Friday, June 07, 2013

Switzerland - Interlaken

I was going to post one message at the end of my 9 days in Switzerland but I already have so many photos after just 3 days in the town of Interlaken. Switzerland is amazingly beautiful and horrendously expensive. I feel the need to rob a bank before going out to dinner.

Anyway I travelled on the very fast train from Paris to Basel last Sunday and perhaps will reconsider any thought of going 2nd class in France again. It was quite packed. On arriving in Basel and changing to Swiss trains, 2nd class is quite ok as the distances are small and there are always plenty of seats.

I caught up with the misty weather on arrival but the clouds lifted by evening and the weather has been glorious since.  However May has been wet and the snow cover on the mountains is still quite extensive so I had to change my hiking plans as many routes were still closed.

On Monday the hotel owner told me at breakfast that the mountain top was clear so I caught the mountain train to Lauterbrunnen (796 metres) and then the cable car to Grutschalp (1489 metres) so much more civilised than hiking in Italy.  I then walked rather than catch the tram to Murren (1645 metres)  which took about an hour and a half

and had coffee with the view.

Sadly when I reached the next cable car I was told that the mountain top was clouded over and as I would have had to pay 37 Swiss francs (Au$42), I decided against it and instead walked downhill to Gimmelwald (1420 metres)

where I had a steak sandwich again taking in the view.  As the path becomes very steep at that point I again took the cable car

 to the valley floor at Stechelberg and walked for about 20 minutes beside the river.  All the way there were large waterfalls tumbling down the sheer valley sides.

At the Trummelbach Falls I had to pay to enter and was taken by a lift inside the mountains to where the water tumbles down in a series of 10 falls inside caves carrying up to 20,000 litres of water per second.

As the sky had clouded over, it was quite cool and my feet were tired, I caught the bus back to Lauterbrunnen and after a hot chocolate, the train back to Interlaken.

Tuesday was another glorious day and I was assured the mountain tops were clear although there was a bank of cloud just above the town. So I returned to Lauterbrunnen but this time changed to another mountain train up to Wengen (1274 metres) and then the cable car to Mannlichen at 2227 metres. We burst through the clouds to be in bright sunshine with snow covered mountains in all directions.

I had to have another cup of coffee.

The cloud even cleared later and I could see back down into the valley.

I even tried to climb through the snow to the very top

 but stopped about 2/3rds of the way just above where paragliders were taking off.

I would have liked to walk to another mountain top but the route was closed so I went down the other side in a gondola

 to Holenstein (1529 metres)

 and spent over 2 hours walking down through farmlands with cows and bells

to the village of Grindelwald (1034 metres) where after a late lunch of apple strudel I caught the train back to Interlaken.

On Wednesday I had to travel to Lucerne but I broke my journey at Brienz and after leaving my luggage in a locker travelled by the steam rack railway.

 Even it has had to start later in the season and is only going half way but it provided a great view over Lake Brienz.

I have made a video of the 2 full days

1 comment:

Calamity Jane said...

Hi Brian, I was there a couple of years ago. Your photos brought back great memories for me. Enjoy the rest of your trip.