duck).

Paris - Chartres  September 30, 2001

On the 30th of September, it was a Sunday. Breakfast consisted of croissants, oatmeal, juice and coffee. We went to the church that François had shown us. The church was dated to the 11th or 12th Century. The Mass was fairly well attended, but not packed. I took a photo of the church’s ancient baptistry. I took pictures of a couple others as we church-hopped through Europe.  

Lunch before our departure included a veal roast, peas, salad, cheese, fruit, and expresso.

So, we left François and his family in Paris. [Since eighteen years have passed, François’s children are all done with their academics. They are doing well as are François and Anne-Marie.   I generally get two lengthy and very interesting (thoughtful) letters from François every year.   I really appreciate his correspondence.]

Beverly was driving. In fact, she drove the whole vacation. She did well, but grew weary of the task by the end of the Europe odyssey. The trek on this Sunday afternoon took us about 45 miles southwest of Paris to Chartres. We toured the great cathedral there in that afternoon and part of the next morning. Chartres was built from 1194 to 1220. Chartres  My notes indicate that the 30 or so flying buttresses were huge and not describable as delicate.   Architecturally, those structures helped with the weight of the roof and walls and, in particular, they allowed for the 176 tall windows. The large window area reduced the wall area so that buttresses added the additional support that was lacking in the walls.

Even with all the windows, the type of stained glass kept out much of the light. I believe that the majority of the glass is the original. My notes referred to the church as “dark.” Being a cloudy day did not help either. A line from the cathedral’s Wikipedia article refers to the struggle with illumination. “At Chartres, nearly all of the 176 windows were filled with equally dense stained glass, creating a relatively dark but richly colored interior in which the light filtering through the myriad narrative and symbolic windows was the main source of illumination.”

Stone carvings were everywhere. Candle sticks were “very tall.”

My notes from Beverly claim that we had a room in a hotel and had a view of the cathedral. We “heard the bells of Chartres” – a thrilling event for Bev.

The labyrinth in the floor of Chartres is famous, and I believe we saw it although we did not walk it. As we walked around on Monday morning, looking over a wall at the back of the church, we saw an alternative labyrinth formed by paths in the lawns below.

Exterior walls of one wing of the cathedral were being cleaned of the considerable moss that adhere to the stones. Such a large and ancient structure must require constant maintenance and repair. Eure

As we went around in the town, we visited the shores of the Eure River.   Now since the flooding is going on so badly in Nebraska(2019), I wonder how this river and others were able to be controlled so well that structures, walkways, and houses could be built so close. But the setting is so picturesque. My photo would have been better on a sunny day. In the distance along the shore was a wash-house (lavoir) which was another oddity for me. It is a dark shape a slanted roof. Not long ago in the past, a wash-house (lavoir) was provided as public places set aside for the washing of clothes.

My mental image of the Eure is a sort of bookend for the trip in France.   On the last evening of the Europe journey, we visited another similar scene – the other bookend -- on the Marne River (Damery) on our way back to Paris.  That will be shown much later in this paper.

In view of Chartres, I photogChartres1raphed this one remaining wall of a medieval fortification that was destroyed by the Germans in World War II. That structure was called Port Guillaume and contained four turrets that “guarded” a gateway that had previously been a drawbridge.   Truly, it was a great loss. [Pictures from pre-WWII are available on the web.]

Chartres - Beaune October 1, 2001

On October 1 at 12:30 PM, we traveled out of Chartres. We travelled about 222 miles southeast to Beaune. I would be kidding if I mentioned that those miles were uneventful. Something happened which we have chuckled about for years.   We were driving toward Beaune and we seemed to be travelling on the south edge of a narrow and gentle green valley which narrowed even more in the distance ahead of us.   We stopped to view some sort of monument atop a small mound. As we were standing there, a deafening noise roared in the valley. Looking over, we saw a French Mirage jet flying low through the valley as if practicing a strafing run.   It quickly disappeared down the valley. What was so unique was the surprising fact that we were barely warned of the jet’s approach.   All the sound waves of the engine roar seemed to be trailing the plane. We did not feel that we had heard anything before the jet passed us.

We arrived in Beaune and had our dinner at the Grand Café de Lyon (a brasserie) in Place Carnot.   It is still viewable in Google East with Le Lyon on its awning.   You are still able to eat outside as we did. The dinner contained Poulet et salade et Burgundy vin for 200 francs. I am not certain is that included both orders.

Beaune - Besançon - Murten  October 2, 2001

We toured a little in Beaune on October 2.   We saw the Beaune Altarpiece (c. 1445–50), often called The Last Judgement, is a large polyptych altarpiece by the Early Netherlandish artist Rogier van der Weyden. It was painted in oil on oak panels, with parts later transferred to canvas. It consists of fifteen paintings on nine panels; six are painted on both sides. It retains some of its original frames.[1] The altarpiece was commissioned in 1443 for the Hospices de Beaune by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of the Duchy of Burgundy, and his wife Guigone de Salins. This last two sentences were copied from Wikipedia as a lead-in to the Hospices de Beaune which was our main attraction in that city. The “Hospices” was a large building with two stories and an amazingly decorative glazed-tile roof.   The “Hospices” was a medieval hospital built by Rolin for a refuge and hospital for the poor – many of whom were destitute and vulnerable after the end of the Hundred Years War. HotelDieu

The alternate name for the Hospices is the Hotel Dieu. It served as a hospital till the late 1970s. Touring the exhibits and viewing displays of medical apparatus from the past, one wonders how horrible it might have been for the sick.   Looking at the tools of the medical trade, one would believe that the cure could be worse than the illness. But truly, the edifice continues as a tribute to the work of the many would tried to make life better for these poor and did their best with the technology of that period.

The endowment of the Hotel Dieu is built around the original donation of Rolin of 150 acres of vineyards producing Burgundy, of course. A yearly wine auction on the third Sunday in November organized by Christie’s sells wine from the vineyards at prices usually well in excess of the current commercial values.

Leaving Beaune, we went about 60 miles east-north-east to Besançon where we may have had some lunch. I remember being in the shadow of the great 1700th Century fortress built atop Mount Saint Etienne on the oxbow of the Doub River. It was yet another place where we did not explore, but it would probably require a couple days to take in all the history there. The fortress atop the vertical cliffs dominates this very strategic site. It is said to have been recognized as “strategic” by Julius Caesar as early as 58 BC as he battled the Gauls. There were Roman ruins in the city of Besançon.

Our travel was not complete for October 2.   We continued on into Switzerland to our place of rest for that night. Our target was Neuchatel just over the border.   From there we could see the Alps in the distance.

I noted that we looked for a cash machine in Neuchatel.   Also, we may have found our first occurrence of “W.C.” which stands for water closet – a restroom.

We drove the final 20 miles to Murten which was relatively small town on the shores of a small lake called Lake Morat. Murten had been the home of prehistoric settlements going back to 8000 BC.   It is a World Heritage Site.

We stayed in an inn located within the old city.   That old city was less then a quarter mile at its widest point. There was a wall all around and ancient gates for entering and leaving.   The buildings within were very nice, clean, and picturesque. The structures were packed together with most of their roofs touching. The town's name derives from the Celtic word moriduno, meaning "lakeside fortress". It was first mentioned in 515 as a defensive place called "Muratum". In 1013 the area was fortified by King Rudolph III of Burgundy.

I remember the scene in the hotel restaurant where we ate that evening when we arrived.   The topic of conversation was encouraged by our paper place mats.   The euro was to become the common currency very soon.   We got our first lesson on the euro from the mats.

Murten - Gimmelwald  October 3, 2001

The next day (October 3) might have been extremely busy. I know we started by exploring Murten. I took an early picture of the wall’s rampart that was visible from our bedroom. Later we walked the rampart and took another picture which gives one the flavor of what we were seeing.   Beautiful!!  Murten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you remember the cartoon Peanuts, by Charles Schulz? Then remember how in the late 1990s, St. Paul and Minneapolis had larger-than-life-size statues of Peanuts characters on street corners and at store fronts throughout the cities. Well, Murten had caught on to this sort of fantasy.   However, their statues were large shiny fish. Here Beverly had to try to see if this cat-eating fish was real. 😊FishyFishy

We pushed on toward Lautenbrunnen. 60 miles from Murten and only 3 miles north of our destination, Gimmelwald.   There is lots to remember about this trek. We ate lunch at Interlachen looking up at one of peaks.   (Bev notes that we ate some sort of salad and bacon wrapped hot dogs.) Following lunch, most of the drive was through a green valley that cut between two ranges of the Swiss Alps. The valley was flat at about 2600 feet above sea level and the cut it produced was less than a half mile wide. Peaks and steep cliffs rose on either side of the road. [It is really an adventure to travel this journey via Google Earth.] It seems like I should have been on overload trying to take it all in.   Wooden barns and cow pastures. An inn and an occasional house. There was not much traffic and the speed limit was 60 kph – roughly 35 mph. Most of the houses would be called large with a first floor having a white masonry/stucco and the upper two or three levels of brown weathered lumber – unpainted.

Signs along the way pointed to Trummelbachfalle and Shilthorn Pia Gloria. We decided to view the Trummelbach Falls.    It was quite a sight. Here is a brief description: The Trümmelbach Falls are the world's only glacier waterfalls that are accessible underground by lift, galleries, tunnels, paths and platforms. They alone carry the meltwater of the glaciers from the Jungfrau down to the valley - up to 20,000 liters of water per second. The water carries with it over 20,000 tons of boulders and scree per year and causes the entire mountain to shudder and make a thundering noise.

I just remember the concrete steps and walkways that lead you up inside the cliffs and within a couple feet of the plunging waters of the Jungfrau glacier. Lots of noise. Far below, a view of the valley from which we had come was occasional seen as we moved up the chute through with the water tumbled.

Farther down the road and to the right was the sign to the Shilthorn Pia Gloria. That attraction was a restaurant atop one of the peaks named the Shilthorn. At this point, I recognize that I must describe the terrain a little better so you can “see” where we are.   As I mentioned earlier, we were traveling through a narrow valley in a roughly southerly direction.  

NearShilthornIn the picture at the left, we were about half way to our destination. The road curves gently to the right in the distance. The major peaks remain on our left.   The Shilthorn is one of a set of minor peaks around 10,000 feet on the right side of this valley.   The left side has the iconic name “The North Face.”   It contains three major peaks, The Eiger, The Mönch, and The Jungfrau which are about 13,000, 14,000, and 11,000 feet respectively. Eiger in German is linked to the word “ogre.”   Mönch is “monk.” Jungfrau is a young girl.   The image of these three characters is that of the holy monk is standing in the way of the ogre who would like to get to the young girl. Heading down the valley, the Eiger is first followed by the Mönch and then the Jungfrau.

Continuing now at the Shilthorn sign, I have a lapse of memory. It looks like the sign points to the gondola station (Shilthornbahn) that we used to get to our destination – Gimmelwald. And that is the case. The timetable for the cable car service provides destinations of Stechelberg – Gimmelwald – Mürren – Birg – Schilthorn. Now how this was done, I am not certain. How were all those places reached from this station? Looking at the cable station in Google Earth, I can see two cables going up the cliffs.   One went south and up the cliffs toward Gimmelwald and the other went up the cliff to the west toward Mürren. [Wow, that was almost 2500 feet straight up!!!!] Once at Mürren, there was probably a second and third cable line from Mürren to the Shilthorn and Birg.

So, here at the Shilthornbahn, we took out our luggage and parked the car. We purchased transportation on a gondola to Gimmelwald.   Rick Steve’s who has created many videos on travel recommended staying at Gimmelwald. We were not disappointed.  

After some wait, we boarded our glassed-in capsule with several others and began the slow ride out from the station.   The cable ride would transport us up to the Gimmelwald station. The cable length was about a half mile long. So, we traveled ½ mile to ascend 2000 feet.     This was only the first of several ride – some much longer and higher.   It was the way to get around at least for tourists. There were some small roads (and cow paths) up on the land supported by the cliffs, but I don’t know how the inhabitants used them. They may have used the cable rides as much or more then the tourists. We were not up there long enough to figure it out.

So, I believe we arrive here on October 3rd.   We hiked October 4th and probably departed on October 5. We crammed a lot into our time in this area.

Gimmelwald was a quiet community which I would say existed as a village for dairy farmers.   It was in an area of the Alps which the government thought was prone to avalanches. Some government program proposed to move the population to a safer area. The people refused to move so that was that. So far the avalanches have not come.

Our inn where we had reservations was called Walter’s Place. Walter was the native of Gimmelwald who had started this guest house for travelers. Very rustic. Soon after our arrival we had our dinner served in the dining room. The dinner was served “family style” with bowls being passed from guest to guest.   It was a rather international community. My notes speak of Tim, Grant and “the girl.” Tim was a software engineer from England.   Grant teaches grade school and came from Texas. The girl was a nurse from Winnipeg. Each had spent one or more months at Walter’s.  

After the dinner and before bedtime, the young people and we gathered in another room of the inn and I learned to drink “Heidi cocoa.”   I don’t remember what the alcohol was, probably brandy.

I should mention that all was not sweetness and light in Gimmelwald.   The other villagers were not thrilled that Walter had brought tourism to their town.   It is a little strange that Walter took the brunt of this displeasure since I believe there were a couple other inns.   However, a neighbor of Walter had erected a barn across from Walter’s inn and blocked the view of the mountains which had formerly graced the dining area. The positioning was on purpose. Not good.   Well, it is about 18 years later; and as I look on the web, I can see a website for Walter's Hotel Mittaghorn!!!   The website implies that Walter still lives, because it informs interested guests that Walter (since 2015) no longer cooks an evening meal. 😊 The picture of the Hotel looks like the inn has been rebuilt to be 3 stories. Hopefully higher than the barn.

On October 4th, we must have risen early. I don’t remember breakfast, but I remember walking north out of Gimmelwald with Beverly. As we walked, we greeted a young farmer who was staking out his milk cow for its day of feeding.   His cow was tethered on a short line which would soon be removed once the pasture was fenced.   Huh?   The young farmer was walking along the edge of a grassy area. Under his arm, he had multiple stakes connected with strong fabric straps. Every few steps he would push a stake into the ground.   Each stake was connected to an earlier stake by the fabric strap.   He was building the fence around his cow!!!   I have seen this technic used on a large scale with an entire herd of cows feeding on a lush green hillside (mountainside).

Our morning walk along a narrow road was taking us north across the meadows atop the cliffs. We were going to the larger more commercial and touristy town of Murren. Our walk was cool and quiet. The sun shone intermittently; and, as a result, most of my pictures during that day came out dark.

It was a gradual uphill climb to Murren. As the crow flies, Murren was about a mile away.   With one large switchback along our route, the rise of 1000 feet was hardly noticeable.

I think the word for the scene around us was “pastoral”.  Pastoral Everything was green and velvety as I remember.   Most of the grassy area was fenced off pasture.  Those pastures generally contained a water trough. We chuckled when more that once that trough was a white enamel bathtub. Good recycling.

 Not many cattle were out, again as I recall.

In Murren, we travelled up a cog railroad to the beginning of the Northface Trail another 1000 feet up from Murren. After a bite to eat at the station, we carefully followed the trail for the rest of the afternoon. We got back to Gimmelwald well before dark. But it was still a long day of walking – 9 hours. The entire walk from morning to evening was always within view of the North Face peaks over on the east side of the valley.   They were breathtaking.

Below is my snapshot of the three peaks. Remember? The Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau from left to right. Northface

Just to confirm that the sun did shine that day. Here is a shot of the Mönch on the east side of the valley. Our local shots along our walk were challenged since it the November, the sun was getting lower, and we were on the west side of the valley. We were mostly in the shadows of the peaks on that west side of the valley.  Eiger

[Does anyone remember the Clint Eastwood movie in 1975 called The Eiger Sanction?]

 

 

At one point we rested on a bench which gave us a view down into the valley.   To our surprise, below us, a helicopter was flying up from the valley carrying a bucket of cement.   The copter would go to a construction site – maybe a future chair lift support.   At the site, a man would come out, pull the release lever, and empty the cement.   Off would go the helicopter for another load.   We watched this routine two or three times. It was interesting that we were looking down on the activity.

The trek was muddy in spots but mostly the trail was good.   We stopped from time to time to read at an Interpretive display.   I believe there was one for each of the three peaks of the Northface. For example, on the Jungfrau display, the early mountaineering attempts to scale the Jungfrau were documented with names, dates, and red lines on a Jungfrau picture to show the path of each attempt.

Eventually we had to begin the “long difficult walk down.”   It was very slow going in spots where the trail was muddy. Bev slipped near the very end hurting her wrist which she iced for a day.

Almost done but still “far above Gimmelwald”, we had a memorable encounter.   The local herders were moving their cowsCows to another pasture or walking them to a milking location.   However, Bev had fun as the cows got up close and personal. In this shot, Bev gives me a “what should I do now?” look. It took quite a while for them to pass. We just stood our ground and greeted the cattle and their handlers.   It was noisy, because each cow had a bell; and amazingly, it seemed like each bell was different.   Nice looking cattle.

After the cows passed, we continued down the road. But now we had another hazard.  The cattlemen did not carry plastic bags to clean up after their pets. 😊

Back at Walter’s, we probably ate and went to bed.  

I am guessing how we started the next day – November 5th. I believe we carried our bags back to the gondola for an early trip back to the Shilthorn station in the valley.

But we had to have breakfast. As was our plan, we got on a gondola to Murren.   From Murren, I now believe we took a cable car to Birg; and from there, we went by another gondola to the summit of the Shilthorn (9500 ft).   On the ride, it was possible to pick out alpine ibexes moving through the rocks far below.  

Atop the Shilthorn, there was a restaurant called the Piz Gloria.   It had a revolving floor which swept us around the mountain landscape as we ate.   We had a champagne breakfast.

The Piz Gloria was one of the locations for the James Bond movie in 1969 called “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” starring George Lazenby, the successor to Sean Connery in the Bond role. It was a great place to sightsee. I don’t remember it then, but the Piz Gloria now has a 007 museum.

On to the next episode that will include  Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Hungary.   Europe Odyssey 2