Tuesday, July 8, 2008

James Bond and the Schilthorn

Because of a mix up with our apartment in Murren, we had to leave a day earlier than planned. So we spent an uneventful night in Grindelwald. But before we went there we took a cable car to the top of the Schilthorn. We were very lucky when we were on the Jungfraujoch. We were able to see all the way to the Black Forest in Germany and into France. As we climbed the Schilthorn it started to rain and the clouds came in so thick that we couldn’t see a thing.

So we went into the movie room where they showed excerpts of the James Bond Movie “In her majesty’s service.” Why? Well, at the top of the Schilthorn is a restaurant called the Piz Gloria. As it was being constructed the James Bond producer came by and asked to use it for the movie before it opened. So this restaurant served as a remarkable lair and hideout for the movie’s bad guy. They showed the remarkable skiing scenes in the movie.

After this we went into the restaurant which revolves so that as you sit there for an hour you have a 360 degree panoramic view of the mountains surrounding you. At first we couldn’t see a thing but as we began to get our food the clouds started to disperse and finally we saw clear views of the mountains, and even Lake Thun which we had crossed in a boat on our way to the Alps. If you look carefully you too can see Lake Thun in the second photo. What a magnificent way to dine. And in Switzerland it takes so long to dine that we had no problem circling the panorama almost twice.

In Switzerland eating out is expensive. One time I ate at Burger King to see if it was any different from the US. I ordered a whopper, small fries, and small drink. It cost $13.25. It wasn’t very different from the US except the high price, that they gave me mayonnaise to eat with my french fries, and that one of the drinks was Rivella, a Swiss pop made from whey, a byproduct of cheese production. Anyway it costs maybe $20 for a low priced meal at a dining in restaurant. But one nice thing about Switzerland is that the restaurants in these fancy places like the Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch are not any more expensive than the restaurants out in the middle of nowhere. They don’t gouge you.

As I said, we then went to Grindelwald, which is a beautiful place. But we were very tired from our days of hiking and going to the tops of mountains. So mostly we rested and played games. Grindelwald is yet another location associated with my ancestor Isaac Kaufmann, who clearly led a chaotic life as an Anabaptist teacher, moving from one place to another to keep ahead of the authorities. An alp in Grindelwald is one place where he managed to farm for awhile, according to Sam Wenger. This would have been a nice place to stay. My last two photos are of Grindelwald.

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