A rainy morning. We got out our rain gear. I was up early, exploring for coffee. None was to be had. I was used to the Advisors Lounge at Philmont, where coffee is available 24/7.
We had set aside this day for exploring Kandersteg village. We needed an easy day. The altitude wasn't that high, but we knew we would be tired and in need of acclimation. After breakfast, we strolled into the village. We passed a 4-star gourmet restaurant. *Boggle*
Walking to town
Rain doesn't stop us
View by the side of the road
The mountains get up close and personal here
Kandersteg is a village of 1200 people, at the head of a narrow valley. For all its small size, it has a half dozen or more hotels in it. The Lötschberg Tunnel was originally what brought people here. Completed a century ago, it is the highest rail tunnel in the Swiss system. Now, there are as many tourists as locals, at least during the summer travel season. I can't speak of winter travel, but skiing is a big deal here, so I imagine they stay busy then, too. Though smaller than either, Kandersteg has a feel of Lake Placid or Ambleside.
Lots of Victorinox vendors (Swiss army knives) -- two on the main drag of the village! Two outfitters in town selling mountaineering/camping/backpacking gear, but both were closed on Wednesdays. A lot of businesses were closed on Wednesdays. I'm guessing that as a tourist town, a lot of people work weekends, so they take their days off in the middle of the week.
On the main drag below the train station, we stepped into a cheese shop. They sold not only cheese, but also chocolate and various housewares (like cutting boards and cheese knives). We ate dark chocolate with coffee beans in it for crunch. We also tried an Alpentraum cheese: soft and delicious, like a Butterkäse.
Lunch back at KISC was Moroccan chicken with couscous and fresh-baked pita bread. T.J.'s portion was made without tomatoes. We were impressed. T.J. was very happy. KISC provided him with plenty of food he could eat -- unlike most American Scout camps, KISC took his allergies completely into account. "I'm expanding my food horizons," he said.
Help, my tent exploded
Alane, drying out and getting organized
Local parish church
Trains rushed past our campsite every few minutes. There were passenger trains, freight trains, and car trains. The car trains are like ferries on rails: you drive up onto a railcar, put on your parking brake and sit in your vehicle as the train takes you through the tunnel. One of the locals told us that the tunnel reduced the travel time between Kandersteg and Brig from 6-8 hours by road to just one hour by rail.
Leave the driving to us
Taking an afternoon nap was a great temptation. We aired out our bedding, took showers, lazed about camp a bit. We went back into town to pick up some knives we were having engraved. We ate more goodies. Ah, cheese, chocolate, pastry -- it's a hard life.
The rain continued intermittently all day and into the evening. We decided to do some laundry. Figuring out foreign appliances was difficult. Using foreign coins was, too: without my glasses and close inspection, I can't immediately tell what I've got in my hand with these unfamiliar coins.
My legs were hurting really badly. My right Achilles tendon has been giving me difficulties for months. Compensating for it has thrown off my other leg and hips. Walking on asphalt was painful. Very tired. We got our laundry done, finally, and knocked off early. It rained all night.
Do it when you can