Okay, So we finally arrive at The Silence-Hotel Burchnerhof. This was such a long day of hiking that we really didn't get to enjoy our stay here or see the town much. When the father and son dropped us off we checked into our room. We had just enough time to shower to clean up and eat before the dining room would close.
Ya'll we had to walk down three steps to get to our floor for our room and I nearly cried my knees hurt so bad. I have been training for our hike and have done everything to the best of my ability to prepare. I have been on a diet for 12 weeks and lost 17 pounds and exercised for most of those 12 weeks to help prepare my legs for our trip, but my knees just didn't cooperate. I prayed we would be able to finish our hike the next couple days.
The hotel was nice and the restaurant was unbelievable. While the room was a nice size the meal and service was catered as if you were the only person there. The dinner was delicious, and I'll have to say I picked the best meal off the menu. I had a delicious garlic butter noodle dish with smoked salmon. I wasn't super hungry after our day, but mainly exhausted. I had the salad bar and noodles. Our waitress also talked us into desert and after our day I'll say we deserved it. :) Apricot sorbet with this special sauce. Apricot was everywhere on the menu, so it must be a good pick here.
Our waitress was so expressive and animated. She was wonderful. Spoke very good English and told us all about these fighting cows that were so popular around here.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=def37Jb-ypw check out the video to see in action.
Wait for cow #50
She explained how the cows will fight to take possession of the Queen and whoever wins that spring the
herd will follow all year.
End Day 4
Speaking of cows, I didn't realize that we had a cow outside our bedroom window. So when Matt got hot
in the middle of the night he opened the window and this loud cow bell continued waking me up.
Breakfast was amazing. There was five freshly squeezed fruit juices, note again the apricot. There was all kinds of
breads and rolls, jams and jellies, cereals, meats and cheeses. Our waitress made freshly ground coffee for Matt.
It was heavenly. This day and the next we wizened up and made a little cold cut sandwich out of our breakfast bar and
saved it in our packs for lunch. We had several transfers today to get to the head of our next trail. The famous
Europaweg (Europe Trail).
We took the bus (right outside our hotel) down the mountain to Visp. I don't know if many of you are aware that the man Samson- whom we call Matt had a secret weakness. I'll be Delilah and give it away. Matt gets motion sickness. I mean severely and it struck this morning. He could not handle the 20 minute bus ride zig zagging down the mountain. With a queasy stomach we get a sprite and catch the little red train to St. Niklaus. Bus back up the other side of the mountain ridge to Grachen. (remember the W with your fingers?) We have now crossed the valley between the last set of mountain ranges and will travel south to Zermatt. By the time we got to the top of the slope the bus door couldn't open fast enough before Matt lost his cookies, or more appropriately lost his cheese and coffee breakfast.
Here is the tractor I saw being driven around town to haul various needed supplies. It was like this lawnmower motor that they rigged up to a wagon.
We decided children didn't play with a ball much in this part of the country.
Matt found his hiking stick that he wanted. You see around here in the States people may use trekking poles or a talk hiking stick. When we left for our trip and were packing Matt said I could have his poles and he would look for a stick on the trail. Well today was that day! he whittled and worked on this stick and named him Hauns.
We're hiking along at a good pace. My knee feels fine as long as I don't step down. The trail is perfect and we have gone about halfway when we see caution tape blocking the trail we need at an intersection. We stand and ponder and discuss and wonder. Then Matt says we should take the risk and see what is on that trail. Maybe it was not at all that dangerous. After all the guide at the information office didn't say one thing about a blocked trail, that was tomorrow. So with caution we ducked the tape and gingerly pressed on. The other option at this point would be to go down in the valley, or go back 4 miles to the last town. There was evidence of a rock slide, and crushings like this path had been traveled. We carefully picked our way across. This rock slide had happened a long time ago as grasses had grown up between the rocks.
We are thinking this surely wasn't the reason the trail was closed. And we were right. The absence of land in the canyon picture below was the reason. Ahead on the trail I see how the mountainside just disappears. It's probably a 15-20 foot drop off. Stunned we stare. Our walk up to the edge spooked some long horned sheep and about 10 scampered straight down the raven and up the other side.
We are very high on the mountain side and were totally surprised to learn we had been on the wrong trail all day. At a y in the trail we see signs that don't make sense to us. We are looking on the map and looking around us to make sense of what we think it is telling us. We should not be far from our Europahutte and look to see if we can see it on the cliffs ahead. Thankfully we were right near this cabin and as we are discussing what to do we see a man working out in his yard. Matt heads his way to ask questions with map in hand and I stay put on the trial.
In my head I imagine things like Matt not returning and this mountain man taking us captive and would I run away if Matt didn't return. Silly I know, but Matt returned shortly with bad news. We were not on the Europaweg trail at all and as we look back I don't think we ever where. Several points along the way had the Europahutte on the sign, but I think that was just telling us to go up to that trail to get to the real trail. Now our only option was to hike down into the valley. Herbriggen was the town at the bottom of the trail and it was also one of the points you could take a trail to hike up to the Europaweg trail. Great we aren't that far off huh? That up hill trail takes four hours to hike. We do not have four hours of daylight to make that hike. The mountain man suggests in his non English speaking gestures and pointing's of the map to stay in Herbriggen. We had thought to try and get to Randa, but he said the closer you get to Zermatt the more expensive it becomes. So we head down the mountain on what was to be a 15min walk to bottom and became a 45 minute walk for Miss Cripple.
The hotel/ restaurant in the town was very nice and as we approached I didn't think we would be able to afford this change in our plans. We had emailed a reservation to Europahutte which was to cost 170 SFC (Swiss franks) for two people with dinner and breakfast included. I was glad this reservation did not need to be paid in advance. When the helpful host greeted us and told us a stay at this hotel with dinner and breakfast would cost 190 SFC I could have kissed her. Wow! Praise the Lord a bed, food and nice accommodations nearly the same cost as the dorm setting with no shower ?!
While you could not see the Matterhorn from here, this was a great stop for us on this fantastic journey. I washed out my socks and a couple of shirts to dry overnight on the balcony.
After all the planning and talking about gear and picking out the right things for our trip I had one pair of hiking socks. You see Matt had little to gather for his packing and I asked if he would get me another pair of socks when he went to buy his. Reasonable right? He forgot. The day before we left for Switzerland and he forgot me. That man. Needless to say a wash was needed by day four.
Hikers make hygiene sacrifices you know?