African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Looking Up

Thursday, September 4

"...when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow." Jerry Chin

It was a day for looking up. There was too much rain and not enough desire for riding; so, we decide a field trip is in order. Lucerne it is. The first order of business was a walk to the small train station near the sports center. As luck would have it, we find a little hardware store and we do have a short time to browse. The stuff on the entry level was pretty pedestrian, but the basement... now this is more like it. The company Swiss Tools has a major operation in town and their products are sold here. "Shirley will really appreciate these fine screwdrivers," I think. Bill and Bob have higher ambitions, looking at bigger, fancier things. However, they eventually back off to select tools-that-can-be-packed-in-checked-bags, including screw drivers and a nifty magnetic driver bit. The day has been a success already.

We'd stay longer, but feared missing our train. But here's the thing. We get to the station and Bob buys his half-price ticket in what should have been just in the nick of time. But the train does not show up on time. Omigosh~a Swiss train is late! Where is the Eyewitness News Team when you need them. We may have been all of 7 minutes late when we FINALLY left. Things are in the hand basket...

Does this Train Look Late?
There are very few passengers and the trip to Lucern is nice; we speed along quietly on the continuous rails, damp, green panoramas moving swiftly by the large windows of the red and white train.

Aforementioned Damp, Green Panorama
We pull into the station late in the morning and walk out into the large lakefront plaza to get our bearings.

We are not Alone in Not Bicycle Riding Today
Lucerne reveals itself to be a large city that leans towards quaint Swiss town. The lake gives an open feel and provided Swiss engineers a reason for constructing the wonderful Kapellbrueke or Chapel Bridge.


We cross the bridge and enter a square just off of the lakeshore. It begins to rain harder and we settle on an outdoor table under a canvas roof. Beer and brats provide warmth, each in their own way, and thus fortified, we go off in search of, well, Swiss Army knives, it turns out. What says "I was thinking of you while gadding about Europe," better than a little knife/scissors/light/pen/flash drive combo? Right; I can't think of anything else either.

Rain in Lucerne
We make a big loop and eventually end up back at the cavernous station. Bob has had enough and works out a plan to return to Sumiswald. I'd like to visit the Art Museum and Bill concurs so we bid Bob bye-bye and set off in search of culture. It doesn't take long to find the museum, as it is connected to the station atrium. Our SwissPass gets us in for free; almost immediately I think that this is a really good thing, as the first exhibits are not anything I'd want to pay to look at. Dark, war themed, visions that are passed by not quickly enough. But then we get to collections from Swiss artists and the tour turns in an ever so much more pleasant direction.

A bit more than an hour and we've seen (OK, at least walked past) all the good stuff and we follow Bob's example and train back in to Sumiswald. End of the trip conversation really takes over at the evening meal ~ it is the official farewell dinner. It is here that Bill makes his now famous, and never to be repeated if he knows what's good for him, remark about losing trailers, to which Corinne responded with her even more famous, "Bill, that's not a funny story" rejoinder.

While the tour ends with a short ride to Basel on Sunday, tomorrow is the last day of the ride for several of us, by plan. Chris and Paula have a mid-day flight from Zurich on Saturday, so they will leave the tour Saturday morning for the airport. Bob has decided he needs to be home earlier than planned and he has re-scheduled such that he, too, will take the early train to Zurich. My plan all along has been to leave for Zurich after sleeping in on Saturday and disassembling and packing my bike. I have a hotel room at the Zurich airport so that I can easily make my 7:10 a.m. flight to Brussels on Sunday morning. Even Lorenz and Corinne will leave the tour Saturday, as they need to be at a family birthday celebration in the afternoon. This leaves Bill, Earne, Ruppert and Art and Pat to make the short ride to Basel.

But tomorrow, Friday, is a riding day for us all and once again we gather around the warm glow of the big Swiss maps and plot our attacks on the route from Sumiswald to Madiswill, a very short ride as the crow flies. But a few of us crows decide on a plan that would take us first out to the east of Sumiswald, then looping around to the north before beginning the run west to Affoltern and the cheese factory. Finally, we will swing north, looking for that last "white road" ride before ending the day at the Hotel Baeren in Madiswil.

It's good to have a plan when you turn in. I had one. And I did. Good night!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams, Jr.