Update of Andy’s Adventures (and what you can experience soon)!

It has been a few months since the last update of adventures. This has been due to an adventure of a different sort. One that was not the most pleasant. The purpose of this post is to inform you all of what to look out for in the next few weeks covering adventures including the last part of the Switzerland trip as well some local adventures in South Africa – especially one for those with a keen interest in food.

So, without further ado, the long (unpleasant) adventure which has taken up considerable time this year, coupled with much frustration, actually started on Christmas Day at Ice Magic in Interlaken, Switzerland. Having played ice hockey in my younger days, I decided that it would be a great experience to do some ice skating in Switzerland. Especially since I was there in winter for a winter sports holiday. One fellow South African decided to be adventurous and joined me while the other three opted to remain on the less slippery surface off the rink. The rink was quite nice with some main areas connected by skating pathways. The off-rink spectators wanted to take a photo of all of us and gestured for the two of us on the ice to skate to them. We were skating slowly towards them where they were waiting near the one corner and had reached a point about 2m from the side. Some other skater comes on my right and turns directly across in front of me. In the process he clipped my right skate and took my leg out from under me causing me to fall back and to the left. I landed heavily on my left wrist. Despite the pain and swelling I continued through the holiday, including some very adventurous skiing which will be in the next Swiss Trip post. Two weeks later when I was back in South Africa I had my wrist x-rayed and examined. The diagnosis was a fractured scaphoid. This required surgery. After the surgery I had a bandage and split for a few weeks until the stitches were removed. Then my wrist was placed in a cast. The cast was on until 1 March 2016. Six weeks of physiotherapy and strengthening then occurred. By mid-April I was back to some sort of normality and could finally ride my bicycle again. Outdoors!

However, this improved state of affairs would unfortunately not last long. On Saturday 21 May 2016 I was cycling down a hill after a great training ride in the Cradle of Humankind. I was on the extreme left side (the side we travel on in South Africa) to allow cars to pass me safely on the right. A vehicle in the oncoming lane decided to just turn into an entrance on my side of the road even though he was obliged to stop and wait until it was clear. I reacted as soon as I saw him not stopping but the distance was simply too small and despite trying all I could to avoid the vehicle it was not possible. The collision left me laying in the road with two injured hands, a few cuts and grazes, a gaping wound on my chin and, most worryingly, an extremely painful upper right leg. Thankfully other cyclists and cars stopped to assist. The result was a trip to a nearby hospital for numerous internal and external stitches to my chin. Luckily there were no fractures according to the x-rays. Unfortunately my bike was not so lucky and both sides of the fork snapped as well as damage to the front wheel. Ten days later when I returned to the hospital for the stitches to be removed the new casualty Doctor rechecked my x-rays since my left hand was still in quite a bit of pain. It turns out that the fracture in my knuckle was not picked up and therefore not treated on the day of the accident. Yes, this was the same hand as the one I injured in Switzerland. This would keep me off the bike until the end of June.

So updates and adventures to look forward to soon include the last week of the Switzerland Trip a trip to Cape Town and some of South Africa’s best restaurants for amazing dining experiences, a local adventure to the Harties area, a weekend getaway which could be done as a great day trip and an awesome evening of Mumm. You certainly do not want to miss these!

Please do check in soon for these updates and remember to follow and like my Instagram – @andyrlapin – for some pictures of adventures. Sharing is caring so please feel free to share this blog so more adventurers can experience the adventures with us.

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Andy’s Adventure to the land of Cheese, Chocolate, Watches and Snow! (Part 3) – Three Trains and a Van with Amazing Views!

After the first two parts of the Switzerland Adventure, exploring two wonderful Swiss cities and the awesome Michelin Star dining experience, it was time for the third and longest part of the entire adventure.

After a leisurely breakfast it was time for the last “mission” in Zürich – a trip to the Nespresso shop. On the way the two adventurers made one last stop in Lindenhof to admire the crisp and cloudless views of Zürich. Then it was time to fetch the luggage and to say “Wideluege” to the Sorell Hotel Rütli. That hotel was fabulous and definitely my choice for future trips to Zürich. The two adventurers enjoyed the short stroll, with a few items of luggage made heavier by Christmas Market and Nespresso shopping, across the bridge over the Limmat River to Zürich Hauptbahnhof. Although on the bridge there was the final rest stop to admire the beauty of the sun sparkling on the Limmat River.

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The view of the Limmat River towards the Zurichsee.

The first leg on the train journey would be on the 13.35 InterRegio departing from Gleis 10 and stopping at Thalwil, Baar, Zug, Rotkreuz and finally Luzern. The train was a double-decker train and had one of those typically Swiss red locomotives. While waiting for the train the obligatory Brezelkonig pretzels were purchased.

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A SBB CFF FFS locomotive of the train that would transport us to Luzern.

Upon arriving in Luzern a quick look at the train departures board and time calculation followed. The two adventurers then dragged all the luggage out the Bahnhof Luzern and onto the bridge where the Reuss River leaves Lake Lucerne with view to the right of Lake Lucerne and to the left the famous wooden bridge of Luzern – the Kapellbrücke. The Reuss flows from the Gotthard Massif into Lake Lucerne at Seedorf at the southernmost point of the lake. It then flows out the lake at Luzern in a north-east direction and, after various confluences, eventually flows as the Aare River into the Rhein River at Koblenz. That is the Swiss Koblenz to the north west of Zürich on the border between Switzerland and Germany. The obligatory photographs of the interesting and historic Kapellbrücke were then taken. The wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss was named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel. It was constructed in 1333 as part of Luzern’s fortifications, although the Wasserturm predates the bridge by about 30 years. The Wasserturm is not a “water tower” as the name suggests but rather stems from the fact that the bridge was built in water. The bridge is also the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world. Inside the bridge are paintings dating back to the 17th century. A unique and interesting fact is that only Luzern’s three bridges – Kapellbrücke, the now destroyed Hofbrücke and the Spreuerbrücke are the only the only wooden footbridges in Europe which featured interior triangular painted frames. Sadly after the fire in 1993 only about 30 paintings were fully restored of 47 that were collected. Initially there were 158 interior paintings.

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The famous Kapellbrucke with Wasserturm in Luzern.

Then it was back through the frontage which is all that remains from the station constructed in 1896. The whole station in Luzern was destroyed by fire on 5 February 1971. The present station was opened on 5 February 1991. It was the 15.05 InteRegio “Luzern-Interlaken Express” which would convey the two adventurers on an extremely scenic route passed picturesque towns such as Giswil and Lungren and then over the mountains to Meiringen and onto Interlaken Ost. It was in the mountains around Brünig-Hasliberg that the first bit of snow was sighted! Meiringen might ring a bell to some of you who have read about two characters who were created by British author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and also went on adventures such as “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” and “The Adventure of the Empty House”. There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. These two characters were none other than Sherlock Holmes and his dear Watson. Meiringen is the location of the Reichenbach Falls which is the location of the presumed death of Sherlock Holmes.

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A remaining frontage of the 1896 Bahnhof Luzern with the new station in the background.
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The route of the “Luzern-Interlaken Express”.
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Snow in the mountains near Brunig-Hasliberg from the train.

The train journey continued passing along the shore of the beautiful Brienzersee with clear blue water. The sunset and clouds provided an amazing addition to complete the view of the water and distant snow capped mountains. Eventually at 16.55 the Luzern-Interlaken Express glided to a stop in Interlaken’s Interlaken Ost Station. The other station is Interlaken West. But the two adventurers’ journey was not complete just yet. It was now time for the extremely short third leg of the day’s train journeys aboard the Berner-Oberland Bahn to Wilderswil, essentially the gateway to the Jungfrau region. After disembarking it was a very short walk to the fabulous Hotel Alpenrose. This hotel will be covered in more detail in the next blog post. The time had arrived to finally meet our hosts – Carel and Ryan. Over the course of the next 10 days they would become friends whom I hold in very high regard and it was definitely an honour to have met them.

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Beautiful view of the Brienzersee.
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The third and final train.
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The two adventurers happy to eventually be in Wilderswil.

Finally it was time for some greatly anticipated dinner and along with some wine. The four South Africans shared a bottle of The Chocolate Block red wine originates from Franschhoek in South Africa. Starter was a delicious soup of the day followed by Rösti with Bratwurst and onion sauce. After the delicious dinner it was time to travel back to Interlaken – luckily in a van this time and directly to our final destination. A quick unpacking and orientation followed. The two adventurers then walked along the side of the Höhematte Park to Ice Magic. In a few days time this would be the scene of the beginning of another adventure which will conclude on 1 March 2016. But for this evening, Ice Magic was the perfect setting to relax and end off the long day of travelling from Zürich with coffee and Glühwein.

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The Hotel Alpenrose!
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The Chocolate Block wine.
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Soup of the day at the Alpenrose.
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Rosti with Bratwurst.
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Ice Magic in Hohematte.
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Ice rink at Ice Magic.
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Delicious Gluhwein at Ice Magic.

If you enjoyed this train adventure then please like and share so that others can also experience the adventure we (you and I) have just been on. Comments are appreciated. Please check back soon for the next episode of the Swiss Adveture blog posts. You can also see more pictures from the Switzerland Adventure on my Instagram – @andyrlapin.