DAY 92: INTERLAKEN – A TOWN BETWEEN TWO LAKES


A Golden Pass through central Switzerland…

We left Lucerne this morning, sad to be leaving such a lovely location, but keen to be on our way to Interlaken to see even more of this amazing country. We had been told today’s train journey would be quite spectacular and scenic, so with bags packed and cameras and eyeballs ready, we eagerly set out this morning. We were not disappointed – not at all.

 

A small sample of the spectacular scenery we enjoyed from the comfort of our panoramic train.

 

Our journey today took us through what is called “The Golden Pass” (“Golden Round Trip” yesterday, “Golden Pass” today… there seem to be lots of golden things in Switzerland – they look more blue to me, but I guess “golden” sells more tickets). The Golden Pass is a train journey that cuts through the middle of central Switzerland – through mountain passes, past the bluest lakes we’ve ever seen and across lush green valleys of grass so soft and fluffy we just wanted to roll around in it (Note: Just need to avoid the cow pats if you’re going to do that). It was 2 hours of “oohs” and “aaahs”, made all the better by our “panoramic” train which had a glass ceiling as well as big windows. Totally awesome.


The Golden Pass cuts through central Switzerland from Lucerne (Luzern) to Interlaken and then onto Zweisimmen and Montreux. We just did the first bit today, the rest we’re doing next week.

 

Shane was very excited about going through The Golden Pass today. VERY excited.

 

We passed a number of crystal clear blue lakes, like this one: Lake Sarnen.

 

Our trip also took us past green fields of soft, fluffy grass…

 

…and alongside rivers and lakes that left us speechless with wonder.

 

At one point we crested over a mountain and this valley lay spread in front of us.

 

And then this was just around the corner. Seriously – does it get any better?!

 

By the time we reached Interlaken we were just about “awesomed” out, but then we saw the River Aar and Lake Breinz and decided we really needed to fit just a little bit more awesome in. 

 

Coming around the bend towards Interlaken on the train we saw Lake Brienz laid out in front of us and decided we needed MORE of this kind of “AWESOME”!

 

Interlaken sits on a small isthmus between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, alongside the Aar River which flows between the two lakes. The town is tiny (population arund 5,500) and is really just a farming town that also caters to tourists (like us) keen to use it as a base to access the mountains and lakes around Interlaken (like we are). We’re staying at a camping ground/caravan park (yes, that’s right, a camping ground), because there was no other accommodation within our price range available. It’s OK – we’ve got one of their cabins and it’s clean if a little basic. The best bit (apart from the price – have I mentioned how EXPENSIVE Switzerland is?!), is the location – our cabin is right on the river. It’s so cool!

 

Our cabin at “River Lodge” camping ground and caravan park (if you look carefully you can see me waving from our bedroom window).

 

Our cabin is literally on the river front – aaahhh the River Aar….

 

The town of Interlaken itself is rather uninspiring and tiny but we’re not here for the town – we’re here for the sheer raw beauty of the Nature! To satisfy our desire for Nature we spent most of our afternoon cruising Lake Brienz. 

 

Cruising Lake Brienz.

 

Lake Brienz is a glacial meltwater lake here at the base of the Swiss Alps. It is 14km long, 2.8km wide and about 260m deep; it is also an amazing turquoise colour (the colour is due to all the rock flour* in the water). There are hiking paths all around the lake and boats cruise its length all day, so it’s easy enough to walk along the lake until you’ve had enough, then just cruise back to Interlaken. There is also a train line that links all the villages along the lake’s North shore so if you’re really lazy (like we were today), you can cruise up the lake and then just train it back.

*Rock flour, or glacial flour, is actually tiny pieces of rock (usually quartz), ground up by glaciers over centuries and deposited into rivers and lakes as the glacier melts. The rock particles are so small they stay suspended in the water rather than precipitating to the bottom. It’s these suspended particles that cause the refraction of light that gives glacial lakes and rivers there amazing blue colour.
 
The village of Isletwald, Lake Brienz.

 
 

The Grand Hotel Giessbach, Lake Brienz. The boat stopped there to let some passengers off. the hotel was built in 1873 as a summer retreat for the rich and famous (which it still is).

 

Castle Iseltwald is now a rehabilitation centre for the rich and famous (also only accessible from the lake – no passengers were dropped off there today however).

 
The view of the mountains around Interlaken from the lake was stunning – the mountains here are so huge (>3000m up) that we were having trouble comprehending the sheer scale of what we were seeing. Switzerland is very good at making you feel very small. 
 
Switzerland – very good at making you feel very small.

 
 

Mountains. BIG mountains. LOTS of big mountains.
 
Blissing out after an afternoon of cruising Lake Brienz.
 
There just aren’t words to describe how amazing the sights were today – suffice to say we were impressed and awed. Can’t wait for tomorrow – tomorrow we’re going up an even bigger mountain: The Jungfrau!
 
Looking forward to more of this tomorrow!

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