Switzerland Summary

 

We traveled to Switzerland by train from Milan and stayed our first night in the delightful town of Brig along the main southern railway line.  We found two rooms at the Ambassador Hotel, run by the very friendly and helpful manager Stefan Welschen.  Afterward we went for a walk and dinner at an outdoor restaurant that served bratwurst and beer.  We were glad to finally be back to cool weather after hot Italy.  The next morning we packed our bags and walked back to the train station for the 2-hour ride up the valley to Zermatt.  Zermatt is a ski town that has retained its Swiss mountain village charm, largely because of strict zoning.  To keep noise levels down, only electric vehicles are allowed, hence there was a very large parking garage at the edge of town.  We stayed at the recently renovated Hostelling International facility and it was great.  When we got to our room and opened the window, the Matterhorn mountain was right outside.  Our friends the Foxes arrived a few hours later.  It was great to see them again, this was our fifth country where we met on the trip!  We met their son Dallas, on summer vacation from college.  At dinner on the patio we caught up and compared notes on our round-the-world travels.  Breakfast and dinner were included in the cost of our stay and all the food was prepared by two friendly Portuguese women.  We enjoyed some excellent Swiss wines, available in the cafeteria and also sold at the front desk.  The next day we all hiked, getting halfway to the Matterhorn and returning in the rain.  It turned out to be the 4th of July, which we didnít realize until after lunch, an unusual 4th to be sure.  We thought of friends and family back at the summer cabin near Seattle.  The next day we took a tram up the mountain and hiked to a small village and church where Todd and family visited when he was a boy.  It was a beautiful sunny day and a wonderful hike back down the mountain.  The third day we took a gondola lift to above the tree line to snow so the girls could play and hopefully remember why we live in Hawaii.  We learned that Zermatt is one of the few places in the world that has summer skiing and we saw members of the Swiss ski team.  After four great days in Zermatt, we were sad to move on.

Our plan after Switzerland was to go to France for one week and then fly to Morocco for one week, but that changed.  We learned by email in early June that Todd's friend Mohamed, his wife Malika and their daughters Iman and Sara would not be able to meet us in Casablanca as we had hoped.  Mohamed encouraged us to go nonetheless as we could stay with his mother, and his brother would be our tour guide.  But by then Cheryl and the girls lost enthusiasm for going.  We were a bit travel weary at that point and the thought of flying to Morocco during the hottest time of the year and not seeing our friends was enough to convince us to postpone the visit for another time.