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Friday, September 02, 2022

July 3rd: Rosenlaui - The Romantikweg

 We woke up at 5:00am, got all of our bags, and then walked out to the tram station, where we followed the schedule provided by the SBB app. The app radically changes how you travel by train in Switzerland --- you can even buy tickets after you've boarded the train, or even turn on a mode where it automatically buys train tickets for you (which I didn't dare try!) based on your location.

We met Savitha at the Zurich train going to Luzern, and once in Luzern got onto the scenic panaromic-window equipped train to Meiringen. I'd been to Rosenlaui multiple times, but this was only Xiaoqin's 3rd time, and the first time Bowen was returning since the last time he was there he was a baby. I was curious to see if Rosenlaui lived up to what I had told Bowen and Boen.

Getting off at the Rosenlaui bus stop (we didn't have to pay for the ticket since a Rosenlaui reservation entitles you to a free bus ride), I ran into Christine and she had me leave all the bags and hurriedly gave me a bus pass. We had plenty of time, so I elected to walk up to the Schwarzwaldalp bus stop where we'd agreed to meet Savitha in time for the next train. I'd told the kids the story of how when hiking near Rosenlaui with Bowen in the baby backpack, I had shown him a dandelion, blown it in front of him, and then handed him another one to see if he would do it, and he'd put it into his mouth and eaten it instead! Now, they wanted to see where Bowen had eaten his dandelion. Xiaoqin after walking a few steps decided she didn't want to wear herself out since there was another hike coming, and decided to wait for the bus.

The road signs said it would take 35 minutes to walk, but it ended up taking us closer to 45 minutes --- no matter, we had plenty of time before the bus would arrive, but when the bus arrived, Xiaoqin wasn't on board. One of the passengers told me she'd gotten off at the previous stop! We walked back to find her, and she said the sign on the bus didn't say there were any more stops. I needed to be explicit that she should have stayed on the bus until the end, because what happens is that the bus stops in Schwarzwaldalp but you have to take the next bus to go all the way to the top of Grosse Scheidegg. Thankfully, we were early enough in the day that the next bus was only an hour or so of wait. Any later, and the bus would take a lunch break, which would heavily disrupt our plan. The bus stop was next to a restaurant, but it was too early for lunch so everyone else had ice cream and I had a meringue instead.

The next bus came, and we took it to the top where we had lunch before starting on the Romantikweg (yes, that means the romantic path) down to Rosenlaui in the easy direction. While the uphill direction was easier than the knees, it would take a lot longer and if you missed the last bus at the top you were stuck walking all the way back down and risking missing dinner!

The last time I had hiked the Romantikweg was in 2008 with Phil, as part of a much more ambitious loop that included Hornseeli. I was happy to see that the trail had lost none of its beauty and ability to impress. The upper part of the trail from the Grosse Scheidegg bus stop had wide open vistas and gentle trails but was exposed. That wasn't a bad thing, since that high up, it was relatively cool and the views were worth it.

At the Hornseeli intersection, nobody wanted to go up what looked like a wall, though the sign said the additional delta (20 minutes) was not much time. I had no particular need to do it, since I'd done it before and was curious to see what the regular version of the Romantikweg looked like. After a short leadout, the trail started descending and now the trailside was covered with flowers. The change was dramatic.

At this point, Bowen's food poisoning caught up with him, and he started having to use the toilet paper I'd cleverly stuffed into his pockets last night. 2 goes at it and he used it all up but fortunately, that was all he needed. The trail descended down into the valley into a wide fire road, and at this point Xiaoqin's feet started acting up. Bowen had also slowed down a lot.
There was one last bus leaving the Schwarzwaldalp at 5:15pm, so they could make it. Savitha kindly agreed to stay with them to walk them to the bus stop despite her hostel being right there in front of her. I decided to walk ahead to prep the room and move the luggage. It didn't take long to walk down, but what I noticed was that I never passed the bus stop! Savitha would tell me the next day that I'd missed the uphill turn you had to take to get to the bus stop.


Arriving at Rosenlaui, Christine gave me the key, and gave me new bus passes since she noticed that we might take separate hikes. "There are new rules," she said to me, "No phones or cameras in the dining room, and no phones in the public areas of the hotel. We don't have too many children visiting the hotel so we can make it stick, but the adult guests find that it's really nice not to have people around them scrolling on Facebook or posting on social media." So unlike in the past, we do not have food photos from Rosenlaui.

The rest of the family got back on the last bus, and then it was the usual frenzy of showers, laundry, and getting everyone settled. Bowen looked at the tourist room and refused to stay in it, but I was happy to share the tourist room with Boen. Bowen was excited to test the Rosenlaui dinner, and he didn't enjoy the fennel soup but the salad dish blew him away. He also enjoyed the ice cream but not the main course.


After dinner, we took our usual walk outside the hotel, and noticed that one of the buildings looked new. Peeking inside, it was a notice that Rosenlaui had its 250 year anniversary the year before, in 2021. Christine would tell me that because of COVID, the hotel was closed and they had no way to celebrate it, but at least the building (which apparently wasn't new) was now a museum and a notice of the UNESCO certification of the park.

The forecast called for rain the next day, but we made plans since the morning was supposed to be better to go up to Grosse Scheidegg and hike over to First. We'd all had a long day and sleep came easily.

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