We’re off and running for this Swiss Alps Tour, which might go by a few other names but is basically about this: the magnificent Swiss Alps!
We gathered together in Zurich yesterday from many directions: Canada, the United States, a group coming from a pre-trip boat cruise in Portugal and another party that had arrived early to explore their Swiss roots. We met in the lobby of our hotel, the centrally located Hotel Montana where our TourMagination “hosts” led us on a walking tour of Zurich. For all of its fame, Zurich is a smallish (about 400,000-person) city with a compact medieval centre; just right for a stroll. So we did just that as we stood in Lindenhof, the site of the first Roman fortress, and looked out on a city shaped over millennia by faith (three key churches, the site of ancient monasteries which have since been dissolved) and commerce. As a mark of the latter many of the street names are still named after the ancient guilds who had gathered there, from the leather workers to the silversmiths.
Of special interest to some, we explored Anabaptist/Mennonite origins as we heard the story of Felix Manz, Conrad Grebel and that first baptism (and subsequent martyrdom) in 1525. Then more strolling along a medieval road/alley until we returned to our hotel. If that wasn’t enough we enjoyed a boat cruise before our evening meal that took us down the Limmat river to the Zurichersee; a relaxing delight to the senses.
Our evening meal together had “Swiss culture” written all over it as we enjoyed raclette, which is basically an excuse invented by the Swiss to eat gently melted cheese spread over whatever is on your plate. It tastes like: yum.
Now it’s early morning and I’m sitting in the lobby of our hotel. We’ll leave shortly for the main train station, Zurich’s Hauptbahnhof, as we set out for a series of trains which will take us to Murren this afternoon.
Early reports suggest that this group will get on wonderfully together. We’ve barely met, barely gotten our Swiss bearings, yet we’re well on our way!
– Len Friesen, Alpine Adventure Tour