Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reichenbach Falls - With Pics!

The Museum!!
August 14, 2013 - Reichenbach Falls  (while we leave Lugano today, all pics here are of Meringen)

Well, you know we talked about the Bucket List you want, and perhaps the Bucket List you've been handed? 

The trip today was something that WAS on my original Bucket List. 

I am a Sherlock Holmes fanatic. In the true meaning of the word "fanatic." I've read The Canon several times. Well, more than several times. I've watched everything that Basil Rathbone was in. I've watched the Holmes vignettes with one of the Howard brothers - even earlier than Rathbone. I've read alternatives to the The Canon. I've read histories of Conan Doyle. I've seen the movies (except for the crap Guy Ritchie is putting out. Sorry - love Robert Downey, Jr. for the role, but can't abide Guy as a director!).

My dream, as a kid, was to "someday" get to Reichenbach Falls. Any Sherlockian worth her salt will want to see The Place He Died. (Well, the place Conan Doyle said he died...we all know he was resurrected in deference to public opinion.)

To say that we would get this close and NOT go to Reichenbach? You'd have to shoot me. 

So this morning, Hubby is checking the map, even though we trust our faithful Mildred to get us there. 

Definitely not cut out for these European breakfasts, but glad there was tea! Will fill the water bottles before we go so we have them handy. Both of us are sniffling - probably all the beautiful flowers and trees that are blooming. 

Most of what follows is a commentary on our trip out to Meringen as we head toward our destination. Some of the comments are about the hotel in Lugano, as well, so try to stick with me here. 

Look for "Baker Street" here
Sky is a brilliant blue with a few puffy clouds. I have a slight headache: likely a combo of little sleep, altitude, and a pillow the size of a cotton swab. Maxalt is handy just in case. If I get sick on the way to Sherlock Holmes' "Final Chapter" I am NOT going to be happy!

Outside our Lugano hotel room, to the left is an old building, tile roof, shutters, tall windows, the walls the color of butter. There are palm trees in front of it. In the center is a red-brick modern building which seems to be offices; when we checked in last night, there was a man in one of the windows at a desk, and this morning, the shades are still down. Next to that building, and set back a bit, is a narrow older white building with a dark tile roof, a black Lab in the large front yard. There are a mix of palm trees and pine trees. Behind these buildings, the next street over, the buildings resemble apartments, and there are more houses as you look up the mountain.

6:10 p.m. - OK, what a LONG day! Got to Meringen, thanks to Mildred. Found nice public parking and then found the tram to Reichenbach!!! Of course MORE walking to get to the very top, but this was DEFINITELY a Bucket List item I had only dreamed about. 

Staying here if we come back!
I got sprayed by the falls that "killed" Sherlock Holmes! There was a star on the far side of the falls - it's on a pole, and it marks The Ledge where Holmes and Moriarty had their last battle. I didn't go there, but Hubby did. He says it was a good thing, because there was a lot of loose gravel and the trail was "sketchy." He had a bit of a time navigating it himself, and he's sure-footed as a goat. 

It was beautiful. Very tall, but not the "raging river" that Conan Doyle wrote about. Then again, it's August. Probably a bit more dry than in the spring with the run-off. There is a lovely view of the town, and it even impressed Hubby, who said he'd definitely come back and that the mountains were "amazing." High praise indeed from someone who grew up in the Rockies. 

Museum is in the basement of this church
We didn't go into the museum because of time constraints. However, Hubby did try on a deerstalker cap, and I bought a tape measure with the imprint of "Sherlock Holmes Museum." Kitsch of course, but I don't care. I'll use it and I'll remember where I got it! 

There's a picture of me (in amongst the thousands we took) sitting next to the Sherlock Holmes bronze statue outside the museum. (sigh)

As we walked up to the top of the trail, we stopped and visited with some very woolly cows, who looked at us as if we were alien beings. Which, given that they were on top of a mountain, we probably were! 

On the way out of Meringen, we found another beautiful waterfall. The power and beauty of waterfalls - it's just something that captivates me every time. Anyway, we saw this one, it was on the other side of a roundabout, so we took a short detour, drove across an airport runway (legally - it was closed to airplanes that day) and got some shots. 

We saw lakes with that green-blue glacier water. Several hours down the road we pulled off to get more pics, and Hubby went down to the rocks to dip his hands into the water. He said it was about 80* so it was very much "swimming temperature" if we were inclined! 
Tramway up to falls 

After a VERY long drive and a small misunderstanding with Mildred, we got to our "home" for the next 4 days: the Holiday Inn Express at the Geneva Airport. 

The paragliding lady called, and due to clouds, Hubby may have to change where he flies from. Rain is in the forecast, so we're not sure what will happen. We have not gotten to Eiger, but that can be a day trip in itself, and it's also weather-dependent. If the mountain is socked in, you can't see it anyway, so it would be a wasted trip there and back. 

We finally turned on the TV and found a BBC channel with news of the Egyptian mess. 

As we checked in, the gal at the front desk hands Hubby a FedEx --- MY MEDS ARRIVED! Happy Day!! The bottle was broken, but all capsules intact. 

Reichenbach Falls
Geneva, at least what we see of it, is congested and confusing. We'll stay close to the hotel for the rest of today; it's been a long and stressful drive. As we got closer to Geneva, traffic got more frantic. Mildred's vocal cues were a little ahead of her graphic clues, and we missed a couple of turns. She stuck with us in spite of Hubby calling her a few names I won't repeat here... 

Can't figure out what's close by yet - if anything is close by and worth the walk. The view out the hotel window is only inspired by the mountain in the distance and Hubby is having a time with the WiFi. 

Oh, we stopped after Meringen to stretch and I thought I'd take a little potty break. Only to have to walk all the way back to the car to get 2 Francs - that was a first: a pay toilet. And yes, if you have to go bad enough, it certainly is worth it! 

Back on the road, more strong language for motorcyclists with death wishes. Make lanes where there aren't any and see how that works out for you. 

Close up of one section
Oh, before we leave Reichenbach: As Hubby went to The Ledge, I came down to a meeting spot. I did miss him waving at me from The Ledge, because it was just a matter of how long it took me to get down to the one spot. I sat with an Italian couple. The gent complimented me on my Eddie Bauer floppy hat and wanted to know where I got it. We talked about Conan Doyle & Sherlock - the wife spoke better English and I don't know enough Italian to fake it. As I left, I should at least have said good-bye or something - that much I do remember!

And --- 90% of the people on the trail were very polite. Heck, there were even women with brand-new babies hiking that trail. The other 10% must have all been the same family. No idea of the actual origin of the family, but they were not speaking English - not that that matters, but just giving you a context. The one kid - probably 12 or so? - was a total jerk! He cut me off a few times and blocked the way of a couple of other hikers, and it was just really annoying. And one of the guys (older than the kid, but not older than me) blocked a walk-bridge completely from a German couple - who let them know they didn't appreciate their rudeness. He was trying to photograph, which is fine, but take your stupid camera OFF the tripod - don't block the entire walkway with the tripod!! I couldn't wait to get away from them!
The Ledge

Anyway, the Italian lady and I had a lovely chat, and she showed me pictures. Turns out she lives in Rome and was a singer in the Gregorian Chant choir during Pope Francis' installation and she had some lovely photos of him right up next to the choir. Music and Holmes - universal languages! 

Dinner tonight was at the neighboring hotel - very expensive, but you don't get dinner at a Holiday Inn Express... They gave an appetizer of a salmon paste with bread. Hubby actually liked it! Again, a culinary adventure for him. I had a lobster roll and fries. He had a Swiss beef burger. Stuffed and tired - no dessert this night. 

Tomorrow is The Leap of Faith... Today, we had 54 tunnels on our way. One was 15 km long or so. I felt like a mole.

The Reichenbach trail was actually in 6 separate segments. A steep trolley ride up. A short hop to the view. Three more progressive climbs to the top then the option to go down and out onto The Ledge and back. 

Sherlock Holmes...
These are the last few days of our trip. Hubby's catching up on the computer. I picked up a USA Today but I'm kind of liking being in a news hole. My brain needs to absorb this moment and be uncluttered. I want to think about what we've seen and what we've experienced. To me, that is what this trip is about. It's very free-feeling. I don't even have my cell phone! 

I leave this post with a picture of my literary crush. It was a beautiful town. I would come back here for more exploration, for a base if we chose to explore the greater area, and to just enjoy the countryside. 

Someone asked me if this was a "special trip" -- second honeymoon? Special anniversary? Any particular reason to go half-way around the globe to see a country that I never really had a particular urge to visit? 

This trip, in a way, was a fluke. We started with one object, ended up with a totally different itinerary, and got to spend a long span of time with each other. Yeah - it was special. And I'd do it all over again.

No comments: