Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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4: Switzerland, June 18th

I'm very excited this morning, because we're going to the Reichenbach Falls - the famous spot where Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty *spoiler* to the *spoiler* in a thrilling *spoiler*.

A funicular railway, the Reichenbachfallbahn, takes us past Alpine meadows and brown sheep wearing bells to the foot of the falls. We're warned that the funicular closes for lunch at 11:45, giving us twenty-five minutes to explore or a long walk down.

Paths and steps lead up to a series of observation platforms. It's steep and rainforest humid with the moisture from the falls, but what stunning views! As time and breath get short, the intrepid explorers drop back one by one until it's just me and Howard galloping up to the penultimate platform, waving madly at the tiny dots down by the funicular station and galumphing back.

The next ride, up the Sustenpass, is perhaps my favourite of the holiday. The road climbs up and out of the villages, curving gently without too many hair-raising hairpins and with enough room to whack the throttle open between corners. Suddenly we're above the snowline, the temperature drops, and the scenery is rugged and grey patched with white. Streamlets trickle down the rocks and fall in a fine spray. I pause to take a photo and a Harley goes by, footpegs scraping on the bend.

I don't want this to stop, but by the time we reach the restaurant at the top I'm more than ready for some bratwurst and a potato salad with mustard in the mayonnaise.

Down the other side on a narrow track, pussyfooting past a minor rockfall and through a sheet of water. It quickly becomes so hot I can't believe we had lunch up in the snow. I'm workin' it as best I can round the corners, but the sheer drop away to the right is rather distracting. At one point all that stands between me and the scenery is a line of stubby white bollards, and I find my gaze drawn irresistibly to them in an acute case of target fixation.

The supply of roadside cafés runs out just as we decide we really must stop at the next one. The coffeeless desert stretches on and on, and we end up halting on a scorching industrial estate to gulp water. And, following yesterday's mishap, I have no emergency biscuits!

We get on the motorway and take on caffeine at a flyblown service station. This fortifies us for the last leg to Davos - which, until recently, I thought was in Greece. Or possibly in Dr Who.

It soon becomes apparent that everyone in Davos is completely bonkers. As we're parking, a little old lady with a dog approaches and starts telling me (in English) her somewhat fanciful life story. She's very interested in the bikes, welcomes us to Davos and recommends a nearby restaurant.

We extricate ourselves, being quite tired and hungry, and enter our hotel. We have agreed in advance that we always end up eating far too late and we should just dump our bags and head straight out for a meal. Unfortunately the manageress proves to be a fearsome lady with a wall eye who insists on showing us around every feature of all the rooms we've booked while volubly describing them. She susses that I'm the only one who speaks German, and whenever something requires explaining to the rest of the party she summons me with a chilling "Frau! Komm!"

She asks for cash up front and promptly tries to gyp us out of ten francs each. I step back and let John handle this one by waving his printout of the internet price at her: I do European languages, I don't do confrontation.

Against our expectations, the restaurant exists and proves to be a very nice Italian place. We mention our new friend's recommendation and the proprietors nod knowingly. We tell them where we're staying and they nod even more knowingly. The husband is from Italy and therefore sane; his wife tells us over our dessert that she has been able to see spirits ever since her son died in a road accident.

The next morning we browse the bookshelves on the hotel landing and discover a textbook on eugenics.

Then Howard accidentally breaks the toilet seat and we flee for our lives into the mountains.

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Tags: bikes, hols, scooters
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