Cross the Alps …or rather go beneath that mountainous barrier

Saturday, July 28, we packed up in Linden and the first four travellers got ferried to Oberdiessbach train station to head for Lucerne and then thru the Gotthard base tunnel into Ticino Canton to Melide. After some rest aboard a Berne – Lucerne course the ABSN quartett added themselves to the visiting crowds. Lucerne as Zermatt and a few more places belong to the Swiss top tourism spots.

Some will remember famous Kapell bridge while others were happy with interesting monkey bars. Next up the only recently completed 50+ km tunnel swallowed their train bound to Lugano in Ticino. A good 20 minutes in the dark at 200km/h will bring travellersfrom Lake of Lucerne to Ticino Canton and some more lovely lakes.

To help all blog visitors navigate, lets have some maps! The first one shows Switzerland in its boundaries surrounded by Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and France. Names in red and cursive print are places of stay during the Swiss visit.

Then follow two maps showing the routes taken by car from Ruschein to Linden and back plus the added the continuation by public means of transport via Chur to Bellinzona and Melide or else the train ride from Linden, Oberdiessbach via Lucerne to Melide as the CDN family took it.

Finally there is a map giving an idea of the relief. All of these maps can be had via Google. Note, you can ask for driving, train riding or walking or biking and the best routes are chosen according to mode of transport. Flying is a lesser option in a place measuring 200km North to South and 400 km West to East.

Don’t attempt to name and place all 26 Swiss Cantons but some help is provided by post cards anyway.

Also, when Andrew and I travelled by car from Ruschein to Linden we crossed Furka and Grimsel passes and thus came thru Gletsch. Means ‘glacier’ and 200 years ago the Rhone glacier was down there! Meanwhile it’s 1km+ behind the Belvedere on the Furka road. The post card view with the postauto is from around the 60s when the glacier was tumbling over the edge of the hanging valley above Gletsch. And all of that is history …1800, 1850, 1900, circa 1960 in the post card with indications of the regressing Rhone glacier.

60% of Switzerland are alpine and the least densly settled, 30% are taken up by the Swiss Plateau with hights between the 400m and 800m level where the majority lives. 10 % along the NW boundary to France are occupied by the Jura mountains and again a less densly settled area with forests and meadows and quite a few watch makers.

All right! Two designated drivers brought our nano-van back to Ruschein to continue by public transport to Melide. But before that a few more pictures of Stiller Ort. The B&B was ideal, swing in the cavernous barn included, a cosy dining room, a kitchen we could serve ourselves freely (a bottle of white and a bottle of red included totally gratis!). Living quarters downstairs, sleeping quarters upstairs and gardens in front and to the side of the house pluse a huge linden tree to keep our car in the shade and cool for the odd outing, e.g. when the Canucks went swimming in Konolfingen. (Clearly, the motive of the Swiss holiday is to get as much swimming in as possible.) So that we could sleep with wide open windows the hostess provided bug tents for all – just swell, Cristin!

Well, once underway we got a text from Cristin that some scatter brain had left his camera bag behind. Oh, well, will return to the lovely place later in the upcoming week and do some extra railroading 🙂 Meanwhile that number 6 will do.

We drove on over Sustenpass and clocked into Ruschein a quarter to two, just in time to swap out a few items and head for the postauto to continue our journey to Melide. It began to rain (much needed!) on the San Bernardino route (A13) and it was still sprinkling when we reached (Lugano-) Paradiso. Which is nice enough a place and promising a name but we got yet one better, the heaven of Melide.

Regula’s friends from her time as a teacher have a holiday home there and we are welcome to spread out and occupy the place for the next few days. When we arrived some had already taken to the swimming pool.

A 120 degree view will convince anyone that having good friends in Ticino is a good thing indeed! …especially when received with local wine and eats! Thanks so much, Urusla & Eric!

And now the folks have gone swimming in Lago di Lugano, and I finish the blog entry to join them. How could you blame me?!

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