Greg & Penny’s Swiss Holiday – Days Seven and Eight

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Ave Maria
Ave Maria

For some reason, neither Ms Playchute nor I slept particularly well last night so we awoke with a somewhat befuddled feeling. Then, looking out the window we noticed that the weather had changed – and not for the better. It was cloudy, overcast and attempting to drizzle so once again our plans of hiring some bikes went on the back burner. Instead, we wandered into St Moritz and spent the morning at the Segantini Museum, another attraction Sallie had recommended. I tell you what – if you are planning a holiday somewhere, get Sallie to be your tour guide; every one of her recommendations had proved to be outstanding and this was not the exception to the rule. Giovani Segantini was an Italian painter who lived in the area for a number of years towards the end of the 19th century. The museum houses a number of his more well-known paintings and they are absolutely splendid. Although I don’t necessarily buy in to all the symbolism and religious significance the audio guide described, the paintings were magnificent, whether he meant it all or not. (Having said that, I guess it’s quite difficult to ignore the religious intent in a painting entitled Ave Maria). This was a lovely museum modelled on his original plans for the Swiss pavilion at the Paris exposition of 1900 in an outstanding position on the hills overlooking the lake. Really worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity.

After the museum we retreated to the apartment to see if we could catch up on any of our missing sleep – an endeavour with which we both failed, I am afraid to say. Nevermind, we’ll catch up on it tonight. Oops! I forgot, we leave tomorrow and that necessitates a diabolically early departure from Surlej. Oh well, grin and bear it, I suppose.

Back into St Moritz to do some shopping for bits and pieces to take home. Earlier in the week we had discovered some half price prosciutto at the smaller of the two Co-ops in town. Pen also wanted some cheeses and a loaf of fig bread for her mother (I know, why? But there you are).

Unfortunately, the larger Co-op did not seem to have the half price prosciutto so we made a small diversion to the smaller one higher up in the town where we were delighted to find the offer still on. Two packets went into the shopping cart to complete our expedition.

Earlier in the week we had enquired at the Tourist Information Office in Silvaplana for a recommendation for a modestly priced restaurant for our final evening and the chap helping us very kindly recommended two. So, upon concluding our shopping we scouted them out to see which one we might prefer. As it turns out, I think he took our request for a modestly priced restaurant a bit too literally as the one we found didn’t exactly fill us with anticipation. So, instead we settled on the restaurant attached to the Hotel Conrad in Silvaplana, it having the distinct advantage of being open. (You will remember that we were too early in the season and a lot of restaurants, including the one at the Hotel Bellavista recommended by both Nick and Sallie, were closed for renovation work).

I was delighted to see lake perch on the menu although I am not convinced this was prepared precisely the way Sallie had suggested. Still, it was very tasty and Penelope’s pork medallions with porcini mushrooms was similarly tasty. A very nice bottle of Italian Merlot rounded off a very pleasant evening. Feeling fully sated we made our way back to the apartment to make the necessary arrangements for departure the following morning.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

What was I thinking? Another early, early departure had us rising at the ungodly hour of 3.00 in order to make the two and a half hour drive to Zurich airport for our flight back to “London” Luton airport. Thanks to the kind advice and guidance of the kind lady living in Nick’s sat nav system, we made it to the airport painlessly, returned the hire car, made our way through the various security obstacles and caught the flight with no mishaps.

Interestingly, the contrast between Zurich and Luton airports could not be more striking both in terms of the design and construction, the quality of the airport shops and kiosks and, most strikingly, in the general demeanour of the passengers awaiting departure. I guess there must be other “cheap” European airlines which fly into and out of Zurich but there are, of course, also the mainline airlines. Subsequently, you have a much more “mainline” passenger and a distinct absence of hen and stag parties and a general absence of youngsters off to the sun for a good time. Very civilised.

The flight back was fine and uneventful; the drive home from the airport similarly so and, in the blink of an eye, the holiday was finished. We had a great time, it’s a great place and if Rod and Sallie will let us, we’ll certainly go again.

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