Monday, 16 September 2013

THE "Daffies" (Monday, September 16)

So what do you do when you have eight hours on a train, even if it is the speedy Railjet, travelling at speeds of up to 233 km per hour. (Speeds and the route map are posted on overhead computer screens. Quite slick!) I for one let my mind wander to "silly" things. Like the Monty Python crew and their "silly walk", this is me and my " silly talk". I have unilaterally decided to create the "Daffies" - awards for my Swiss Best List. Not quite the Oscars, but what the hey!
Best City/Town:
Nominees are Zurich, Gruyeres and Lucerne.
And the award goes to....Zurich. (Cheers and applause can be interjected here!) I loved this dignified city with its quiet charm. I admit that the Chagall windows in Fraumunster may have played a large part in my decision. I would return to Zurich just to revisit those vibrant masterpieces.
Best Experience:
Nominees are Chillon Castle, the Lavaux Wine Terraces, and the Jungfraujoch (The Top of Europe)
And the award goes to....The Jungfraujoch. (Yahoos are heard all around!) Not even counting the adventure of two cog train rides, one actually taking you through the Eiger, the mind boggling views from the observation station out over the Alps and glaciers is a hands down winner. It was difficult at times to take it all in. How small and insignificant is mankind. Close on its tail, however, is tasting wine sitting outside on the Lavaux Wine Terraces surrounded by row upon row of vineyards. Not to mention the views over Lake Geneva. Oh, and the delicious wines!!
Best Music:
Nominees are the choir in Gruyeres Town Square, cow bells, ad hoc groups of yodellers.
And the award goes to....cow bells. (Bravo! Bravo!) Switzerland for me will forever be the land of tinkling cow bells. Even now as we whizz across the Austrian border, I can hear the welcome sound of those bells. Quintessential Switzerland!
Best night Music:
Nominees are: the rushing sound of Appenzell's Sitter River, the gurgling fountain in Gruyeres, the roar of Lauterbrunnen Falls.
And the winner is........the gurgling fountain in Gruyeres. (Applause! Applause!) How could you not have sweet dreams with the happy, inviting, bubbling and gurgling sound of that cheery little fountain as the backdrop?
Best Dinner Out:
And the nominees are Cully (tagliatelle with chantarelle mushrooms in a white wine sauce), Lucerne (the famous chicken pot pie at Opus), Cully again ( grilled perch, fresh from Lake Geneva).
And the winner is..... Grilled Perch from Lake Geneva. (Smacking lips can be heard.) Truthfully, the only area of disappointment for me in Switzerland was the food. To dine out nicely is exceedingly expensive. I missed the little Ma and Pop trattorias of Italy where an outstanding meal can be savoured for just a pittance. With the exception of one meal in Lucerne, the best food we enjoyed was in the French region of Switzerland.
Well, enough of these Daffies. I could list hundreds more and bore you - and me - to death. Our train is speeding on its final leg into Vienna. It has been an extremely long and tiring day, waking at 6:00 a.m., taking three different trains and ultimately arriving after 10:30 p.m. I would fly next time. Who was it that said travel by train?
Switzerland has been a treat. Every inch of the country is spotless ,neat and beautiful. Its friendly, accommodating people are fiercely proud of their mighty little country and so they should be. Their engineering ingenuity is staggering from mountain tunnels, to extensive bridges to mountain passes. Not an inch of their wild topographical landscape remains unused. The highway system, no matter how small the road, is beautifully maintained. Not a pothole to be seen. Did you hear that Mayor Ford?
With the exception of our departure from Zurich when we fly home. It is auf wiedersehn and au revoir to the land of cow bells, chocolate and cheese.
Let our Austrian adventure begin.......
I have only added two photos today. One is of the guardian angel, Niki de St. Phalle who hangs above the heads of travellers in the Zurich Train Station. The second is a logo I took of the side of a train. Nice to know that Canada plays a part in the efficiency of the highly regarded Swiss train system. Yeah Canada!

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