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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.