And here comes another Euro trip :) Last year's trip to Switzerland (did not manage to write about this one) had really impressed me, the same time leaving a huge hole in the budget and a slight disappointment with the weather, so there was an idea to cross Switzerland and stay in Italy to get the maximum from the trip.
Trip: Brussels– Jestetten – Schaffhausen – Meiringen – Fiesch – Domodossola – Bellagio – Bellano – Piona – Menaggio – St. Gothhard – Colmar – Brussels
Waterfall of Rhein
Wow, looks great not only in pictures but in real life too :) Somehow they claim that this is the Europe's widest waterfall... Well, the Europe's wides waterfall is actually in Latvia... Ventas Rumba - 249 m but perhaps this one does not count as it's more of a small stream in comparison with Rhein...
Lots of parking spaces are available, so just make a good calculation which fits the best your needs, we did it next Schlössli Wörth - beautiful view and a point to get a boat ride as well as next to a lovely walking path.
Lots of little boats offer different rides - closer, around, further... we go for the one which stops in the middle next to the rock. Looks super scary but it is very safe, of course, you should not jump out of the boat :) Water is wonderful, transparent and warm and fast. Kids are jumping and allow the stream to take them further down the river. Fish are jumping too. Summer time, and the living is easy...
For the night we stay in the Germany, Jestetten - a simple German village but 1/3 cheaper than Switzerland.
Aare is the longest Swiss river and it has made some beautiful formations next to Meiringer. Beautiful walk of 1 km or so, the river makes some kind of a fog, feels very magic, only fairies are missing (maybe they are dancing in less visible places?)
After a lovely ride in Grimselpass and Furkapass we get to the glacier. Beautiful place! But the glacier shrinks for 10 m every year. We meet a British couple who had seen the place 20 years ago, a completely different view... If you want to walk on the glacier, you can... but, of course, it's not recommended, it can be dangerous.
Crazy driving, yes too much... but the next stop is amazing. We are one of the last ones who are admitted to go up to Eggishorn, wow wow wow... that's how the end of the world looks like! The world stays still there...
Como lake – Bellagio un Bellano
Next day we head towards the Como lake and it's pearl Bellagio. George Clooney is not at home, sorry... Ok, never mind... Bellagio can be a nightmare for parking, so better check all the possible places before.
Villa di Melzi
Oh, what a divine place! We don't pay much attention to the history of villa, the views and calmness is enough, just watch how the life goes by.
It's a super tiny tiny city, flowers everywhere but the closer you come to the center, the less space you have, everybody tries to find a parking of take a ferry. We are lucky to get to Varenna easily and continue our ride by car there to Bellano.
In the morning of August 15 we get to the Piona convent. There is a beautiful ceremony taking place, monks are singing. Of course, it's August 15!!! A monk is selling products made in the convent, I get a cream to treat mosquito bites, much needed :)
We go round the lake to the Northern part of the lake. Conclusion - we prefer the south. Menaggio is a perfect place for walks but we have no gear, so just make a simple one to San Domenico.
You can find great descriptions of walks here:
We are off to get home. Gotthard pass is on our way. We prefer to take the mountain road instead of the tunnel and it's a great choice - much more scenic ride and far less cars. Weather looks perfect - views amazing and all you want to do is stop every 5 min to suck in the beauty. Then we go through a tunnel and here comes the fog... bye bye lovely views...
Last year we stayed in Lauterbrunnen for 3 days but because the weather was not so good, we did not see Schilthorn. We are determined to try our luck this year. We get lunch in the Coop supermarket (what a crapy little shop...) and hope that up the mountain we will have a view. The view in the webcam looks promising to us and we buy the tickets for 90 eur each to go up... Well, guess what... no view, just clouds... lots of sad tourists around who hope to have a view... just like us. At least we did not come from Japan for this... The lesson is clear - if there are clouds in the mountains, just don't go up :) As simple as that!
Just before heading home we make a quick stop in Colmar, last joys of local goodies and off we go!
- You never know what the weather will be in Switzerland. And if you get rain and clouds, then you get rain and clouds. It's not without a reason that many Swiss hotels don't allow cancellations less than 2 weeks in advance.
-Even at the Aletch glacier there was a note which apologized for the bad weather ;-)
-Why do Japanese love so much Jungfrau region?
-In Switzerland you can pick mushrooms only from the dates 1 - 7 and only 2 kg per person. Latvians would not be happy about such a restriction.
-Lots of blueberries in Switzerland, are there any restrictions for picking them?
-House wine is much more expensive in the northern Italy than in Rome.
-If you don't understand why Italians are so slow at driving, they are not Italians, they are tourists who rented a car ;)