Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To Moerel - With SHEEP!!!

On this day, I didn't have a stovetop to create my normal cream of buckwheat,
so I had a banana with rice cakes and jam.
It did not take the place of my beloved hot cereal,
but it did the trick!

In many grocery stores in Europe, customers need to weigh their own fruit and vegetables and then input the right number into the weighing machine.  The machine then spits out a sticker like this . . . 

which the customer then needs to stick on the item.
I forgot this all the time.  Thank goodness Greg was there to remind me or
I would have embarrassed myself more than once.

We got all packed up!

Here's what I carried:

I noticed that my shoe grommet had gotten bent out of shape
at some point in our adventuring.
No matter!  It still works fine!

Here's what I wore:
blouse: Calvin Klein
pants: SoHo Apparel
shoes, socks, sweater: Target

We started out by train.

Don't forget - a big 2 on the car window means SECOND CLASS.
That means our train pass was valid.
The train pass is NOT valid for first class.

Our journey went right through beautiful Interlaken; 

we saw
Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

We transferred trains in the town of Brienz.

The next train had cool foldable drinks holders!
Folded out:

Folded in:

And the little table had a great map of the area we'd be traveling.

"We take you there and back again".

This train conveniently had a special place to store bigger luggage:

The train station had a Scripture poster
that was displaying John 3:16.

Some trains have restaurant cars (usually near the middle of the train).

Here are some of the views on our way to Moerel
(a tiny town near Brig):

Greg was a wonderful train traveler:

I drank sparkling mineral water
("Wasser mit Gas"):

This train had outlets!
This is how outlets look in Switzerland!

There's a town called Reichenbach, which means Reichen brook (or stream or river), and it's not especially close to the famous Reichenbach Falls we saw previously.

Our train was almost empty!

This train had a lovely digital display, listing all the stops.
"Halt auf Verlangen" means the train will only stop there if someone requests a stop
(by pushing a red button that says "Halt" on it).

We had fun with photos because the train car was empty.

Empty train car:

Great big round bathroom:

Here's a little video tour of the train car:

Here's Brig, down in the valley below:

We arrived on track 14 in Brig.

We needed to switch quickly to a different track to get to Moerel.

We got to go through the town of "Bitsch".
Yes, it's pronounced exactly how you think and it was hilarious every single time.

And then we found Moerel!
(I can't figure out a good way to put the umlauts over the "o,"
so they aren't going to be there. The "e" after the "o" stands for an umlaut.)

The Moerel train station (one track) is at the bottom of the valley.
Our hotel was at the top of a huge hill.
I did not know this when I booked this particular place.

Note for next time: choose a motel without a kitchen over one that's at the top of a huge tall steep hill and far away from everything

To be fair to myself, I did check the walking time estimates from train stations to motels, and this one said only 10-15 minutes . . . and using the stairs, this is correct! 
Here are the stairs.
Suitcases would have been difficult, but not impossible if we went slowly.

Of course, we didn't know on the way up that these stairs led to our motel.
Google maps led us a different way.
Using the hill to allow pulling suitcases, it took us over an hour.

In spite of the extreme challenge of getting to our hotel the first time,
I do NOT regret choosing this hotel overall because of this: THESE SHAGGY SHEEP!
Their field was right along the stairs to our hotel and my heart was warmed every day as we walked past them.

The first time we saw the amazing sheep, they were all lying in a big fluffy pile! 

Here's the hill before it turns into stairs:

We started out in good spirits and the town was very pretty.

Interesting mushroom platforms for this house to sit on!

We started walking up a steep incline.

It doesn't look steep from this angle, but it was!
Plus, we were toting luggage
(which didn't roll very well over the gravel)..

I almost cried a number of times.
I kept trying to tell myself, 
"You're in Switzerland!  Look at that view!"

I looked at the small things to keep my mind off my approaching meltdown.

As soon as we found our hotel, I made myself some sustenance.

I fell completely, hopelessly in love with these
Suisse Langenthal blue floral dishes.
I have already searched for them online - sadly, I couldn't find any available.

Since I had a lovely oven available,
I made a big plate of browned potatoes.

My mouth is watering right now as I type this.

Unfortunately, after all that walking uphill, we had to walk yet further because
we had no internet access in that room.  We had to go down the hill a bit to
talk to the reception (in German, though her main language was probably French and mine is English!)  The website said that there was free Wi-Fi and there obviously wasn't.
After a little discussion and the challenge that we couldn't really need it, she moved us to a different room.  A different building, in fact, which meant more walking.

The second place had acceptable (though spotty) internet access, and it was closer to the down stairs to the train station, but the apartment was dark and sort of depressing.
Also, they didn't prepare it for us before we arrived, and we had no sheets, no pillowcases, no duvet cover . . . I then (after such a tiring day and so much nearness to tears!) needed to CALL (because reception was closed by this time) to ask for sheets, but I couldn't remember the words for all the things we needed (towels, pillowcases, etc.), so we didn't get those.  Someone should really have thought about that when moving us to a new room . . . 
I loved this wall-hanging.

"By good powers wonderfully protected,
we trustfully await what will come.
God is with us in the evening and in the morning
and certainly on every new day."
- Dietrich Bonhoffer

I'm not sure whether these little teeny skulls were sort of rustic fancy cool or creepy.

After we settled in a tad, we needed to head back into town to get food for Greg.
We walked down the steep stairs, enjoying the sheep!

After the stairs down, there was this sort of slightly paved path down the rest of the way 
to the main part of town.

Great decided to have Roesti, one of the national dishes of Switzerland.

Here is it!!! Potatoes with GOBS of cheese, an egg on top, and for some reason, a pickle.
There was some ham, too.

Here is the remainder of the Epiphany blessing on this house/restaurant.

These lovely beautiful fragrant lilacs were near our door at our hotel.
They are maybe my favorite flower
(though tulips, rannunculi, and some other flowers are on the "maybe favorite" list, too!)

Look at this huge ant I saw!

After we got back to our hotel again, I got some photos of the inside of the place.

Sitting room, looking through to the kitchen.

And I enjoyed the view!

Good night!

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