having a look at vincent’s pictures

the [kunstmuseum in basel is hosting an exhibition of vincent van gogh’s landscape pictures](http://www.vangogh.ch/en.html) and we had been planning on going up to basel and having a look at them. so, as this sunday had more or less non-stop rain forecast, we had an early sunday breakfast, skipped church, grabbed our rail network cards and hopped on the train from einsiedeln to wädenswil, and changed into the IR train to basel. after about a bit over 2 hours we got to basel main station, changed to the tram and got to the kunstmuseum in just about 5min or so.

"the most important culture event in europe"???

yesterday evening i had tried to figure out how much the tickets would cost us — and had found out that entry was timed: you could only buy tickets for a specific entry time period. not fully trusting SBB to be as reliable as we wished it to be[^1] we had decided to “risk it” and not bought any tickets in advance. guess, we were lucky: just 10 persons in front of us in the queue for a ticket and we don’t have to wait long either. getting in is a 3-step-process (not counting the ticket purchase):

1. london underground style barriers where you have to insert your newly purchased ticket (supervised by no less than 2 security ladies)
2. we are now in the main entrance hall where we can let go of all our belongings (no cameras, no mobile phone, no clothing…ok, made that last one up), at the end of which is check #2, where you have to show your tickets once more (and again 2 security persons)
3. in front of us is now a huge staircase that would do any temple proud, climbing that we finally end up on the second floor[^2] where our tickets are checked once again.

we queue once more to rent an ipod each as the guided tours are already booked out for all of sunday. then we finally (ticket check #4) get to see vincent’s landscape pictures!

[^1]: yes, even swiss trains can be unpunctual 🙁

[^2]: mainland european counting, ground floor not counting.

…and i’m really impressed by them. i especially like the ones where van gogh starts experimenting with complementing colours (the flower beds one), pictures from his paris period (like _restaurant de la sirene_, which unfortunately the kunstmuseum didn’t have as a poster) —

— but also the picture of the sailing boats in the mediterranean sea.

as usual with these kind of art exhibits i’m a bit irritated by the whole hoopla and “oh, this is so important” kind of affected behaviour, by the _church of art exhibitions_ — very aptly summarized by mrs d: “the pictures are beautiful, the whole shebang surrounding it just gets on your nerves.”

we purchase three posters along with proper poster rails to hang them[^3] and after a late lunch sitting outside on the banks of the rhine are on our way back home. well worth the visit if you ignore all that high-priests-of-art stuff.

[^3]: …and we do hang them the same evening! a first! 🙂

16:00 back in einsiedeln

steamship galliaat _lucerne verkehrshaus_ i disembark one station earlier than planned, trying to catch the _voralpenexpress_ train back to biberbrugg. with a bit of, let’s say, fast-hobbling i manage to catch the train and am on my way back home.

at biberbrugg i meet up with mrs d who has just been dropped of by fredi and is tired but happy from a fantastic day out. together we hop on to the train to einsiedeln and walk/hobble home 🙂

picture links:

* [my pictures from today’s tour](http://50mm-traveller.net/2009/2009-06-01-ibergeregg-lake-lucerne/)
* [mrs d’s pictures from her tour today](http://50mm-traveller.net/mrs-d/2009/2009-06-01-fibbia/)

middle of lake lucerne, 14:00

interesting cumulus humilis cloud over oberibergthe post bus ride from ibergeregg pass down to schwyz was, well, exciting if not adventurous. in contrast to the more gentle norther approach from oberiberg, the southern approach really takes you into the alps with breathtaking views across lake lucerne, up to the huser stock and hengst mountains — all the way constantly going back and forth, left and right, most of the time with no space for two cars, let alone a car and post bus, to pass each other. the way down thus turns into an almost constant post bus horn concerto and i’m glad that it’s not me who is doing the driving 🙂 a fantastic ride!

12:35 brunnen, ship stationwe get to schwyz in time for the bus to brunnen, ship station and i get there with 20min to spare unitl the 12:50 steam ship to lucerne departs. from the south more and more _cumulus congestus_ and cumulus nimbus clouds make their way north and i wonder what the weather in the gotthard area is like and whether mrs d can enjoy the panorama or is stuck in the clouds.

steamship uri approaching brunnenthe steamship _uri_, an old paddle steamer, arrives right on time and departs right on time. i make my way up to first class and the restaurant, where i can share table with an elderly couple from nidwalden (as it later transpires). over lunch we chat a bit about living in switzerland, rüschlikon (he grew up there) and the beautiful lake lucerne area.

later i go outside and watch the scenery slowly go past. switzerland seems full of beautiful places.

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_sound of the steamship “uri” on lake lucerne_

ibergeregg pass, 10:20

view from the bus to oberibergfirst stop on my tour through the swiss alps by public transport: ibergeregg pass.

the post bus from oberiberg wound its way up the pass road navigating lots of curves and bends each time sounding its characteristic swiss post bus horn: dah-dee-doh-dah!

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_sound of the ibergeregg–schwyz post bus_

11:04 ibergeregg pass, view towards the alpsright at the summit of the ibergeregg pass is a pub-cum-hotel with a nice terrace providing a fantastic view of the alps! i’ve got until 11:40 for the bus to schwyz and settle down for a cup of coffee and some mountain and motorbike watching: the pass road is __very__ popular with both bikers and motor bikers and over the course of half an hour you get to see motorbikes of almost any shape and make: those tiny ones with barely enough power to make it up here — isn’t there a law against mistreating small mopeds — up to real monster bikes that threaten to eat the whole pass in one go, road, mountain, pub, the lot.

next stop: schwyzthen there are the racing cyclists: mostly men in their late 50s (the younger ones are probably already at home again), sometimes accompanied by a younger woman, always in what appears to be the latest racing outfit, almost all happy to reach the summit.

next stop: schwyz.


einsiedeln, 9:05

09:05 einsiedeln, starthaving hobbled to einsiedeln station, i’m in time for the 9:05 post bus to oberiberg — the weather is fantastic and i do envy mrs d for her snowshoe hike from the [gotthard pass up to fibbia][bd-gotthard], a tour i’d been looking forward to very much[^1], especially as it is guided by [fredi kälin from bluedimensions][bd] (if you want to do really nice walks or snowshoe tours: **book fredi!**)

[bd-gotthard]: http://www.blue-dimension.ch/out/winter.shtml
[bd]: http://www.blue-dimension.ch/

instead of moapping around at home, however, i’ve planned a little mountain and lake tour myself — using only public transport i intend to go from **einsiedeln** via oberiberg to **ibergeregg pass**, have a coffee break there and enjoy the panorama, then on to the capital of our canton, **schwyz**. next stop is going to be **brunnen** where the plan is to switch to the steamship for **lucerne**. from lucerne it’s back by train via **arth-goldau** and biberbrugg to **einsiedeln** again.

[^1]: another mental note to self: __do__ put on walking boots when intending to take a walk around here! it’s __not__ the north german plane…