Day 11 - Lugano to Meiringen, Switzerland

9:36 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

We came across a cuckoo clock factory in our shopping travels. This is me with a giant clock.
The crazy road we got stuck on.

The town of Brienz, Switzerland
The view from our balcony at Hotel Zwirgi. That is Meiringen below.
The photos are not submitting in the correct order...this is our hike along the Reichenbach Falls
All last night it rained and rained. We left the door slightly open but we closed the cool metal shutters. I don't know what kind of weather they can get in this town but they have these awesome metal doors that you open and close with the touch of a button on the wall. When you close them they come sliding down and seal up like you are in some bunker waiting for Armageddon. We closed that and left the door slightly ajar so we could hear the crazy hard at times rain and the occasional thunder and lightening. It made for a fun sleep. Every now and again I would wake up from the storm and get all excited. I would say quietly to the Hubs something like "That was thunder!" or "It's raining REALLY hard out!" I am not sure if I wanted him to wake up because of my talking or not but I figured if I said it softly enough he would wake up only if he was already awake...you know what I mean? What I am saying is that I said it quietly enough that he couldn't really blame me if he woke up. When we finally got up it was still storming a bit but it was still grey and wet out.

This sign is at the top of the falls and at the base of our hotel.

We had breakfast as usual then went to get the car out of the parking lot. When we first arrived at this hotel, the Hotel Victoria, I went in and asked where we are supposed to park our car. The lady directed us to an underground parking lot that is right across the street so that is where we parked. But I kind of figured that they had some sort of deal with the hotel or something. I was wrong. Quite wrong. After all, we are in Switzerland $$$ (Hubs told me to put that in.) It cost us $90 to park in that stupid parking lot. Everything here is so freaking expensive it is astonishing. We are hoping that it is just Lugano and the rest of Switzerland is a little better. Lugano is kind of a rich person town anyways. Most of the stores are jewelry and watch stores. We drove out onto the wet streets and headed for my favorite part of Switzerland. Switzerland is divided into kind of states called cantons. The one we are leaving is called Ticino. Ticino is the southermost canton and the only Italian speaking one. It is also the one most of my family comes from even though most of them have since moved to other parts of the country. The canton we are going to is called Bern and it is in the middle of the Alps. It has the mountains like the Eiger, the Mounch and the Jungfrau. It has towns like Grindelwald, the one we are staying in called Meiringen and my favorite town of all, Lauterbrunnen. The reason we are not staying in Lauterbrunnen this time is because a couple years ago we were in the area and took the funiculear up the Reichenbach falls just abouve the town of Meiringen like I often do. What I love doing is taking the train up to the top of the falls then walking the tiny, tiny, unpaved, farm roads back down. Last time we went up but couldn't hike back down because it was too wet and rainy out. We were cold and wet and tired so we happened upon this crazy hotel on the very top of the famous falls called Hotel Zwirgi. They had a restaurant so we took shelter there and had a nice hot cocoa. We were super hungry so we got to talking to the waitress. There was no one else around because of the iclement weather so she talked to us for a long while. She recommended a dish called Kaseschnitte which ended up being so awesome that we ordered it everywhere we went after that. I even began making it at home. It is a big hunk of bread, dipped on one side in white wine then baked with cheese, tomatoes, ham and topped with a fried egg. The Hubs just gets it with no meat of course. Other places we had it it was like a pizza sort of. We had it with pineapple on top or other pizza-like toppings. But the best was at the Hotel Zwirgi. We swore we were going to come back to this hotel to stay next time so that is where we are staying now. The hotel is perched on the steep side of a massive mountain. There is little surrounding it but cows, scattered chalets where real Swiss farmers are working and living and the falls.

Kasseschnitte, our dinner.
As we drove along we went through about 1/4 the amount of tunnels as we did in Italy but this time they were all like 15 minute and 20 minutes driving. The tunnels are so long in this area that you even took exits inside the tunnels. The times we were not in a tunnel we were almost swerving off the road because all the mountains were letting the rain water fall in the form of a million waterfalls. There were up to 12 or 15 in one sight-line. It was like there are more waterfalls than in Hawaii. We are lucky that it did rain recently because it is like a freaking wonderland here. The waterfalls are hundreds and hundreds of feet high and drop straight down. It really is a sight to see.

The whole area is so beautiful. I think it is like Yosemite on steroids. The Alps in Bern make the mountains of Yosemite look like a snow globe in your hand. Before we went to our hotel we first drove to a nearby town called Brienz where we always find good shopping and last trip Hubs had the best soup of his life. It was a cream of asparagus soup that was so decadent that even I, who hates asparagus, loved it. We drove to the town and found parking right on the ice blue glacial lake. We went directly to the shop that has all the best stuff and bought lots of stuff. Because I don't have a job and have not for the past several years, I was only able to buy so much stuff but I still managed to fill a Swiss bag full of trinkets to take home and enjoy. We then walked along the lakeside looking for the restaurant. It dawned on me that the last time we were here it was Spring so of course there was asparagus. Now it is Fall and the likelihood of there being a spring vegetable on the menu was not good. And I was right. We found the restaurant and it was not serving the soup. It had really good other foods there but I felt guilty eating lunch there when we had a car full of food that needed eating that we bought at the coop the other day for a million Lugano dollars. So, I had to let the Hubs down and we left to eat in the car. We snacked and drove our way to another cute Alpine town, Grindelwald. It is another smallish town set in the backdrop of massive mountains like the Eiger. I used to come here when I was little and it was a tiny town. Since then it has become much more popular with the tour buses. It has specially caught the eye of the Chinese and many of the stores are now owned by and patronized by Chinese people. It still is a very nice town but you just have to not be surprised to find no Swiss people around much anymore. We did a little shopping around the town. The rain had almost subsided. After shopping, where I got a thimble for my friend who asked for a spoon...it's a long story....we programmed the Hotel Zwirgi into the map and headed off to check in. It was getting kind of late. We were going to get to the hotel right at 5:00pm. That is the cut off time that the hotel gave us that if we were going to be any later we needed to call them to let them know. We drove to the town of Meiringen and followed the GPS up the hill towards the hotel. We took one turn here and another turn there and then the pavement went away. Then we were scraping both sides of the car on the walls of the road because it was so narrow. Then I recognized where we were. We were being led up the same hiking path that I used to take down after going up the funicular. We got to a point where we could not possibly even back down. This is the second time this GPS program had taken us on pretty much undrivable paths. I mean, we were literally driving on a hiking trail. We were stuck. The ground was very wet so we were in a real risk of getting stuck in the mud. We had no room on either side to turn around and there was just no way to back down without ruining the car. We we got out and left the car. We hiked up the road a bit until we got to some caves. The path actually went through some caves. Luckily there was a bit of room just before the caves to maybe turn around at. We just had to drive up and then move some boulders. We scraped pretty good going up to the turn around spot. We easily could have high centered but we managed to not only get up there but to turn around with a few hundred point turns. Back down the road we went and tried the next road up. As we tried to turn up the next little, tiny road some construction guys up on the hill who were moving some dirt for whatever reason, were laughing at us. It's like...well you COULD have told us that we were going the wrong way but thanks anyways, poo heads! We squeezed up the next barely paved road and finally arrived at the hotel. I remember there being buses and stuff up there so I knew there had to be an easier way up. We found it the next day. Who cares. for now we were at the hotel and only a half hour late. They waited for us, luckily! We checked in. The nice folks we met before were all different nice folks and they didn't speak English. I used my broken German and we got to our AWESOME hotel room.

All the rooms here are named something. This room is called 1000 and 1 nights or something like that. Our view is just freaking unbeatable. We can hear the tinkling of the cowbells from the surrounding farms, there are chickens cooing and roostering near us and we can hear the rush of the falls right below us. The people here said that it was cold weather out today because it snowed last night. We could see the highest peaks all had snow on them. That had just happened. They told us that tomorrow will be clear and warmer again. We are hoping that is true because we have this incredible view but the mountain tops are shrouded in clouds. We still managed to get some great sun setting photos. We rested and washed some clothes. We went for a quick hike down a bit of the falls. I was all skippy and happy. The rain had totally stopped by this point and it was beginning to clear. The ground was wet still and there was no one around. It is very quiet and we feel like we are the only people up here. We had to come back to the hotel for dinner before 7pm because that is when the chefs and staff went home. We came back up the hill in time for dinner. Boy were he excited to have the Kaseschnitte again.

This sweet young lady was our server. She spoke the best English of anyone here. She explained to us that the chefs have changed since we were here last but the recipe for the cheese sandwich is the same. We both ordered it and I got a little bottle of wine. We also both got a bowl of cream of vegetable soup. The soup was fantastic as it always is...how can you go wrong with cream of anything really? The kaseschnitte was lacking. We still enjoyed our dinner, specially the views. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves. We finished dinner as the waitress was leaving to go home. Hubs chased her down so we could give her a tip because she was so darn nice. Back at the room I showered as Hubs hung up all his laundry. I think he washed every single item of clothing he had. It was hanging on every surface in the room. A bit stuffy and creepy if you ask me but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess. We started to watch some tv. We brought some Key and Peele on our surface tablet which has been great fun to watch as we wind down for the evening. I konked OUT at 9pm. Hubs said he saw that I was sleeping completely outside the big, warm, fluffy duvets we had on the bed so he felt bad that I was so hot. See, I am always way too hot and he is always way too cold. He was such a sweetheart and opened the door a couple inches so I could sleep better. He put on his eye mask and ear plugs. We both slept very well and had really great dreams. It was yet another great day and night!

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