Another rail ride up the Rhône and across passes to the Rhine

Once deep in Vallais Canton like in its capital city of Sion, the Grisons are a long way around the north slope of the Alps. It’s shorter to head up the Rhone to Brig and into the upper most Vallais (German speaking), then thru the Furka tunnel into Urseren valley and from there over Oberalp pass offering marvelous views back down to Andermatt and west ward to the Furka region.

More winter visits


Significant others happen to live in the French speaking parts of Switzerland, la Romandie. Family visits give also opportunities to look a bit more closely at the places where they live.

Lausanne, for instance, has a marvelous cathedral, a sample of Burgundian Gothic. Not as soaringly tall as the dome of Cologne, nor as bright and spacious as Notre Dame in Paris but of a singular coherence stylistically. There are concepts and elements  linking the building with Anglo-Norman cathedrals. Maybe the counts of Neuchâtel had not only one of theirs, Bishop Grandisson (Grandson line of the counts), serve in Exceter, but prior connections which worked also the other way round.

More than half of the long house and all of the transept was constructed in the span of 25 years. With little stylistic change the remaining parts of the western nave and entrance were built in the subsequent 20 years. By 1235 the building stood and largely as it stands before us these days.

Stained glass and carved stalls make it excel amongst Swiss cathedrals too.

Lausanne is a city built on a slope with a southern exposition above lake of Geneva or lac Léman and old parts of the city occupy several hills protruding from that slope. Nowadays severl large bridges link these distinct parts. Makes for at first a confusing walk but always entertaining, be it the paver stones squares, fountains, façades or shop windows. And to reach the lake one can hop on a métro or walk ontop or next to the line straight down to Ouchy.

Winter visits

In January we got lots of snow and various places in the Alps were cut off and train routes and roads closed because of avalanche danger. In Febuary travel was possible and save again besides, the Swiss Plateau had only occasionally slippery roads, trains circulated freely.

The first visit was to Zurich and the Rietberg Museum to see the Nasca exhibit.

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The next day we travelled to Schaffhausen and the Allerheiligen Museum to take in the Etruscan show which had been extended to mid-February.

A stroll from the train station down toward the Rhine river leads inevitably thru the old town with its picturesque bay windows and many reflections, the big dial of the town church made for a particvularly attractive motive.

The Allerheiligen Museum is situated in the former All Saints monastery. Aside from changing exhibits there is an impressive collection of natural and cultural artefacts including the stunning Ebnöter Sammlung (antique ceramics, bronzes from the mediterranean and the Near East plus classical Americas and more).

An intreaguing item – that dish like bronze cup born by a miniature wagon and part of a funerary outfit.

Miniature bronce wagon as a funerary item

It’s an easy ride by train from or back to Zurich. At Eglisau the train corsses the Rhein river.

The small town from the train


Winter 2017/2018

As we did for quite a few years, we head from the Kootenays in BC, Canada, to la Surselva in GR, Switzerland. This shaped up as quite a winter! Enjoy how the snow is piling up and the plows gather for a near endless removal. There were episodes of rain in January which made the pack settle but then more gets dumped to introduce February.

Kaslo, Rupert return

Here are Google Maps for going to Prince Rupert and for returning to Kaslo.

Leaving the mountainous terrain of the Kootenays to cross the Interior Plateau and then getting into mountainous terrain again, in the NW the Coast Mountains is best seen when switching Google Maps display to ‘Terrain’.

Now remains to deal with oodles of pictures. There are select topics (e-g- the eagles at Gingolx or some totem poles) for which I will return to the 3box blog to post them. The best photos will also be on 3box as slide shows. – Stay tuned.

From the Skeena to the Fraser

2nd last day …a lot of driving. A brief stop between Hazelton and Williams Lake in Burns Lake and an excellent Cappuccino there at the Boer Mountain Coffee House.

In Williams Lake we put up in the Drummond Lodge, well known to us from the days in the Bella Coola Valley.