Yup – that’s me just ready to set off for the Montreux train station en route to Zurich. The pack doesn’t even feel heavy any more. After being without it for one whole day (yesterday) it actually felt good to have it on (uh-oh – this cant be good).
And so I walked to the station – another beautiful cloudless, hot day – and not just in Montreux – here in Zurich too!
So there I was sitting in the train, staring out the window at the green countryside dotted with cute little villages thinking, “yeah – I would do this again.”
It was right then that I knew for sure that I am nuts. There are those who have suspected it for years and I just want to say to them, “you were right all along! I admit it.”
However, in my defense, I would do it slightly differently. I would probably break it out to an extra day and I would do the non-alternate route and I would do it with Simon. No one else would do. And seeing that I’m pretty sure Simon is going to give it a pass, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again. On the other hand, there are a whole bunch of long distance walks in Europe so……
On another note, I am not in a rush to do another one.
Okay – I also had other thoughts. Things I would do differently in a practical sense. I would NOT bring my lumbar pack. Too heavy and takes up too much room. I would also pack fewer clothes. That said, washing clothes every single day was brilliant. Totally indispensable: the hard rubber protectors that slip over my hiking poles. Fabulous for hard surfaces and I had a lot of them. Rain pants and jacket – another must. The baby gaiters were also excellent. Another “can’t do without” item: dry sack. There was no way my heavy wool socks were ever going to dry overnight, so I put them in the sack and they finished drying later that day when I got to my next destination.
Can’t do without: bandaids, second skin – anything that will handle pain and blisters. I can’t imagine any feet coming out of this fully unscathed.
Not needed – travel size shampoo and conditioner and body cream. Just about every place had a body wash/shampoo and the mountain huts that didn’t still had showers and once in a while just plain hot water is good enough. It goes without saying that you need electric converters for your phone etc. Loved the money belt. Wonderful to have one basic credit card and cash right there immediately handy.
Also goes without saying that hiking poles are a must have.
I never needed my head lamp although I’m glad I brought it just in case. And I would have been in big trouble if I had not packed a light pair of gloves. Oddly, I didn’t need my toque nor my sunglasses. Still, glad I packed them. And I am incredibly glad I brought “camp shoes”. Oh yes, they felt so good after hours and hours in boots. They might end up being my most indispensable item of all.
So there – just in case you feel like walking 360k, that’s a list for you.
So I got to Zurich and set off with a long page of instructions on how to get to my hotel – Plattenhof. The first instruction told me to head south from the train station. How the hell am I supposed to know where south is?
And then there were a thousand and one turns I had to make and they all went uphill. A walk that was supposed to be 18 minutes was 48 minutes.
But it was worth it. This tiny little boutique hotel is a avant garde and the most insanely wonderful I have ever stayed in. The bathroom is a dream
The pics really don’t do it justice. The whole shower wall in glass with indirect diffused lighting and multiple shower heads and the linens on the bed are like 1000 thread count and everything is darn modern and so well thought out. I love it! And here’s the kicker, it’s on the Zurich University campus so it’s away from all the madness of downtown (and trust me, downtown Zurich on a sunny Saturday is mayhem) and it’s quiet and there are trees and it’s pretty.
I lucked out. Again.
And I haven’t even talked about the courtyard, the amazing bar, the flowers. Anyway, I dropped my stuff in the room, changed into a non-sweaty t-shirt and shorts and my beloved camp shoes and headed immediately to Bahnhofstrasse, reputedly, the most expensive shopping street in Europe. I walked by all the shops: Tiffany, Dolce & Gabbana, Cardin. Every usual suspect. And if Montreux is the city of Mercedes (yes it is), Zurich is totally Ferrari and Porsche. And there I was, in my shorts, t-shirt and camp shoes. Yup – totally rocking the high fashion look!
But then – there it was: Sprungli! The holy grail. I went inside. Stood there! Just inhaled the aura of chocolate goodness through my very pores. I found the Grand Cru bars and just touched them reverently. How much to buy? All my instincts told me to pick up their entire stock.
Realized that might not work.
And so I bought 4 of each kind of dark. Right. Done. And no, I am not going to tell you how much that set me back. Let me just say, I might have been able to buy another pair of hiking boots.
But I was far from done. I crossed the street. Next stop: Teuscher for a few small bars. Onward! Laderach! Here they make chocolate in these massive slabs and you just ask them to break off some of the slab. Or you can ask for a whole slab or half a slab (which is a lot of chocolate). I am not going to confess what I took away with me. Suffice to say, I didn’t ask them to break off a few small pieces.
And I was done!
Except that I crossed the street to go back and there was the smaller Sprungli shop and I just could not pass it by. I made no clear decision to enter it. I just found myself inside. And once inside, I had to buy something, right? I think 4 more bars went into the bag.
Okay – now I’m done. I just went into the big Coop store to pick up take-out in my hotel tonight because I was not about to walk back into town for dinner. And I did that – salads and a falafel wrap and then – oh look! Villars has set up a tasting booth!
So I thought I might as well buy a few bars of Villars and then hey! Why not a few more bars of the organic coop brand?
And then I really was done for the simple reason that I now had two huge bags weighing down my arms and I had to go back uphill and couldn’t carry any more stuff (read chocolate).
And that is it.
My apologies for the lack of photos of the city. I forgot to bring my camera. Instead, I have a photo of the train station in Montreux. I adore train stations!
And really, I don’t think I would have taken city pics anyway. It really was/is a madhouse.
Tomorrow I am off to my airport hotel. And then home. If I remember, I’ll write some more personal thoughts tomorrow. I would now but I think this post has already gone on far too long. And one last thing – I have not yet touched all that chocolate. I finished the bar I started yesterday. This is called discipline. Also, yesterday’s bar was very very very good and there was quite a bit left so I’m not exactly depriving myself all that much. I’m saving pure chocolate ecstasy for tomorrow.