Sunday, 7 August 2011

An organisational error can be a nice evening out

The inseparable trio at the top of Rigi
Yesterday Anny, Negrita and I hiked from Goldau up to the top of Rigi.  We set off quite late in the day as I had a bit of a hangover, so by the time we set off from Goldau it was some time around 3pm.  The sun was baking down on our heads and we were all feeling the effects of the heat on the first section which passes along a small road through farmland, as there was very little shade on offer.

The next section passes through forest and the temperature in the forest was much more bearable.  Not long after hiking through the forested section we stopped for a drink and a snack.  Then it was time to hike onwards towards the top.  At one point there were several signposts pointing to Rigi Kulm, so we chose the Bergweg (mountain path) option.  A kilometre or so after taking the Bergweg there was an option of taking one of two Bergwegs to continue.  The one was much more well used than the other.  I thought it would be more interesting to take the lesser used one, but after following that for a bit Anny wanted to go back to the more well trodden one, as the lesser used one was more "interesting" i.e. small obstacles and nearer to some drops and more likely to trip over.  So we went back and continued on the well trodden route.

As we approached nearer the top a thunderstorm started coming in fast.  I am not really that comfortable heading towards the exposed top of a mountain when a thunderstorm is heading your way.  There wasn't that much option though as we wanted to get to the top to catch the train down, and it was quicker to go up from where we were than to do down.  About 1 kilometre from the summit the skies unleashed a veritable torrent of rain and we decided to take shelter under the roof of a small farm building attached to a farmhouse.

After waiting out the worst of the shower we decided we better get to the top before it started getting dark. There were a couple of options.  One was to continue up towards Rigi Kulm via the more exposed route and another was to head on a shallower route away from Rigi Kulm but then later to turn back towards it.  Due to the presence of the thunderstorm we decided the best way was to take the more sheltered route away from Rigi Kulm and then climb towards it later.

Actually after walking for a bit on the less steep path the rain stopped and the skies cleared.  This afforded us a magnificent view of all the surrounding mountains and the lake below.  Anny was very happy as she has never climbed this much vertical distance in one day before.  By the time we got to Rigi Kulm it was 8.15pm or so.  Much to our dismay we found that the last train would be in over 2 hours time, at 10.40pm.  Not only that but we would miss the direct connection to Zurich from Goldau and end up having to change 3 or 4 times and get to Zurich at 3 or 4 in the morning, which was just crazy.

We decided that we would take advantage of being in this beautiful scenery and stay overnight in the Rigi Kulm hotel.  Plus Negrita was shaking like a leaf because she was sopping wet and her tail was down firmly between her legs (a sure sign that she was not happy).  Luckily they had a room left, although it was 240CHF, which is rather pricey.  The kitchen was going to close soon so we went to the room to dump our stuff, to dry Negrita with a hairdryer, and then we went straight to the restaurant.  The food in the restaurant was scrumptious so it made for a lovely romantic atmosphere.  After satisfying our hunger pains we were ready for a good sound nights sleep in our room.

We woke up full of energy at 9am, took a nice breakfast and then headed back to Zurich where we now are.  I will now put on my cycling kit and go out for a bike ride while the sun is still shining and before it decides to rain.  In the meantime I think Anny is going to the gym.  Maybe my influence is rubbing off on her as she seems more committed to getting fitter in the last few weeks.

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