Friday, June 21, 2013

Switzerland: Uetilberg

Grady and I spent a day enjoying the views from Uetliberg. Actually, we spent about an hour enjoying the views before we embarked on what we thought would be a one and a half hour walk to Falsenegg, before taking a cable car down the mountain.

Wrong. It was an almost two and a half hour walk, but beautiful and enjoyable nonetheless.

Let me back up.
We boarded a train, a short two block walk from our hotel, and rode it about 20 minutes mid-way up the hill. Or maybe it was a mountain. I'm not really sure. By North Carolina standards, it was a mountain. By Swiss Alp standards, which were a beautiful sight in the far distance, this may have been a small hill.

We got off the train about a one-half mile walk from the top of Uetilberg and were delighted with the views when we reached the top. At 871 meters above sea level, Uetileberg offers great views of all Zurich. The blue skies that day made the snow-capped Alps peaking in the background stand out brilliantly.
The summit had a hotel, restaurant, and spa - that's it. I wondered if the hotel offered shuttle service from the train station to the top. What a downer to plan an overnight stay only to realize you needed to haul your luggage with you.

A huge radio/TV tower had a platform that offered unobstructed views in all directions. A quick 187 steps and we were at the top taking it all in. Sprawling Zurich on one side; green farms and thick forests on the other side. Beautiful.
After a drink and a snack, we decided to walk a six kilometer trail along the ridge line to Falsenegg, which offered a cable car down the mountain. The weather was perfect, the breeze was light, our water bottles were full, so off we went.

But six kilometers began to feel really long. Maybe it was because we stopped a lot to admire views and take pictures. Maybe it was because trail signs along the way were in German and it took some trial and error to figure out which way to go. Maybe it was because we had flown through the night and were operating on little sleep. Maybe it was because I was pregnant and, even though I'm far from waddling, I think my gait has slowed already.

Who knows. But around the two hour mark with no idea how much further to Falsenegg, the walk lost some of its adventurous allure.

But, alas, Falsenegg appeared, literally, out of no where and we hopped on the cable car to head down the mountain. At the bottom, it was a short walk to the train station where we'd ride or about 30 minutes back to Zurich.

Before getting on the train, we stepped inside a small cafe for a drink and a snack. For a mere $15 we enjoyed two glasses of water and two soft pretzels. We're guessing we got played by a local who pretended not to understand English and who overcharged us, but since our simple snack was on the company dollar we didn't worry about it. It just gave us something to laugh about later. I don't think I've ever drank a Dixie cup of water, totaling seven swallows, for $4 before.
Because we hadn't walked enough that afternoon, we spent the next hour wandering Old Town in Zurich before deciding on an outdoor Italian place for dinner. View views of the lake, and yes, Uetilberg and Falsenegg in the far distance, we enjoyed amazing pizza and high-priced bottled water. It was a perfect way to end a great day.
We crashed early that night - maybe 9:30ish - because our two-hour power nap that morning was long gone. And, we had plans to spend the next day in Rapperswil touring a castle, doing more hiking, and enjoying more fantastic views.

More on that soon...

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