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Oldgeezer's European Hiking etc

Discussion in 'Europe' started by oldgeezer, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I figured I better stop cluttering up the staying in touch thread and start this one to put pics and impressions.

    Slept in this morning meaning just a few hours will be available in Lucerne to look around town but that should be enough.
     
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  2. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lucerne is a beautiful town. Would happily go back there. Transport museum is worth a day on it's own.
     
  3. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looking forward to the pics, @oldgeezer . Absolutely loved Switzerland in particular
     
  4. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Unfortunately my son is not one for museums :(

    So our day was brief, not being a hiking day


    The train from Meiringen had me amazed, it took off charging uphill to the Hasliberg heights at a great rate of knots and slowly down the other side.


    I had only been to Switzerland, just overnight in Zurich passing through to Innsbruck years ago and had vague memories of the lake there, in winter, so believed the PR about Lucerne's lake. Wanting my son to feel ownership of what we were doing required some finessing to get him to tag along to the sites listed on a self-guided walking tour web page, the first being Chapel Bridge of course, heading to the Jesuit Chuch.



    I got neck strain looking at the murals in the roof cavity on the bridge as well as trying to avoid the zillions of other pesky tourists, they were simple, unlike the Baroque in the Jesuit church at the other end


    Next was the Spreuer Bridge. No tourists to speak of, they were all on the Chapel Bridge. I loved the timber arch construction.


    After that we went up the hill to the Musegg Wall.


    An old friend was there, struggling in the conditions by the look of it


    The Clock Tower indicated the Swiss have had a long tradition of clocks and watches I guess


    Then along a walkway and down another tower to ground level and outside, amazed to find a working farm.


    Then we charged across the retail area busy with lunching workers, past the high end shops when suddenly a delightfully decorated building was a sight to behold, before the next sight, The Dying Lion of Lucerne sculpture. Hordes of Chinese tourists miracuously disappeared allowing a clean picture, and a nice cool down in the shade by the water.


    Last stop was the Hof Church, another Baroque masterpiece, side chapels seemingly more ornate than the main altar.


    This one was inside a larger cloistered area, being a Benedictine monastry. But it did have me a bit confused as unlike every other Baroque church, being Catholic, there was no Holy Water.

    I was even more confused by how come the two main churches in Lucerne were Catholic in what I thought was Calvinist. Wikipedia illuminated my mind: Basically the North and West (Basel, Bern, Zurich) had gone Protestant whereas the South and East being closer to Italy and Austria had stayed Catholic, eventually losing importance once the Protestant areas and forces won out, so with Bern being the Swiss capital and Zurich the business centre.

    What to do the rest of the afternoon then I ask my son who has the answer: Train to Zurich for afternoon tea. So off we go and 45mins later detrain in Zurich. "Great museums here" I say. Afternoon tea prevailed and I followed after him several blocks to a place selling what he wanted, and into the Botanical garden to eat it and an iced coffee. Then back to take a look at the lake before more city blocks back to the train to Lucerne back to Meiringen.

    That was yesterday and we'd selected being in town on the basis of weather reports the day before: Thunderstorms for yesterday then cooler and finer for today Wednesday, and Thu and Fri to come for the mountains. Unfortunately this morning was far cloudier and the hotel proprietor/chef advised against getting up high so we took his advice to stay low and went to the Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum near Brienz, about 13km distant. Actually the cloud did did burn off to a degree up around Brienz but in the valleys, and up high, it was still cloudy. It is interesting how much the topography seems to create micro climates, so Interlaken was being forecasted to reach 20C today but just 16C in Meiringen, just 30km apart.
     

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  5. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Social Media Mod Ski Pass: Gold

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    Stunningly beautiful town. Brought back some good memories.
     
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  6. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Anyway we decided to follow the hotel proprietor's advice as he has a lovely blonde wife who instructed at Falls Creek so must be clever, and visited the Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum to spend a few hours there.

    That meant taking the train one stop back the 13km to Brienz from where walked the 4km to the Museum. A decent uphill walk.


    It is a museum on Swiss rural life mid 19C, before industrialisation and mechanisation. In many ways the intent is something like the exhibition village Zaanse Schans outside of Amsterdam where they have windmills and traditional craft kept alive, i.e. women in old style dresses etc done rather well, and organised into styles of farm buildings typical by region. I formed the impression that they had been actual buildings dismantled and transported to the site then reassemble. Could be wrong.

    However the overall theme of the days was modernity overshadowing the past. In the above Google screen scrape notice what is in the middle. That is where this came from


    They were undertaking flight operations all day from Meiringen AirBase, F18s now and Pilatus trainers. Thick cloud around the peaks across the valley and then flying around in the tight valley. At one stage a Pilatus was heading right above as if towards me (North by Northwest crop duster style) with all it lights on, then banks around to the airstrip.

    Towards the end I happened to have the camera ready to catch the second of two low down heading to land, just before the end, in the gap between the trees midscreen (just left of the start icon).


    Anyway here are a few pics, first being an early industrialists mansion


    Animal buildings etc


    Me ducking to avoid the beams, Swiss farm workers must have still been Roman height


    Can't have a recreated rural museum without animals


    After we were done we took a bus back to Brienz station. I swear they are wider than the buses in Canberra yet the one we were on went right up high above the valley through villages on narrow roads speeding past stone walls just cms away from the window. We made it though.

    Waiting for the bus I'd Googled if we could visit the base and one can, on Wednesday afternoons. Great. Uhoh: Have to register the day before. :(

    YoungGeezer though just wanted an afternoon to chill out.

    This afternoon the cloud had transformed into a blanket up high and web cams earlier in the evening showed pea soup conditions. Forecast is for it to clear in the early morning but I will check to see what it is like at Schilthorn.
     
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  7. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice. The train trip between Interlaken and Luzern via Meiringen is stunning. Did it in spring a couple of time 25 years apart. Probably my favourite anywhere in the world.
     
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  8. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    My quads and calves are killing me. Yesterday (Thu) was a bit disappointing due to thick cloud cover but today (Fri) was tops. Am on train from Interlaken back to Meiringen for beer and bite to eat at hotel then shower and maybe some pics. Fabulous day.
     
  9. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Not too many pics, need to wind up and pack for moving on tomorrow.

    This morning we went to (lower) Schilthorn and spent most time on the Thrill Walk before taking the cable car back down to Murren and walking along the train track to Grutschalp and a steeper more difficult hike down to Lauterbrunnen.

    Me, still a bit cool, with Thrill Walk starting at at right


    Then YoungG and I went down onto ti


    Not one for heights YoungG didn't try the clear perspex but I did.


    Right at the end I went through this kids' playground tunnel

    I asked YoungG to video me on my Android to show the grandkids. Alas he has an iPhone so it didn't happen. Main sensation was the steel wire was killing my hands and knees too much to think about much else.

    Lastly of course there were lots of chair towers scattered around, e..g. one right by (lower) Schilthorn and another above Murren.


    After that we went back down to Murren and decided to walk to Lauterbrunnen rather than cable car and bus. I really liked that and by the end was really hot and wishing I'd worn shorts. However this is enough for now so will save the pics for next time.
     
  10. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We just had our first night at Hotel Welponer in Selva di val Gardena. It saw us having a feast: Sunday night special of aperitif then delicious four course dinner.

    We have three full days here for hikes but unfortunately heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast to come in from 11am so we shall just take the gondola up to the starting point of our itinerary walk then back down again.

    Nice view from the balcony of the room over outer Selva


    Peaking back over the hotel roof I can see part of the Sassolungo


    Slope yonder


    Sorry I can't envisage a winter visit :(
     
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  11. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The idea for today was to take the gondola / cable car up to Seceda then walk across the slopes to above St Christina and back to Selva. With rain forecast we just did the tourist ride then looked around Otisei just missing the last bus for the morning back to Selva. With the next one not scheduled until after lunch we walked anyway, along the valley trail and footpaths.

    Seceda Panorama

    Hope to walk arounf Sassolungo tmrw with better weather forecast


    North view to(wards) Austria


    Original idea

    and then


    Plenty of ski lifts around, including one with a Helipad
     
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  12. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I took too many pics on walking around Sassolungo a couple of days ago so need to select some but woke this morning on our last morning to see a dusting on all the peaks around Selva di Val Gardena
     

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  13. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    So you walked through the gap and past by the helicopter crash site memorial.

    - (lift from/to refugio Toni Demetz or walk?)

    Very beautiful area.
     
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  14. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So tonight we are in a B&B before starting our Tuscany walks tomorrow so I better clear the decks with Sassolungo, two posts to do all the pics.

    It was a pretty hard walk and I was so glad to have my walking poles and on the uphill sections would often plant them together in up in front to help unweight the legs to get the spring up. Worked well with no stiffness in shoulders or arms at all by that night.

    Here is an overview.

    Our elapsed time was 7:30hrs but GrandPa rests and pic stops took up three hours of that total, this map also showing the 'too many to count' ski lifts every which way. Komoot shows just under 20k which with normal strides sort of works out at 22K steps but with a good proportion of steps being in the vertical dimension it could well have been the 33K steps which some have reported using apps designed to measure that dimension.


    We took the Ciampinoi Gondola from Selva di Val Gardena (AKA Wolkenstein) up to top station.

    It is a 12 person affair with 'seats' on three side and you don't actually sit, more just rest your butt against the support, sort of what RyanAir has once proposed for the budget conscious air traveler.

    The view right off to the Swiss Alps in the far distance and across the Dolomitten to the east was something


    Then we set off on the spur walk from Ciampinoi to the base of Sassolungo, at Rifugio Comici, noticing the first of many ski lifts and runs all over the place.


    It started with a steep downhill section which was Ok but OMG coming back up it after nearly 20km and 830vm of up and down sure took ages for me, altho YoungG took it on his stride. I reckon taking the bus up from Selva to Passo Selva, where the massive Sassolungo tourist complex is, and doing the circuit from there would have been better for me. Actually at the end of the day we struck dozens of afternoon walkers who, we surmised, had come up on the gondola and walked across to the Sassolungo base area before taking the bus down. There would have been another advantage too ...

    Anyway from Rifugio Comici one sets off to treck along the base of the north face of Sassolungo.


    Apparent in the above pic are the scree fields, i.e. death cookies of rocks from the limestone cliffs to negotiate after squishing along the very base of the cliffs


    The scree was hard work but relief was at hand as the path opened up and then by a whisker started turning from north facing to north west facing

    ...next post
     
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  15. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    ...Continued

    The northwest face is/was dominated by the cleft in Sassolungo. The masif is fractured into two halves and minor pieces at the higher levels and there is a track from the cleft point up to Rifugio Vincenza, and if I deduce correctly it is also accessible by a really weird coffin like gondola coming up from Sassolungo base station on the eastern side.


    Hiking was Ok along there


    Still a tad rocky


    Moving along we came out of the cliff area into delightful farming land


    As we came around to the south and the eastern areas we were back up to steeper areas again


    Until coming up to Sassolungo base area we again came to open country, and ski lifts and runs to traverse then the weird coffin gondolas going up to what I presumed to be Rifugio Vincenza in the cleft.


    After Sassolungo there was a great little section known as Rock City.


    And then yet more ski lifts and runs including one being pre-groomed by having the grass cut.


    From there we continued on past more lifts back to Rifugio Cominici and the spur back to Cianpinoi gondola for a welcome ride down to Selva but then a1.3km walk back to Hotel Welponer.

    All credit to YoungG for not letting me bail out at Passo Selva and we had made it back to the gondola by 5pm, timevto spare before last gondola down at 5:30pm

    Trouble is the meniscus in my right knee is still a tad inflamed with three days of hikes coming up in Tuscany. Luckily it is more rolling countryside so with some Voltaren lathered on I should be good to go.
     
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  16. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just love that Sasso longo summer gondola. Comes very close to the cliff further up and is very sensible against vind.
     
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  17. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I ended up not taking many pics in Tuscany. We did a 25km walk today and YoungG has blisters on both feet, me just a cramped foot. Bus to Rome tomorrow and a bit of tourist stuff.
     
  18. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Last few days of our vacation now, having a few days in Rome. Then leaving for home Thu evening. Phew.
     
  19. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice
    I remember saying about 20 years ago in Europe
    "If I see another friggin fresco in another friggin chapel..."