Switzerland is a country I like very much. I like and admire the way it is run, from its political system, which is arguably the most democratic in Europe, to its beautiful landscape, its excellent transport network, and of course its people. I had the pleasure of working in Switzerland for three hotel seasons (just under a year) in the early 1990s and I was keen to get back and revisit the three places I had worked at the time (my initial reason for doing the trip) to see how they had changed.
We started today by heading west along the lake to Geneva, where we had a couple of coffees and I managed to acquire an accessory to attach the camera I have to my bike helmet (I had left my own at home and had to resort to gaffa tape to record some of our earlier journey). Following this excursion into Geneva, we headed back along lake Geneva and then took the motorway across Switzerland, around Fribourg, Bern, a short diversion through the centre of Luzern (or Lucerne), and then on to the canton of Graubünden (or Grisons, to give it its English name), which is where I was based during my three seasons working in hotels. Our first point of call was the Sunstar Hotel Surserlva in Flims-Dorf, which is where I worked in the summer season of 1992, between my second and third years at university.
The hotel is set in a beautiful location and is a four star hotel. I had called earlier in the day to book our rooms and told them I had worked there 18 years ago. Word got around the staff and by the time we arrived, I was constantly asked if I knew someone called Lenny. I’d never heard of Lenny, but everyone seemed to think that he’d been there since 1990. It became a bit of a running joke that members of staff would ask if I knew Lenny. I didn’t know any of the staff who work there now. The guy who was on reception when we arrived made me feel old by saying that he wasn’t even born when I had worked there. Great!
Chris’ leg has been playing up a bit – don’t know whether it’s cramp or what, but he suggested that we go the whole hog and have an evening meal at the hotel rather than go out to find somewhere cheaper to eat. We had a wonderful four course dinner, but didn’t feel bloated afterwards, as the portions were just right. Had a little altercation after the meal, based around meeting up to plan the ongoing route. Wasn’t pleasant at first, but these things are bound to happen, and we resolved it and went to the bar to sort out the route over a couple of drinks.
Distance: 332 miles
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