Friday, May 21, 2010

A risk in the sunshine...

Today the weather is glorious - the clearest, sunniest, warmest it has been since we arrived.  We were planning to go up the Jungfraujoch.  But, since the weather forecast has been promising all week that today would be sunny, and that tomorrow would be even better, we decided to take a risk and wait until tomorrow.  We'll feel pretty silly if it clouds over tomorrow; I'll let you know how that goes!

So we decided to stroll in the sunshine here in Grindelwald.  We strolled for a coffee at the coffeeshop Elaine calls 'ours'; sure enough, the waitress recognised us, and knew what our order would be before we spoke.  Elaine Benfold - known in coffeeshops throughout England and Switzerland...

The waitress who recognised us seems to be a human dynamo; we've noticed she never stops moving, whether the coffeeshop is busy or not.  She speaks several languages, too - her English is very good, though accented, and her voice is a high little squeak.  Anyway, after Elaine had had the customoray two coffees I decided to order lunch, and went for the veal sausage John T had spoken of.  A pleasant meal, though I preferred the spiced pork sausage at Pfingstegg.

While we were in the sun grew in strength, and we watched it glisten from the snow that remains atop the mountains.  What were we to do next?  Well, the ideal thing seemed to be to cross the road and take another coffee in a shop with an outside terrace, so we did that, too.  From here we could see the Pfingstegg cable car, gaze in amazement at the Eiger and peaks peeking out around it which had been cloud-covered all week, and watch with envy as a series of hang-gliders took off from Pfingstegg.

We'd already seen hang-gliding from atop Harder Kuhn in Interlaken, and noticed too that it could be done here.  Tandem hang-gliding - you pay your fee, hold on (firmly!) to an experienced hang-glider, run when he tells you, and then float like a bird.  All that remains is to pray, and then to bend the knees when you land.  I'd love to have a go, (CHF 150), but not here, not this time.

Next, time for a stroll to the railway station.  We had flown out from Heathrow without seeing our cases again until we picked them up at the station here; we're making the same arrangements going back.  So we wanted to check that we could leave them on Sunday evening.  The guy I asked was the first unpleasant encounter I've had here.  I suspect he's German, not Swiss - there was a gutteral quality to his speech.
'Wot time is your airplane?'

'Monday afternoon; but I just want to be sure you'll be open Sunday evening?'


I don't like rudeness, especially from mere functionaries, so at this point I was sorely tempted to tell him where to stuff it, but remembered just in time that a) I'm a Christian, b) I'm a pastor, and c) Germans have a tendency to declare war on Europe when they're offended.

So, I smiled politely, told him the time of my flight, and received the assurance that I could drop off my cases on Sunday at 5.30.

'But not before.  Ve do not vant your cases for more zan twenty-four hours.  Yah?'

Yah.  Auf widersein.

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