Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Hansjorg informed us as the Travel Master for the past two weeks, he wanted to finish the tour off with some gelato.  In order to get good gelato, we would have to go to Italy or at least to a place where the people spoke Italian.  So, we headed back to Switzerland where he found us a great little B&B in the Village of Rhazuns called Villa Artistica and run by a man who’s name just happened to be Hansjorg.  Using the old post/beam barn as the outer walls, Hansjorg #2 build his B&B inside the barn.  New and modern on the inside and old on the outside, a comfortable place to stay for the next two nights.



On the way to Rhazuns, we made a stop in Sattel-Hochskukli for a little journey on the tramway there. Hidden at the top of the tram is a suspension bridge that Hansjorg, knowing that I don't like heights, had found just for me. The Raiffeisen Skywalk, just shy of 200 feet above the valley floor and 1200 long, is the longest suspension foot bridge in Europe.  And yes, I did cross it.  Two times.  I looked straight ahead and walked real fast.

The next morning after breakfast, we boarded the Bernina Express for a trip across the Swiss Alps.  The train travels on a route carved out of the mountains between 1896 and 1904 for 122 kilometers and passes through 55 tunnels and 196 bridges and viaducts.  Starting at an elevation of 1900 feet, the train climbs to 7400 feet before descending to Italy.  In order to reach the summit the rails at times have to circle around as pass over themselves in order to gain altitude in a short distance.  It's difficult at times to tell that this is happening as some of the loops are in tunnels.

There was thick fog when we reached the highest pass, so we didn't get to see too much on the way down to Poschiavo where we got off for lunch. Although still in Switzerland, Poschiavo may as well be in Italy as just about everyone speaks Italian.  The prices were still Swiss though as lunch for the three of us topped $127!  And we never did get any gelato.



We got lucky on the return trip as the fog lifted as we reached the summit.  It was a great a beautiful trip that is a once in a lifetime experience.  We have to thank Hansjorg and Silke as our ride on the Bernina Express was a gift from them.

The next day we returned to Hansjorg and Silke's home and a farewell dinner with their families in a local guesthouse.  

  Starting on the left and going around the table is:  son Frank, son-in law Oliver, Cathie,
 Hansjorg Silke, nephew Steven, nephew Max, Silke's sister Angie, her husband Mino,
 Silke's mom, Mum, Hansjorg's daughter Bergit, and Iris, Franks girlfriend.

The next morning at 3:30 we piled in Hansjorg and Silke's car for the ride to the Zurich Airport.  We had a 7am flight and both Hansjorg and Silke insisted on taking us.  We had a great time with the best of friends over the last 3 weeks of our trip.  We are looking forward to seeing them again as we know we will, but it's their turn to do the traveling.

Our flight left Zurich on time so we could fully enjoy our six hour layover at London's Heathrow.  We were lucky and found a couple of very comfortable seats where we hung out and people watched.  The 11 hour flight to San Diego was uneventful.  Managed to watch two movies and actually get a couple of hours sleep. We were happy to see our daughter Julie when we exited the terminal as we were beat.  Home by 7:30 and in bed by nine.

(old style)


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