Denise and David in Europe 2016
November 11-12
Switzerland - Zurich part 1

last updated 12 November 2016
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Friday 11 November - Zurich day 1 - Arriving

Hmmmmmm the prices of everything just went up about 40%.  Reason:  Switzerland.

Anyway, back to the train trip.  Notice how the scenery become immediately mountainous.

Switzerland was breathtaking.  Views in all directions.  Lots of tunnels as well!

Passing through the Swiss towns.

Lots of lakes

and the mountains just kept going....gorgeous.

and mountains and towns in the valley below.

and then the snow caps started.....

and more snow caps (and poles).... well it is hard to take pictures in a train going 160 K.p.h!

Dotted with castles along the way...

The mountains and snow are striking.  Not like an avalanche but the scenery really did take your breath away at times.

Look at this!

And this!   The snow is really setting in now. Its going to be cold when we get out that is for sure.

Where the snowline meets the grass........

To the lake which Zurich is situated.

Another great day train travel and scenery.  We made it.  

Saturday 12 November - Zurich day 2 - Fronalpstock Mountain, the Klosterplatz Monastery in Einsiedeln, and the Rabechilbi Parade in Richterswil

(say that quickly 5 times)
Today, Nina, our friend we made in Iceland, is picking us up at 9am for a day in the mountains of Switzerland and beyond!  Can't wait!

We arrived downstairs 20 minutes early to wait for Nina and "SURPRISE" - she was there earlier and waiting!  So fabulous to meet up again.

Nina says "Today is a surprise... a surprise trip up a mountain - there may be some snow at the top - lunch at a monastery.... and a special surprise to end the day".

She drove about an hour past Schwyz up the Grundstrasse. The snow line creeped closer and before long there was snow everywhere.  That lovely powdery fresh snow.  We parked at the Stoos.  Rug up time its going to be cold up there.

Our transportation - A funicular and cog railway up the maintain.  We took the front the first time and the back end coming down.

We were all excited.  David snapped a selfie of us.  We look like a bunch of gnomes.  LOL

100 meters - Snow pretty as a postcard.  You can see the peak of a mountain in the distance.

At the top, we got out and trudged about 500m through the snow to reach the chairlift.  (The first chairlift)!

The chairlift!  And up we went again.

and up - spotting the town below us.  Almost looks like a xmas card.

Note the ski run underneath us...  It was a quiet day.

Then there are the old houses in places you just don't expect to see houses.  This particular one is built in a traditional shingled way. 

We switched chairlifts at Stoos at 1300 meters and went ascended to Fronalpstock at 1922 meters.

Don't worry about the snow line any more we are now above the cloud line LOL.  The mountain peak in the distance looks like an island in the clouds.

Lucky there was a restaurant there at the top. How civilised.   We had a cup of hot coffee and chocolate.  (Denise is on camera..........Denise is always on camera.... and yes took a record amount of photos today!!!!

Here we at the top in awe of the views as the clouds begin to clear.

"It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll."  The Swiss Alps up close and personal.

Notice the icicle coming off the roof.  Gosh is not even winter yet.  There is also a glimpse of the village in the valley wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy down there..

Spectacular views everywhere we look.  The clouds drifting past....Gee those trees are teeny weeny.

No we are not in an airplane! We are on the chairlift.  We think this has to be the most scenic chairlift in the world.

Denise and David - very happy at the top after playing snowball fights....

The peak from early still trying to make its grand appearance.

Wowzas!  Cross country skiing anyone?

Time to leave.  It was sooooooooo hard to drag ourselves away from this place but Nina had more surprises in store.   This was going to be a hard act to follow.

As we descend a picture postcard shot of the village below.

Nina was not happy going down.  She had an icicle stuck in her nose.

More ideas for Christmas post cards.  The trees so pretty with their dusting of snow.

Finally back on the ground and looking back.  Only one word comes to mind.  "Wow!"  Speechless.

Next stop Einsiedeln.  But first - We couldn't help but be impressed by the Olympic sized ski jump.  Lots of winter sports here in Einsiedeln.  Now that is much steeper than how the photo looks.

Next was a town market next to the monastery pictured below.  We had a light lunch at the market.  Lots of traditional food available.  Yum.  They even make chips like Den does for our BBQs are home. 

Then a leisurely look around the monastery.  Sorry no pics allowed inside. The colour scheme was predominantly a sickly pink and white with the usual floor to ceiling paintings ornaments and statues.  However it was a cheerful place.  It had taken 30 years to restore the basilica or abbey to its original and colourful glory.  Quite a contrast from its solemn gray exterior.  The town is getting ready for its special xmas markets which is quite an attraction each year.

Next stop Richterswil.  We had to fill in a little bit of time so off to another restaurant for warmth and a cup of tea.  RIchterswill was another 50km away and this was to be the last surprise of the day.  It was the Rabechilbi Parade.  OK!  Ummmmm what is a Rabechilbi Parade?  Here is what it is all about.....

As we strolled down the street all the houses and buildings (and people for that matter) were adorned with Rabens in their windows.  A Raben is a turnip.  It was the annual turnip parade - the biggest parade in Switzerland.  It is a parade that symbolically recognises coming from the dark to the light and its a bit like Halloween time but they use Rabens instead of pumpkins.  The Rabens were carved in different patterns and a candle put inside them to show the pattern off.  The line every window sill, balcony and garden in the whole town.   The town actually turn ALL the street lights out and the starts and finishes in the dark with the only thing to light the place are these Rabens

Everyone would carve them out and put a candle each one.  The parade contained many placards (as seen below) and these were decorated with the lit Rabens.  Then they were also attached to other wooden objects for effect and every band and every school aged child were in the parade carrying their Raben.

As darkness descended, it was time for the parade.  A pretty large crowd gathers and in a pretty orderly way everyone found their place on the sides of the road.

A huge fire work goes off in the sky and at the same time ALL the street lights go out.  About 15 minutes later another fire work goes off in the sky and the parade begins.

Here are only some of the displays.... a howling wolf.

The famous Swiss Matterhorn including village!

and David's favourite, an HMV gramophone that actually had a turntable operating.

There were lots of others such as a full working aquarium and lots of school children and the bands kept coming.  What a spectacular night.  We were lucky that we were in Switzerland that day AND that Nina was there to show us the way. 

Thank you Nina for such a wonderful day.

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