The Journey Home

OUR JOURNEY home, first by rail; from Wengen via Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken Ost and Spiez to Zurich Airport.

I see a Dipper fly up river where we’d seen them, nesting in a stone embankment wall, on our walk from Zweilütschinen to Lauterbrunnen on Saturday. The morning sun gives Lake Thun and its surroundings  the heightened colour and crispness of a travel brochure as our journey takes us parallel to its shore. We see Red Kites circling and the occasional Buzzard between each tunnel we dip into.

Zurich Airport

Our last Swiss Francs, (our very last, they let us off the small change!) are spent on two mugs of tea at the Marché self-service restaurant at Gate 43, Zurich Airport. You select your fresh vegetables (and they really do look fresh), and meat or fish if you wish, and they’re prepared for you as you wait. There’s stir-fry on one side and oriental soup, also prepared as you wait, on the other.

We’re going to have to come back with a larger supply of Swiss francs if we want to sample the results . . . unless Marché can be persuaded to open one or two of their restaurants in England.

I’m sketching as we go over Switzerland (adding the colour later) and over the fields of France but I’m disappointed to look down on featureless cloud as we approach the Channel.

At 2.30 pm this breaks up into a flock of fleecy clouds and as we reach the coast, then there’s a break, probably because there are no thermals of rising air over the sea.

Over the White Cliffs of Dover

I sketch quickly because I guess that my brief glimpse of the French shoreline might be recognisable from a map; to the east of the plane I see two coastal towns on a promontary then soon, after passing over open water with lanes of shipping, we come to a coast with white cliffs. Not being able to see the view to the west, I’m unable to tell whether this narrow strip of water is an inlet, such as the bay of Mount Saint Michel in Normandy, or the Channel itself.

Looking at the atlas when we get home, I can see that the two French seaside towns must be Wissant and the nearby towns of Audresselles and Ambleteuse so the chalk cliffs are, obviously, the white cliffs of Dover.

We pass over an inlet with salt-marshes, which must be the Thames estuary, then the fields of the Midlands which have a less regular pattern than those of  central France.

As we descend into the grey cloud and rain of Manchester, I realise that we’re crossing the Peak District. There’s no chance of spotting Langsett Reservoir, our regular Peak Park escape, but a small gap in the cloud reveals the three ‘Dambusters’ reservoirs of Howden, Derwent and Ladybower.

If this kind of weather continues, there shouldn’t be the slightest problem in keeping these three mighty reservoirs topped up!