Saturday, September 29, 2012

A distant memory.

Was I really here? I've been back on Maui for three weeks and it feels like I never left!

Anyway...Renata craved the sun, "do you get car sick?", she asked before leaving and you can see why! With the windows rolled down just incase I spewed my guts,  we zoomed down the hill and headed into Italy.

Once over the border the contrast in countries was instantly apparent. As we marveled at the change in architecture I snapped away at this lovely house, only seeing the owner (where's Mario?) as we drove off, waving and "bellisima-ing" as we left.

 One reason not to live at the bottom of a mountain.

Nuts, whole hazelnuts ohhhh, Cadburys take then and they cover then in chocolate!

Pretty stuff.

Renata (dehydrated from all the driving) quenches her thirst.

Then needed to go for a pee, so I tried on the Euro glasses....christ almighty-what not to wear!

We cruised our way around Lake Garda checking out the local windsurf spots, and it made me realize how lucky I am to sail on Maui. Some were kinda dirty and uninviting and as beautiful as the lake was, I found myself glad that Kanaha is my base camp.

That being said, lunch was divine and a thousand times better than anything I could find in Kahului!

After lunch we laid in the sun and watched the world go by. As the afternoon wore on we wandered into town thinking we wanted an ice cream, but were afraid it would send us to sleep on the drive home. So instead we had a fresh orange juice which (while seeming like a good idea at the time) made us feel bloated and slightly sick- shoulda gone for the gelato!

One last look at the lake and the lone intrepid sailor before heading back to CH.......

.......but not before we pick up some pasta for dinner. Buon appetito!

Sunday, September 09, 2012


Just five minutes walk from Renata and Oly's home is a vast forest filled with trails and lakes. The paths snake through nature in every direction and there's always a feeling of safety thanks to the signs along the way and, well.....the fact that it's Switzerland.

It was a wet chilly afternoon and having been kept in by the rain all day, it was good to get out and breath some fresh air and just walk.

This way please........

Even in the damp, it's the stuff of fairies and unicorns. This quiet and peaceful place with it's rag-tag elegant nature made me want to sit and contemplate just as much as walk and explore.

Luckily my hostess is a gear head and has a jacket for all seasons, so I was warm and toasty. It made me think that as with anything, if you're equipped properly the task at hand is more enjoyable.

The wet days also provided an excuse to go to town and explore. This exclusive apartment building (nicknamed 'the peanut') had the old timers get their alpine horns in a twist, as it's not exactly in keeping with its next door neighbor, see 'exhibit A' below.

I love the teeny window on the left and the arched frame of the triplets next to it.

And always there's a lake, sublime even on a (fifty shades of) grey day.

This exclamation point made me chuckle as it appeared to be a sign with random punctuation on it and no explanation what to be to be aware of.

Have I mentioned recently how beautiful this place is?

Time to put the kettle on again, Toblerone anyone?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Seasonal change.

Another day, another ride, another fantastic view. As we rode, the girls pointed out their winter world, where their clients live, how crazy it can be to commute in the snow and it was hard to imagine the place covered in white.

However, as luck would have it the next day as the kettle boiled I drew back the curtains this is what I saw-it had snowed! I was like a kid on Christmas morning "look, look, look what it did" I said, to no one in particular as the vision of  my friends other world was manifest before my very eyes.


We waited for a small window of opportunity (namely for it to stop raining) to go out and play. Not five minutes from the house I had to jump off the bike and express myself.

Renata (the pro) jumps as if she has her snowboard attached to her feet.

The clouds were ominous and we rode into a beautiful valley where we were both itching to proceed. "If you go to the little white dot of a hotel in the distance and then go left" Renata said "it's amazing". Aghhhhh, but that ride will have to wait for another time

It was starting to rain and we knew it wouldn't let up, so when your guide says it's best to go home there was no argument (more a sigh of relief) from me. Cold, wet and facing a head wind we headed out of the valley and decided to take the bus home.

With a 50 minute wait we parked our bikes and headed in for a wonderful coffee and the best nusstorte and maroni torte (made from chestnuts) I'd ever tasted.  My fingers slowly thawed as I held my cup and we stood dripping and happy making 'mmmmmmmm' noises with every bite and slurp.

Even in the wet and chill the array of bright flowers makes things cheery somehow better,

At home, Renata got the fire going and the tea brewing. All I had to do was shower, recieve and enjoy. We could easily have stayed home for a cozy night in, but as luck would have it Renata had won a certificate to one of the best restaurants in town that had to be used up by next week.

Joined by her wonderful friend Uli we had a truly marvelous gourmet evening followed by a braulio amaro...divine!

Saturday, September 01, 2012


"It will be a long day" said Mel, as we packed our backpacks with sunscreen, snacks and water. We left at 9:15 am and cycled a quick half hour to pick up Montana and Tanya before heading over to Pontresina and meeting up with Nadine and the fabby Fabia.

I thought my happy meter was high when we cycled from Champfer to St. Moritz, but it just kept rising as we proceeded in to the valley.

Bloody hell, are you kidding me?

A couple of hours later and it was time to lock the bikes, have a quick snack and start walking up to our goal which was the base of the Tschierva glacier. The weather was spectacular and the views exceptional.

The trail is clear and cut into the valley hillside, but after a while the ascent steepens and does not let up. As I walked (head down focusing on each step) it was easy to forget the stunning surroundings. Living at sea level I'm not used to altitude, so as we were heading to 2584 meters I took many a banana, water and photo op break.

Still a long way to go with my happy meter hovering at a nine!

I'd have probably cut 20 minutes off my fat two hours ascent if I hadn't been taking so many photo's!

Hallelujah-made it !

Let me tell you, the Tschierva hut was a very welcome end as I was ready to stop, rest, pee and eat (not necessarily in that order).

As with all things Swiss, there is always an incredible meal to be had as a reward for your effort. This is Rossti, a traditional dish of potatoes and eggs. Sounds simple enough, but the taste was exceptional. Oh and I'll have a slice of plum pie and a latte while I'm at it please! 

While it was the end of the road for our party, this is start for many who are serious climbers.

I can see the allure and pull to go deep.

.....but it's not my thing and I certainly don't have the right footwear.

Fed and watered, we were ready for the decent.

Just one more shot before we was a hard to leave, but as it was already 3:15pm we pushed back down giving our quads a good workout.

By 6pm we were home and starving and poor Mel had just enough time to eat and shower before giving a 7pm massage! By 8pm we'd all cleaned up and reconvened (looking quite different in heals and lipstick) for a self congratulatory bottle of wine (or two) and finally tip toed in at two minutes past midnight. The German was right, it was a long day!