The Swiss prefer to drink their water with carbonation and it's hard to find bottled water without it.  The tap water in most places (including the public outdoor fountains) is perfcetly drinkable but you have to ask for it.  At the castle, they served us the "with gas" kind most of the time, though a few glasses managed to be "without."  (This included one miracle glass for me.  Jon asked the server for no gas, but did not manage to communicate that this request was for me as well, so the lady poured some into my glass and went to get a no gas bottle with which to fill Jon's. Then I took a sip and exclaimed that it was regular water.  It had no hint of carbonation, which seemed to rule out the possibility that it was a leftover bit from a bottle that had been standing around for a while.  So Jon rushed up to the lady with his glass to ask her to fill it with that bottle.  However, his was perfectly fizzy.  We have not found an explanation.)

Near the end of the evening I was not feeling so well, and I contributed it to dehydration since I had not had much water besides the fizzy stuff.  By the middle of the morning, I was definitely sick and so I stayed in bed to rest as much as I could.  (It may or may not have been the water since several other people got sick over the course of the week.)

By the afternoon I was feeling fine, if a bit weak, but happy to be eating.  We all headed to Valda's again for leftover spaghetti and a hymn sing.  Janet planned this hymn sing in honor of our parents' 34th wedding anniversary.  We sang many hymns and had a lot of fun, and we stayed and talked pretty late.

By this time, everyone including Faith had finally adjusted to Switzerland time.  In retrospect I am rather amazed that Faith made the transistion in only about four days, since there was no way I could force her to do it.

In the morning, we took a tram to the train station (Bahnhof SBB) and met Janet and Dad at the top of the escalators.  Stephan was off buying drinks and returned shortly, but Mom and Kathy were both home sick.  Danielle arrived just a few minutes late, and still with time for us to catch our train to Lucerne. When we arrived, we had just enough time to walk quickly over to the dock to take a boat ride across to the transport museum.  I spent the whole scenic ride in the bathroom changing Faith's diaper and clothes, but I did get to look out the window for a minute as we docked.

The transport museum was a fun place.  All sorts of old train engines and cars, displays of boats, bicycles, ferries, planes, gondolas, etc.  There was a rowing race game where four people could compete using exercise rowers.  Jon was by far the winner, except that he stopped just before the end to help Noah who was having the most trouble.  I came in second, hindered by holding Faith in the sling, though I doubt I would have done much better without her.  Jonathan finished steadily on his own (maybe Stephan helped him? I don't remember.)

We watched a working model of water locks, which Jonathan watched a half dozen times.  There was also one of those displays where the ball is carried to the top of the track, and then the ball rolls along hitting different objects on the way.  The boys watched that a number of times as well.  There was a large floor map of Switzerland that I did not get to examine because Jonathan was in such a hurry to see the inside of the real airplane. That turned out to not be as exciting as we thought since the pilot seats were blocked off, and in fact so were the passenger seats.  I was amazed that after sitting there at the museum for 25 years, it still smelled like airplane on the inside, that stale air smell that used to make me queasy before I had the duty of taking care of children to distract me.

We had lunch in the museum cafeteria and Jonathan declared his sandwich the best ever and we should come back every year so he could eat one.  The main highlight of the sandwich was the pickles!  Noah and I had bratworst.  We took a long time eating and missed the train we wanted to catch to the mountain.  The train we did catch was cutting it close for our connection and then experienced a delay due to broken signals.

When we got to the bottom of Mt.Rigi, we hung around in a little smoke-free cafe.  Jon, Stephan and Dad went to the mountain train station to get tickets and then came back down to wait with us until the right time.  As we boarded we got to see the extra "track" in the middle for the cogs that keep the train from sliding back down the mountain.  The ride up was beautiful, snow thick on the trees and ground, glimpses of mountain ranges on the way. One time the train stopped to let a man off in front of his house.  The front yard view of that house was of a range of alps, so amazing!

At the summit, we got out to soak in the breathtaking view.  It was also very very cold and my companions retreated to the train.  But I wanted to just look and look.  It was cloudy down below, but clear at the top, so it looked like "little" mountains sitting in a lake of clouds.  There was even a spot where the clouds formed a waterfall over a pass.  It reminded me of castles in the clouds, and made me understand why certain cultures described their gods as living up in or above the clouds. And to think that this amazing glorious land and sky scape was created by an even more glorious God.  We also saw the sunset from up there which just added to the spectacular.

People went into the little shop to buy hot drinks but the lady was already cleaning up and only had mulled wine left which she grudgingly sold them since she had to wash the pot out again afterwards.

We rode back down the mountain and hung out in the little cafe again.  I bought some postcards that had pictures of similar views as we saw from the top. We caught a train that took us directly back to Basel and played a card game of Stephan's on the way.

Jon made stir fry for dinner and we worked on packing up our things for the next day's move to our new host family.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 17, 2009, 8:30 am | Read 12863 times
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I feel duty-bound to add that Noah watched the model locks long after everyone else had left. When you return for those pickles, we'll take you on a boat ride on the Rhine from Basel to Rheinfelden, passing through two locks on the way!

Posted by Stephan on January 19, 2009, 6:57 am

That would be Noah!

Posted by SursumCorda on January 19, 2009, 7:24 am
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