Travelling

The day begins at a deserted Zurich airport. Very few passengers around, at a guess the airport is operating at less than 10% capacity.

Next stop, Frankfurt.

And here we are, the flight took less than 40 minutes. Frankfurt airport is a bit of a’work in progress’. It’s busier than Zurich, but still pretty quiet.

Time to find some lunch while we wait for our connection to Birmingham.

We had been fearful of delays at Birmingham, what with all the Covid forms and tests to check, but the plane was only a quarter full, and we were out and in our taxi in no time. Curry tonight.

Off to Zurich

Colin prepared a really good Mexican dinner last night, with tacos to start followed by a chilli. Val made scones which we enjoyed with jam and clotted cream for pudding.

Today we’re off to Zurich where we’ll stay overnight before catching our flight to Frankfurt tomorrow morning. We have a huge sheaf of documents, which will hopefully be sufficient to get us into and out of Germany, and subsequently into the U.K.

The Wengen test centre – it’s just a stool on the balcony at the doctors.

One bonus of staying over at the airport (possibly the only one) is that we get to have a drink in the bar.

The hotel, needless to say, is the same as every other airport hotel anywhere in the world. The staff are lovely though. They seem to genuinely want you to have a good time. We’ll do our best.

More testing, and an early start

Our architect visited this morning to look at the remains of the terrace before it’s rebuilt – he turned up at 7.30am. Fortunately, I was up. Yesterday’s rain fell as snow on the peaks around the village, and the mountains are dressed in white this morning.

The Covid tests that we had yesterday will permit us to enter the UK, assuming that the results come back negative of course. Unfortunately, we have to fly via Frankfurt, and the 72 hour RT-PCR test that the U.K. requires isn’t good enough for the Germans, who require an antigen test within 48 hours of departure. Time to pop into the doctors to get tested yet again, and collect more paperwork. We could do the antigen tests ourselves at home, but crucially we need a letter from the doctor confirming the results before we can fly to Germany. That’s 2 tests in 2 days so far, with at least another 4 before we can get out of U.K. quarantine and return.

What with the scarcity of flights and all this testing, travelling is really, really hard at the moment. Dinner at Colin’s tonight.

Rain, and testing time

It always comes as a surprise when we wake up to rain – somehow we take nice weather for granted. Even when the forecast says it’s going to be wet, we tend to plan for dry weather so as not to miss a good day. Today however, it has rained all day.

Clouds swirl around the village, and it’s cold. It’s just our luck that we have an appointment at the doctors to have our PCR tests for our flight on Sunday. The tests take less than a minute, but we got pretty soaked walking there and back. Still, it gave us a chance to get used to the rain – I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more of it over the next few weeks.

Building season

At the end of every winter season, Wengen’s builders get to work. Building is not allowed during the holiday season, so everything has to be squeezed into the gap between winter and summer. The unloading area at the station is packed to the rafters with materials and scaffolding.

Meanwhile, Val is off for her final dental appointment. It’s overcast today, with rain forecast, but the train ride along the lake is still stunning.

Admin day

After the noisy demolition of our terrace yesterday, we were hoping for a little peace today. Not a chance. It’s time for our heating oil delivery.

The oil has to pass up a 20 metre pipe to get to our tank, and the pump doing the work is noisy.

I have lots of little jobs to do today. Telephone Lufthansa to add luggage to our booking (I forgot first time around), book a taxi from Birmingham airport back to Shifnal on Sunday, go to the station and buy our summer passes, etc. We did find time for a wander this afternoon, and we bumped into Emily who was taking her bike down to Lauterbrunnen for repairs and a service. Bikes are popular here, but they have a very hard life, as most routes are either steeply uphill or downhill, meaning chains, gears and brakes all wear very quickly.

There are no tourists at all now, and the village is very quiet. Still, it’s a lovely afternoon in the sunshine.

Renovating the terrace

Emily came up with another lovely fish pie last night.

This morning we needed to be up early. The renovation of our terrace is due to begin, and the Swiss start work early. Here they are.

This is likely to be very noisy, so after shopping we headed over to Grütschalp and had a walk to Mürren. There’s still a lot of snow along the path.

Crocuses. Millions of them.

We caught the cable car down to Stechelberg, a bus to Lauterbrunnen and then the train back up to Wengen. Our terrace is….. gone!