Thursday, July 26, 2007

CH - Meiringen

My next stop was only about 15 minutes away, by rail, so I decided to stick around Brienz a bit longer and ride up to the top of the Rothorn. En route, I juggled about with my camera cards to get an inventory of remaining photo space. Result: not much. It was just enough, though, capturing the beautiful view from the trek to, from, and upon the Rothorn.

In Meiringen, my first thought was of how much the downtown reminded me of the downtown of a classic Pennsylvania town, except more vibrant. Makes sense: where I grew up, there is a lot of influence from Swiss Germans. Cars and pedestrians coinhabit this city, which is forced to be compact by the cliffs towering above only hundreds of meters to the north and south.

My hotel, the Parkhotel du Sauvage, is posh: the classiest place I’ll be at this whole trip. It’s where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once stayed and also where his Sherlock Holmes stayed shortly before the character’s “death” at the nearby Reichenbachfall – which I hope to see tomorrow. Sherlock Holmes’ legacy is very much alive in this tiny community.

The church located on the northern side of town has a pretty clocktower and garden, not to mention the ruins beneath the church which were eerily empty. An sign helps to identify which ruins belong to which time period, and from that it is pretty easy to visualize what the grounds looked like centuries ago.

As part of my hostel stay, I get free access to a local fitness club. I am not one to pass up a whirlpool tub, if offered, and it was too late for any significant excursions, anyway. Upon my arrival, whilst in the men’s locked room, I inspect the prominent warning signs and come up with one conclusion: this is a nude bath. I head back out to the lobby wearing a towel and confirm this, not wanting to emerge naked only to find I’m supposed to have a swimsuit on.

Sure enough, yep I’m supposed to be in the buff. Alright… I’m comfortable enough with my body. I drop the towel and I’m roaming free. Not just that, but I soon confirmed that these baths were co-ed. For the males that must know: nothing spectacular. It was a quiet night and the clientele was a la the mid-day traffic at the Ephrata Rec Center, though the facility attendant was cute in a sort of Uma Thurman-ish way… she seemed to walk through the men’s lockers a bit often, though, not that I am necessarily complaining. I had the whirlpool all to myself for an hour and it was the perfect cure for legs weary after three weeks of hiking about. My two-block walk back to the hotel was as if I was drunk: my legs were like rubber and my mind was as if overdosed on soma.

In my room, I happened upon Les Triplettes de Belleville on TV, partially dubbed into German for the few speaking parts. I had always wanted to see this and am now glad to have had the chance: it is certainly a different movie, and I respect that. It was not at all a kid’s movie, but wasn’t particularly risqué, either. It was just sort of… uniquely French. The animation style is great and the humor is sometimes subtle, sometimes dark, and sometimes slapstick. Definitely worth seeing if you haven’t already.

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