Andermatt Part 2
If you remember from my last post, I gave a little history of Andermatt, and explained that the high point was in the 1800’s. This was due to being at the head of the Gotthard pass; which is one of two North/South routes through the Alps. Well, the pass itself is relatively easy to cross, but getting to the pass from Zurich or Luzern was an undertaking. The Ruess river flows down from Andermatt, and through the centuries it had carved out some very challenging gorges that had to be crossed. One of the most challenging is at the site of the Devil’s Bridge. The original bridge was made with wood and it was built sometime in the 13th Century. The wooden bridge stood for around 200 years. It was replaced with a stone bridge in 1585. Here is the story. (I blatantly plagiarized from https://www.andermatt.ch/en/attractions/devils-bridge-4cd31bc3e9)
The legend of the Devil’s Bridge (Teufelsbrücke)
The narrow rock bar above Göschenen had always blocked access to the Gotthard and thus the transition to the South as it proved to be extremely difficult to build a bridge there.
The legend, which tells of the futile efforts of the people of Uri to build a mule track through the narrow Schöllenen Gorge and a stone bridge at the point where the young Reuss river pushes through vertical rock walls, shows how difficult the situation was. In his despair, the “Landammann” shouted: “Shall the Devil build a bridge”. Then the Devil appeared and said, “I will build a bridge for you. But the first soul to go over it shall be mine”.
The people of Uri agreed to the trade and after three days a bridge arched over the Reuss. On the other side the Devil sat and waited for his reward. Instead of a human, however, the people of Uri sent a billy goat over. “You may keep it” they shouted, “here you have the first soul that crosses the bridge!”.
Full of anger the Devil tore the billy goat apart and found a huge stone to destroy the bridge again. However an elderly women passed by, recognized him and carved a cross into the stone. When the Devil saw this he missed his target and the stone landed in the valley below, not far from Göschenen where it has been lying ever since. For the construction of the motorway the “Devil’s Stone”, as it is called, was simply moved to a new location.
Another note about the picture. What looks like a cave or tunnel at the bottom of the picture, is actually an ice flow, that has been hollowed out by the rushing water. I really want to come back here in the summer and hike to the bridge, and see the rock. It would be an absolutely gorgeous hike from the town.
One of the towns near Andermatt is Realp. The town was featured for a few minutes in the movie Goldfinger. Julie and I went snow showing and then hiking on the road the movie was filmed. Julie was a little freaked out, because the guardrails have been removed, and and the little stone towers seen in the video above, really wouldn’t keep anyone from going over the edge. Julie makes it seem like it was a sheer cliff, and yes in parts of the trail it was, but for the most part it was just a really steep hill. Deadly in a car, but walking, if you went over the edge, you might slide down 20 feet or so, but it was not deadly. :).
There were three Bond movies filmed partially in Switzerland. They were: “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “Goldfinger”, and “Goldeneye”. Another piece of Bond Trivia; the first Bond Girl was Swiss. Ursula Andress was from Ostermundingen.
I made one video while we were in the mountains. You have to excuse the last part of the video, though, On our hike in Realp, I forgot my GoPro, so I just used my iphone.
Not much else to talk about today. Julie’s office is forcing everyone to stay away for another week right now. She has kicked me out of my office; so I am typing at the kitchen table. It is not as comfortable. Her office decided to close for this week, because they figured everyone would be getting together with family and friends over Christmas, so this way it forced a pseudo quarantine, before everyone got back together to work on year end stuff.
Here are the rest of the pictures from Andermatt. I hope you enjoy them. Talk to you soon.