We arrived in Frankfurt safe and sound. The plane trip was as expected, long, cramped and diffucult to get any sleep on, but it was fine. After a fairly quick stop at immigration, we made our way through the airport to find our box of goodies. It too arrived intact with the minor alteration that it had been opened by customs (looked to be in Calgary), the contents searched and repackaged. Nothing was removed so (shrug).
The next item on the itinerary was to get train tickets and make our way to Basel. Not unexpectedly, there was a fairly long line at the airport ticket office. We got our tickets and only had about 10 minutes to catch the train. We made it (the train was a few minutes late which worked in our favor). The trip to Basel was nice. I bought first class tickets and the car was not very busy and very comfortable. German ICE trains have WIFI so all was good. We had a bit of a snooze on the three hour trip to Basel SBB.
We arrived at the platform and as I looked out, I noticed Dierk waiting for us directly on the platform. What service. He was accompanied by his daughter Felicity. We through our bags in the back of his vehicle and off we traveled to the village he and his family live in the village of Wittnau. It’s a picture postcard village in a beautiful valley. After meeting Dierk’s wife Else and son Florian, Dierk took us out for a bit of a walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. There is a beautiful path/walk just outside his door that winds it’s way through meadows, past sheep and local farms. After stretching our legs we were treated to an Aperol, which was very refreshing. The weather started to turn a bit, with some clouds moving in. Dierk BBQ’d some local (like 100 m down the road local), sausages coupled with some potatoes and veggies it was a fantastic home cooked meal. Deanna and I felt very welcomed into Dierk and Else’s home. Their children are adorable and made quick friends with Deanna despite the fact that Deanna speaks no German and they don’t speak English (yet). We made it to 8:30 pm before calling it a night.
After a bit of a restless night (good old jet lag), we awoke to a hearty breakfast of Muesli prepared by Dierk. Florian served us some bread with the honey we brought from home. It was a great way to start the day. Dierk was a great guide for the day. We drove to Lucerne and walked along the lake for a bit, before finding an outdoor cafe where we indulged our sweet tooth. We toyed with the idea of taking a boat cruise on the lake as the weather wasn’t co-operating too much. Overcast with the occasional rain shower. Not cold at all but we weren’t sure what the views from Pilatus would be obscured by the clouds. We opted to give it a try and were not disappointed. Quintessential Swiss experience. Taking a gondola up the mountain to be treated with some incredible views. At the very top it was quite socked in. We couldn’t see too much, the wind was up a bit but we could see glimpses of the lake and surounding area. Mid mountain was clearer and while not having the sweeping panoramic views that would have been seen from the top, it was still spectacular. We watched some adventurous folks navigate a ropes/zipline course. There was also a summer luge like track that looked fun as well.
After spending a bit of time on the mountain, we headed back to Dierk’s where were fed an awesome home made pizza dinner accompanied by a local beer. All very tasty. Deanna learned a bit about minecraft from Florian and Felicity. All in all pretty much a perfect day.
Tomorrow Dierk is going to take us to the university he is teaching at and get us organized for part II or Swiss adventure where we’ll travel to Sion to spend a few days with Dana and Cedric.