We love to go awandering…
The invitation was to a scenic train journey from Montreux to Saanenmöser and a walk down through the flowers to Gstaad for lunch. The instructions were clear “See you at Montreux gare, Thursday, 12 May”.
Optimistically, Andrew had declared “The weather forecast is not promising but I am carrying on regardless and dressing appropriately”. Based on my hill-walking experience, I loaded up my compass, torch, painkillers, emergency aluminium blanket, change of clothing, warm Icelandic fleece, wet weather jacket and telephone/GPS. Andrew arrived with only an open-necked shirt and a Panama hat. (I shudder to think how he dresses when he forecasts good weather.)
Meeting Andrew in a crowd is easy. One just looks up. He bundled Di and I onto the train to meet Rosy, Michael and Liz. Sandra and Nicolette would join us en-route if we could only remember the stations where they planned to board. With all of the group safely together, conversation ranged from the current state of the world, through politics, Covid (of course) to Di’s tribulations with her cat (a recurring theme throughout the day). Liz and I realised we were each Scots and so formed a Caledonian Society.
Arriving at Saanenmöser gare at 1,274 m., the mandatory group photograph (without captions to comply with GDPR) was taken and we started the easy stroll, beneath a warm sun and cloudless sky, through the fields to Schonreid. Here Liz decided that she preferred train travel to walking. To make the most of that, she left her handbag with all her keys, purse etc on the seat at Schonreid gare and took the train down to Gstaad. She then took the train back up to Schonreid, picked up her handbag and once more took the train down to Gstaad to be the only one of us in the restaurant at the time booked for lunch.
Meanwhile some of us were following the Gstaad slogan of “Come up, Slow down” more than others as we wandered down the valley through the delightful Swiss chocolate-box scenery. Andrew suggested that we reduce the chatter to have something to talk about over lunch. That lasted for all of 3 minutes. Instead, we became more spread out as we each continued to soak up the relaxing scenery and beautiful weather at our own pace. Sandra, a speedy one, decided that she would extend her walk by coming back up to see the others. She got as far as a bench where she and Rosy chatted while the rest caught up.
Eventually, we all arrived at the restaurant in Gstaad in time to see Andrew finish his first beer. A convivial lunch with good food, some drink and much laughter followed. The plan was that we would take the 14:35 train back to Montreux unless we wished to “linger over coffee and cake”. Nobody made the 14:35 train. Instead we all piled onto the 15:35, had a rather raucous journey downhill, apologised to the other passengers for the noise and parted company after a thoroughly enjoyable day making the most of Swiss scenery and BRA comradeship.