After a leisurely start to our day, including a nice breakfast, we walked to the station and validated our First Class Swiss Rail Pass, which gives us unlimited travel on all Swiss trains for 8 days, and then caught the 11.02 train to Interlaken via Berne. The train had two decks and we were on the upper deck with seating configuration each in groups facing each other, with groups of 4 on one side of the aisle and two on the other. Each group had a small table and reclining seats and big windows. We have found that all of the trains we have been on are extremely quiet and smooth – no rocking and rolling like our Queensland trains and you can’t even tell when they start moving – very comfortable. The only thing that we were not happy about was that the windows were double glazed, which made it very difficult to take photos out the window without getting reflections. It took just under an hour to travel to Berne – an enjoyable trip with interesting scenery, but not spectacular.
We arrived in Berne, which is the capital of Switzerland, and with only 6 minutes to make the connection to the Interlaken train, we expected to have to make a run for it. So, we quickly manhandled our suitcases off the train to look for the exit and where we had to go. We were both surprised to discover that the train on the adjacent platform was our train and it was simply a matter of hopping off one and hopping straight on to the other!
Once again we sat on the top deck for our one hour journey to Interlaken Ost (East). A short time after we left Berne, we started to see snow on the ground and the scenery quickly changed to beautiful. After we passed through Thun, the train meandered along the banks of Thunersee (Lake Thun) for half an hour and now the scenery was spectacular, with snow on the mountains rising from the other side of the lake. At this point it also started snowing – WOW!!
We arrived in Interlaken Ost and were thrilled that it continued to snow as we walked to our Hotel, about a 10 minute careful walk from the station. It was interesting walking along, pulling our suitcases behind us through snow – in some places it was soft snow that had just fallen and in other places it was quite hard- packed snow, which was quite icey. We checked into our beautiful room at the Hotel Interlaken. Our suite is quite large, with a huge bed, a separate little lounge area and windows overlooking two churches and the alps with snow on them!!! We had lunch in the restaurant – Richard had a club sandwich and chips and Sandy had Rosti (fried potato) with ham, cheese and fried egg (see the photo gallery for a photo).
After lunch, we headed off to explore. Firstly, we had a look at the Hotel’s Japanese gardens, complete with little waterfall and pond. Then, we walked along the Aare River, which is the longest river in Switzerland, and continued along a little path beside the river to the Brienzersee (Lake Brienz). As can be seen by the name, Interlaken, this town is situated between two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Because it was still snowing, the lake was shrouded in mist – not good for taking photos – but we will endeavour to take some over the next few days. We came back to the Hotel via a laneway that ran through, what we think, were open fields, which were covered in snow. We came through the little town of Interlaken and made our way back to the hotel. We had been out for about three hours and were badly in need of a cuppa. Even although it had been snowing just about the whole time we were out, we were very pleased that our choices of jackets, shoes etc kept us dry and warm.
After indulging in a long shower in our bathroom that would be big enough to have a party, we sat in our lounge relaxing, before heading downstairs to the Taverne Restaurant in the Hotel for dinner. We had an unpronounceable German Swiss dish of veal in a creamy mushroom sauce with crispy potato rosti followed by a magnificent dessert, called Apfelstrachen, which was apple lightly fried in a very light sweet pastry, served with toffee sauce and cream – sehr gut (very good)!! It was on par with the sticky toffee pudding that we have had in England! Richard has discovered a nice local Swiss ale called Rugenbrau, which he had one or two of with his dinner.
Today has been a really enjoyable day……….. in the Snow in Switzerland!
Check out our Photo Gallery.