Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Glacier Field of Chilchbalm

Welcome to Gimmelwald!
On our first day in Gimmelwald, we went for a hike to something Rick Steves described as a glacier field.  It's called Chilchbalm, as you can see in the photo below:
Paul poked the snow:
And I stuck my fingers in the icy cold water:
On the way back, we checked out the wildlife and beautiful wildflowers:
Also, speaking of glaciers, the hotel at which we stayed had an interesting shower experience, which I dubbed the Alpine Freeze.  You had to pay 1 franc for five minutes of shower time, the machine to add another franc was no where near the shower, and when you got near the end of your 5 minutes, your only warning signal was that the water became absolutely freezing cold (like, top of the mountain water cold).  It also did that occasionally during the shower, presumably when someone flushed a toilet or similar.  Not an experience you'd want right before bed, I'd say.

The hotel itself was run by an 89 year old gentleman, Walter (his photo is on the website linked above - check it out!), and his assistant, Tim, who has been working there on a somewhat informal basis for something like 14 years.  They have an amusing relationship.  Tim tries to get guests to eat elsewhere so Walter doesn't have to cook dinners by saying that Walter isn't feeling well.  When we arrived, Paul said to Walter that he hoped he was feeling better, and Walter was like "who told you I wasn't feeling well?"  And then he proceeded to joke about Tim making things up and telling us how Tim sticks around because he wants a room so he can paraglide in the area and see his girlfriend.  Pretty funny.

In many ways it was a great place to stay - we had some great conversations with people over breakfast and dinner (including the mother of Paul's best friend in second grade!), and Tim and Walter were both very friendly and super helpful.  However, the number of spider webs was amusing - in doorways, in the corners of rooms, everywhere.

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