Wintereggs discover Switzerland's beauty in every direction
It was over a year ago when Joan Winteregg, wife of the late LaMar Winteregg, made a suggestion to her family that she would like to visit Switzerland sometime, preferably over Christmas.
It didn't take her sons, Jon and Greg long to pick up on the idea. Last fall, family members were talking about where they would like to spend Christmas, 2011.
With a smile on his face, Jon announced, "mom and I are going to celebrate Christmas in Switzerland, does anyone want to come along?"
"The response was more than I dreamed," said Jon, whose father and uncle, Doyle Winteregg, co-owned Poplar Restaurant in Berne for many years from 1955 to 1976.
Joan was going to get her wish, and she was going to be accompanied by both sons, Jon and Greg. Greg was escorted by his daughter, Abbey and Jon traveled with his wife, Cindy (Timmons), and their daughters, Stefany and Stacia.
After landing in Zurich on the morning of Dec. 20, the family cleared customs and made their way to Bahnhof (train station) located in the airport. The route to their final destination of Interlaken took them through Luzern, known for its beautiful alpine panorama, wooden bridges, museums and such visitors as Mark Twain and Queen Victoria.
"Trains in Switzerland contained a panoramic seating car with large windows that extended into the roof which allowed us to experience an expanded view of the beautiful Swiss countryside," said Greg. "We had a memorable journey on the famous Golden Pass. For two hours we witnessed one of the most beautiful country sides in the world as we road through beautiful meadows, sleepy farm towns aside flowing mountain streams and stunning views of the snow-covered Swiss Alps."
At Hotel Rossli, in a region of Switzerland known as Berne Oberland, the Wintereggs experienced a down home breakfast, Swiss style, composed of soft boiled eggs (a popular favorite), ham, croissants, yogurt, muesli and locally made cheese.
"The next day it was off to visit Winteregg," said Jon. "We traveled 25 minutes by train to the valley village of Lauterbrunnen where we rode a cable car up the mountain to Grutschalp. There we caught a mountain train that took us to Winteregg. The journey there was beautiful. Fifteen inches of newly-fallen snow had laden the tall pine trees, covered the rooftops and caused a beautiful clean white blanket to cover the ground.
"Winteregg itself consists of a train stop, ski lift, ski slope, and the well-known Winteregg Restaurant," continued Winteregg. "Many small villages ending in 'egg' can be found dotting the map of Switzerland. The suffix, 'egg,' means 'slope or trail.' Winteregg is known as a ski slope at the higher elevation and also as a popular hiking area at a lower elevation."
When the Wintereggs showed their passports at the Winteregg Restaurant, they were immediate celebrities because of their names. The chef visited with them and then returned to the kitchen to prepare them an order of Wintereggoschti and a Wintereggburger. Winteregg-style consists of adding cheese and an over-easy egg to the entree. The ever-popular Rischti (known to many in the Berne area as well) consisted of fried potatoes and onions.
"The following day, by family vote, was the best day of the trip," noted Greg. "We took two trains and a cable car through Winteregg on our way to the Schilthorn Peak. It would take three more cable cars beyond Winteregg before we reached the summit (9,748).
"It was a perfectly clear day to see the Alps," continued Winteregg. "Once atop the Schilthorn, the view included the notorious peaks of Eiger Monch and the Jungfrau. The 360 degree panorama provided majestic, indescribably beautiful views allowing us to see all the way to France and Germany."
It was on top of Schilthorn where the family experienced one of the most heart-felt moments of the trip. There, they joined together for a family "toast" to LaMar, who had always wanted to make the trip to his heritage land. However, that opportunity was cut off when he passed away of a heart attack in 1999.
In Bern, the family experienced the spirit of Christmas Eve in two open-air Christmas markets where local craftsmen had booths set up to sell their merchandise. During that time, they strolled to Zytglogge, Bern's famous 800-year-old landmark that has inspired the local Berne tower clock. Back at Interlaken, Joan purchased a Swiss watch at a local dealership known as, Kirchofer's.
"Christmas day was spent skiing in Winteregg," explained Jon. "The ski area serviced by the Winteregg lift has four main ski slopes that are perfect for the beginner or average skier. Joan stayed in the Winteregg Restaurant and made sure there was plenty of hot chocolate and cheese ready for us when we took breaks to come inside and warm up."
Following a day visiting the region where the Winteregg ancestors originally came from (Heilgenschwendi), the families separated for the return to America, with Greg and Abby returning to Florida to celebrate Christmas with the rest of their family, Sandra, Vince and Neil while Joan and Jon's family continued on to visit Italy and Germany.
"It was fun to see local names on street signs and buildings such as Kirchofer, von Guten, Moser and Stucky," Jon said. "It truly felt like home. Pictures can't do justice to how beautiful Switzerland really is. The country is beautiful everywhere, not just one region. It is one photo opportunity after another."
You need to be logged in to post comments on this article.