The Gerrard Chronicles 2001

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Traveller's Tales


Freddie & Jason in the 'Santa Special'

Early in December, we stayed with Jason & the boys in a flat in Swanage to babysit while he acted in Poole. The weather was diabolical, although the waves did not quite reach our 50 foot high flat. The River Frome, normally a little ditch was at least a mile wide below Dorchester. The high point was a trip on the 'Santa Special' steam train to Corfe - inevitably in the rain.

The family in Swanage


Conditions were very good & only prevented from being splendid by the closure of Tiefbach, Zermatt's 'hardest run inthe Alps'. (It's not even the hardest run in Zermatt, Mamatt is & Ken crept cautiously down it). Mostly wonderful snow & Avis now bombing down black pistes such as the National race track, if not the so-called 'routes'. She was helped by instruction from Michey. She & Alan were in a chalet on a cheapo deal, as they wanted another holiday. They were very patient with us cautious old buffers. Ken did Stockhorn for the first time. Very 'interesting'. We stayed in the Schweizerhof, much posher than our usual pad but seriously comfy with (mostly) good food & close to the lifts. Alan's photo left was taken at Testa Grigia after our trip into Italy.

Avis, Ken & Michey at Testa Grigia ©Alan Molloy.

Ken on the Riffelalp


Avis & that hill again.


On May 11th, it was really hot for once. The Genevieve Hotel was run by a Frenchman, Monsieur Alain. It was £22.50 B & B pp, which Avis thought was cheap but not by Continental standards & about par for Brighton. We went to the Komedia to see Pez En Reya from Barcelona in ‘Cover Yourself’ a commedia dell’arte style comedy act with a murder theme. This was hugely enjoyable & very funny & energetic. Next day, there was a pre-concert talk at the Theatre Royal. This also had some slides of Antarctica, as well as not-very-helpful comment (for the music, that is) from the Antarctic Survey scientist & Peter Maxwell-Davies. His Antarctic Symphony, for which we had come, went well enough & was attractive but, even at 40 minutes, I did not think it was as rigorous as some of his earlier ones, not as much as Ken's ‘Sea & Mountains’ with which it had similarities.


On May 19th, we flew Go to Naples for a week in the plush Hotel Ambasciatori in Sorrento (left). We had both been before in previous lives. This time, we escaped the miserable British weather for warmth but little Sun. We made a trip to Herculaneum by train (which ran on time), a very impressive town, as many wall paintings and mosaics were preserved by the mud and also woodwork. It is possible to get a better idea of how the Romans lived here than in Pompeii. We took the boat to Ischia, where Avis had souced a series of paintings from her trip before & more recently, prints. Less frantic & touristy than Capri, it has a most impressive castle offshore, more a town, that we explored. It had given the islanders refuge from pirates in the past. Then, by train again to the Naples Museum to see some of the other stuff retrieved from the AD69 eruption. We explored the city a little, then took the super-efficient Italian boat back. In between, we explored the town & lazed by the pool. This was just before the Election (it was meant to be after but the Boss moved it) & the hotel had many agreeable Tory-but-not-this-time types.

Hotel Ambasciatore from its garden


Herculanium - the Neptune Mosaic

Ischia from the castle

Ischia Castle


As Ken's 2000 trip was curtailed, he carried on with it this year in June. Starting the walk at Brüsti above Attinghausen, he found the Surenen Pass practicable this year but was fully equipped for if it had not been. Surprise! He met Dan Hesson on top of the pass, an e-mail correspondent whom Ken had put off the Monte Rosa Tour at this time. They met up later that day in Engelberg for dinner, with two girls Dan had rescued from lack of a compass! Next day, Ken took the lifts to the top of the Joch Pass & went down to Meiringen by a different & more tiring higher-level route. This alternative is on this link. So, he had a rest day before tackling the Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald, 1300m of 'up' & 900m down. The new path avoids the road & is quite delightful, more fully described & illustrated on this link.. Then, he took the obvious route to Wengen, meeting many elderly Brits on the way, rather than the obscure one used on the original Cross-Swiss Tour. By taking the train to Kleine Scheidegg, he had time to walk almost back to Grindelwald. He walked out to Interlaken from Zweilütschinen & stayed the night in lovely Luzern on the way home, visiting Triebschen again.

Ken on the Surenen Pass photo Dan Hesson

This is part of an alternative section of Ken's Cross Swiss Walk.


This is on another alternative section of Ken's Cross Swiss Walk.


On a 'Guardian' deal, we stayed 4 nights at La Villette via Eurostar. We tore around the town, visiting the City Modern Art Musuem & Pompidolium on Sunday. Monday was spent in Montmartre, which we walked all over, the Louvre, more for Ken, as Avis is not keen on 'old' paintings & the Left Bank, where we had dinner with two Korean girls. The Tuesday morning was a bit of a flop, as the Musée d'Orsay refused us entrance (bag too big!). Food was highly variable in quality, the Alsacien on Saturday, great, French on Sunday, poor, French on Monday, great, Tuesday, terrible!

Avis in the Arch de Triomphe

Place Tartre in Montmartre

Us & the Koreans


...or it would have been, if the weather had been better. We flew to Munich (by Go at £50 return each!) on September 11th, hired a car and drove to Kochel for lunch & the Franz Marc Museum, which had more of his work than we expected. Arriving in Füssen, one of Germany's most charming towns, we booked into the Hotel Hirsch for 2 nights, to be told of the attacks on the USA. This glued us to CNN for a couple of hours. We explored Loopy Ludwig's folly of Neuschwanstein & his grand-father's Hohenschwangau, then went into Austria, visiting Nassereith, the Mieminger Plateau & going up the Stübaital to show Avis an area Ken has explored & talked much of. We took a gondola up to have lunch in the Dresdner Hut before going round the Wipptal, back via charming Igls before a night at Zell am Ziller (Hotel Englhof). The rains really began the next day. We checked Mayrhofen & found it attractive. Then, over the Gerlos Pass, we saw the Krimml Falls, the best in Europe & visited Webern's grave, Ken's musical 'grandfather', both through heavy rain. (The art deco gravestone is off having Maria's name carved on it). After popping in to Saalbach to show Avis next winter's ski village, we slept at Kitzbuhel in our old haunt, the Schweizerhof. The next day, we saw a peasant festival at Schwendt on the way to Herrenchiemsee back in Germany, Loopy's last, biggest & whackiest palace, a throwback to Versailles, with all the trappings of Louis XIV's absolutism denied that constitutional monarch. We spent that night at Sachrang, almost back in Austria (Sachrangerhof £18 b&b each & all mod cons!) & where, the next morning, we saw a church procession for the harvest with everyone in Tracht, complete with banners, muskets & swords in the teeming rain. We made our way to Mürnau, Gabriele Munter's town. At the Schlossmuseum, we had the luck to see a special show of her prints, as well as the normal paintings. There were more in her house, including interiors in context. The last two nights were spent in uncharming Garmisch, where we saw the Richard Strauss House & Institute, popping back to Füssen for Avis to buy more good, inexpensive clothes. A full report of the trip is on the web. Hit this link.


Left: Ken at Webern's grave in Mittersill
Right: Kitzbuhel in the summer

Murnau - Gabriele Munter's 'Russian' house


The Franz Marc Museum at Kochel

Avis in Füssen in Tracht

Neuschwanstein photo Fotoverlag Huber

Sachrangers in Tracht for the Bauernherbst

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Contact: Ken Baldry or Avis Saltsman, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him or her This page's URL:
Last revised 1/12/2001 Copyright: ©Art & Science Ltd 2001 All rights reserved but print it off if you want to.