I was pretty sure funiculars only existed in fanciful Victorian children's books; along with other mythical words such as 'zither' and 'perambulate.' But now I stand corrected. Funiculars are real, and in Switzerland the are a for-real way to get from the bottom of a hill to the top.
A few weekends ago, we decided to investigate this strange sounding contraption. There are two funiculars very close to us; one in Montreaux that is of the fancy Golden Pass variety and the other, a much more humble model in Vevey. After realizing that the Montreaux specimen was over a hundred francs (outrage) we chose the latter.
Introduction to method of travel: A funicular is like the world's slowest roller coaster only without the safety harnesses. See that cable in the above photo? That and the promise that the other funicular is still attached and balancing the weight are all that stands between you and quite literally plummeting to your death.*
Moment of truth, if you do not see the car coming up the other side, it's time to start reflecting on your life. Because it's over.
Once we arrived at our destination however, I promptly shut my mouth and took in the view. Since it was lunchtime and there happened to be a restaurant right there, we decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and have some traditional post-funicular fare.
Which, in case you are wondering, includes such waistline-friendly items as Assorted Meats and Pot o' Melted Cheese. And bread. And wooden menus that looked like shutters (not food, but still cool).
Switzerland, home of the whomping willows.
On the way back, we hopped off the train a few stops early and decided to walk home.
There are a number of winding pedestrian paths through the vineyards. During this trek, one must come to terms with one's level of athletic ability. Are you an over-achieving sporty type that prefers to run gazelle-like through the grapes? Or are you a sloth-ier human who must bumble along quietly recounting your delicious lunch of melted cheese and bread?
I am the latter.
There are a number of itty-bitty vineyard towns scattered throughout this area. I get the feeling that these will be great places to visit during grape harvesting time. I plan on bringing a thermos and filling it up with wine for the walk home. Filing this now under Greatest Idea Ever. Will report back in the fall.
There was a progressive dinner going on in the Lizard community. Lots of these little guys hanging out, getting some sun and trading stuffed mushroom recipes. I tried to make small talk with the individual in the above photo and he, honestly, was not that impressed. It was like middle school all over again.
* Not an engineer. This assessment of the mechanics of funiculars is brought to you by nothing other than my own personal brand of neurosis. I will say though that if there is one think on this earth that I do believe in, it is Swiss engineering.