(September 13, 2004)
Rome to Milan to Celerina
Hynda's lab, like most of Italy, pretty much closes down for the month of August. Hynda has a very good friend that she has known since her Boston days named Marlis who lives with her husband Janic in Switzerland. They live in Celerina, a little Swiss village just north of Saint Moritz and just over the Italian border. We decided to visit them for a week of sightseeing before returning to the US.
On Sunday, August 1st we took a train from Rome to Milan. We were scheduled to fly out of Milan so we took a bus to the Milan Airport and rented a car. The drive from Milan to Celerina in Switzerland was to be about 3 hours. We drove through the Italian lake region and it was quite beautiful. We stopped for a quick lunch at one of the lakes. Crossing from Italy to Switzerland was easy - handed our passport through the window to a Swiss policeman so he could look at it and off we went.
Just after entering Switzerland we ran into cars stopped on the road. It was a one-way two lane road and no cars were coming from the other direction. We went around the cars to the front of the pack where a policeman motioned us to stop. He could not speak anything but Swiss but he did have one of the Italians behind us tell us what had happened. We actually were able to understand his Italian. It seemed that on one of the major switchback roads ahead of us a bus had overturned. We spent the next 1 ½ hours waiting for the problem to be resolved. We were about 100 yards from a small town and Hynda and I took turns walking to the town. The following picture is of Hynda with the small town in the background.
This picture is Hynda with the policeman and the line of stopped cars. The policeman liked Hynda. The line of cars only got to be about 12-15 cars after 1 ½ hours of the road being closed in this direction.
They managed to get the bus back up but still had one lane blocked so that traffic could only pass in one direction. When we got to go past the bus we saw that the backup of the Sunday night exodus of Italians returning to Italy after a weekend in Switzerland stretched for at least 20 miles!!! It was worse than the Sunday night Bay Bridge traffic.
Hiking in and around Celerina
On Monday after breakfast Marlis and Janic took us hiking for a good part of the day. We drove to the base of the mountain near their house and took a cable car to the top of the mountain. Then we walked along a path that had multiple branches and it appeared you could have hiked forever. At times we were above the tree line. At the conclusion of the hike we took a ski lift down to the bottom. The following pictures are of the hike.
This is Marlis and Janic with us at the top.
The following picture was taken from the top at the start of the hike. We had just gotten off the cable car. The closest village is Celerina. The village further away on the lake is Saint Moritz. As you can see the views were spectacular.
This is Hynda and Marlis further along in the hike.
Hynda, Marlis and Janic on the trail. You can see other folks on the trail in the distance and the washed out mountains covered with snow.
We are on the ski lift heading down at the end of the hike. Marlis and Janic are in the lift in front of us. This ski lift actually makes a right turn right in the middle of the trip down. It is quite bumpy at that point and I do not know of any other skip lift that makes a turn like this right in the middle.
Marlis and Janic House
This is the living room of Marlis and Janic.
This is the view from their back yard. The first set of pictures were taken from somewhere on that mountain above the tree line.
There are some glaciers in the area and Marlis and Janic took us to see some. This is Hynda with a glacier in the background. Like most glaciers in the world this one is shrinking. If you look at both sides of the bottom of the glacier you can see the area where the glacier used to be - not thousands of years ago but 50 years ago!!!!
Queen Kleinchik Sends Greetings From Pontresina (a small Swiss Village)