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  • Day36

    Free Day in Interlaken

    October 23, 2018 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    I can think of three things that Switzerland is famous for - watches, chocolates and army knives. On my free day in Interlaken I did not have to go very far to find all three. In fact the main street is populated with a whole series of shops selling Swiss watches. I decided to have a look in some of their windows in case I could grab a bargain.

    Even the very cheapest watch I could find was far too expensive for an Aussie battler like me. Some of them cost more than a luxury car. It was quickly evident that the main purchasers of these overpriced status symbols were the Chinese tourists. In shop after shop I could see whole clusters of cashed up Chinese, gathered at the counters and excitedly buying some of the most expensive watches on the planet.

    I continued down the main street and entered a likely looking chocolate shop. When I looked at the prices they were charging, I soon decided that I would have to forego any hankering I had for those lovely little indulgences as well. I didn't even bother going into the Swiss army knife shop as they had a display outside which indicated that their products weren't intended for cash strapped Australian tourists.

    In fact ever since we entered Switzerland about a week ago, Allan and I have been shocked at just how expensive everything is here. It is not just the watches, knives and chocolates that cost a king's ransom, it is literally everything. It is bad enough seeing the prices in Swiss Francs, but when you multiply by 1.5 times to convert to Australian dollars, it is enough to make you feel weak at the knees. Switzerland is certainly a lovely country, but if you want to spend some considerable time here, you had better have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

    I decided to spend my final rest day doing what I most enjoy - exploring and people watching. At least that wouldn't cost anything, and it was meant meant to be a free day, not an expensive day after all.

    At first I set out in the direction of the centre of Interlaken, but took a detour through some of the back streets, rather than follow the main street. Once again the weather was fine and sunny, but not as clear as we had enjoyed yesterday.

    I soon found myself in a large park area which had become the main landing area for the continuous procession o f hang gliders that were launching from one of the nearby mountainsides. As I got closer I could see that every glider actually had two people on it. It was obviously a very lucrative industry and virtually every single paying passenger was a young Chinese or Japanese female. I suppose I should not have been surprised that every hang glider was also equipped with a huge selfie stick to attach your camera to. I am not kidding.

    When each paying passenger landed, the routine was the same - do a "high five" with the pilot, take off the harness, then retrieve the camera. And how much was each passenger paying for about 10 minutes of flight time ? The cost that most companies were charging was about 180 Francs per flight (about $270 AUD). I wondered how many flights they could fit in each day and did some quick mental calculations. It is little wonder that there were so many in the air at the same time, it was like a license to print money.

    Later in the day I met up with Allan and we walked about some of the older part of town. We happened to stumble upon some sort of cattle judging event in the old city square. Allan commented on how large the cows were. I commented on how much manure each one could produce. There will certainly be some serious cleaning up required before the square will be ready for public use again.

    The sun continued to shine strongly as we slowly continued our walk. I decided to check the GPS to see how far I had walked during the day. The answer was almost 12km. I have lost track of the cumulative distance I have walked over the past 6 weeks,but I suspect that I could probably have walked half way to Europe from Australia by now.

    In the evening we went for dinner at a lovely little kiosk near the station. The food was delicious and reasonably priced, so we couldn't understand why there were so few people there. When I was curious about the unusual accent that the young waitress had, she explained that she had moved to Switzerland from Prague. She also told us that the weather was about to deteriorate in a few day's time and that rain and snow was predicted. This was another reminder of just how lucky we have been with our timing.

    Tomorrow we say goodbye to Interlaken and take a series of trains to Zermatt. This town is most famous for being near to what is perhaps Switzerland's most famous mountain - the Matterhorn.
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  • Day34

    Riding The Interlaken Express

    October 21, 2018 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    There is no doubt that Lucerne is a beautiful city. With its unique combination of lakeside location, medieval buildings and modern facilities, it is a place that I would have loved to have spent a little longer in. I only wish that we had not arrived right in the middle of the Lucerne carnival.

    Not far from our hotel the town had been taken over by a huge carnival, complete with a long line of fun rides, amusement booths, food stalls and much more. It was obviously the time for serious partying in Lucerne. While this might have been OK for most people, my hotel room unfortunately faced the street. On the first evening I was there, the noise outside did not quieten until almost 5 am. The entire night was spent with riotous shouting from drunken young people wandering up and down the street. I tried shutting the window, but then suffered from a hot and stuffy room.

    The next night was even worse. The noise kept up until sunrise the following morning. After two completely unsettled nights, I was really ready to say farewell to Lucerne and move to somewhere much quieter. If I was to ever return to Lucerne, I would make sure I booked a hotel that was in a much quieter location.

    After bidding a final farewell to the Waldstatterhof Hotel, Allan and I were soon seated in the first class carriage of the Interlaken Express and happily rolling through the greenest hills I had ever seen in my life. This was the classic Swiss scenery we had come so far to experience.

    We had not gone very far before we heard the sound of a distinctive Australian accent. It was coming from two women who were seated across the aisle from us. We have not come across very many fellow Australians on this trip, so it was fun to finally come across people who spoke the same language.

    Our two new friends then passed us a note that they had found on their seat. It was from the Swiss Railway company and explained how sorry they were that the train would not be going to Interlaken after all. Due to construction works we were all going to be offloaded to buses at Brienz. In the overall scheme of things we thought that it was only a minor inconvenience, considering how well all our other arrangements had gone.

    Our bus pulled into Interlaken shortly after 1 pm and we checked into the very comfortable (and very Swiss) Carlton Europe Hotel. Since it was still relatively early in the day, and since the weather was still fine and mild, we decided to take the opportunity to ride the funicular railway to Harder Kulm. This famous lookout is situated about 800 metres vertically higher than Interlaken and gives an amazing panorama of views out over the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau Mountains.

    Although it was not so pleasant being shoehorned into the sloping carriage with about 100 very excited Indian tourists who shouted the whole way to the top, the views from the lookout were sensational. We climbed a little higher on a side path to escape the masses and enjoy some genuine peace and quiet.

    As we watched the cloud formations form and disperse over the nearby peaks, we both agreed that it really was a magical day and one that we will never forget. Allan and I have shared some great adventures together in the past and this one will also be added to our fondest memories.

    After returning back down to Interlaken we were entertained by a Swiss music group playing in front of our hotel. The combination of the surrounding snow capped mountains and the Swiss yodelling was a perfect way to end a wonderful day. Soon the music was augmented by the prolonged pealing of the nearby church bells. This is a regular feature of life in most parts of Europe, but something that those who have only lived in Australia could not understand.

    Tomorrow we take the train to the famous Jungfraujoch - the highest train station in Europe. At 3500 metres above sea level it will be even higher than our visit to Mt Titlis two days earlier. We both hope that the sequence of fine weather can hold out just a little while longer.
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  • Day20

    Interlaken, Switzerland

    October 19, 2018 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    Des Alpes Restaurant. As we get higher into the mountains it makes me feel like winter will soon be here. So I was thinking about the leaves at home. Are they falling yet? How cold is it getting? The weather has been so nice here that I didn't need a coat today even as high as we were. But of course we can see that people are getting ready for winter. Flower beds are being taken out and outside furniture covered. We have seen at hotels and restaurants that they have put sheepskin blankets on and racks of heavy coats out so customers can still sit outside in the cold. But so far the weather has been great. We keep hearing [ unseasonably warm and best
    ever. ]...
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  • Day52

    Day 52 - Gstaad to Interlaken, 50 miles

    June 6, 2016 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Wow what a ride through some of the most breathtaking scenery I've ever seen.

    Starting out if Gstaad it was the biggest climb of the day but incredible views back down over Gstaad and to the mountains beyond. Once over the climb it was mostly downhill through picture postcard villages with mountains either side to the town of Spiez on the shores of Lake Thun. 30 miles of simply the most stunning riding you will ever come across.

    From Spiez it was an easy 20 miles hugging the shore line of Lake Thun round to the town of Interlaken inbetween lakes Thun and Brienz. Inbetween lakes and with mountains either side it was a pretty dramatic place to stay. Very popular with tourists especially Koreans who have seemed to have made it a home from home and adrenaline junkies of the flying kind including paragliders and skydivers. Evening came and found a good 'bier house' in town with a couple of young American backpackers and a couple of beers was a great way to finish off a great day.
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  • Day19

    Interlaken. A destination, a beginning

    May 7, 2017 in Switzerland ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Interlaken is a big country tourist town. There are plenty of shops restaurants and hotels to keep you fed and comfy. It was raining heaps so we rested up here. Interlaken is also the beginning for ventures in the Jungfrau region. And that's where we are heading next...

    We settled here for a few days after the long commute from Provence. Weather was average, waiting for it to break so we can head up the slopes. Rode up Harden Klum for a great view and a cheap lunch. Successfully shopped for shoes and gifts.
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  • Day2

    Samstag 8.30 : Stunde(n) der Wahrheit

    September 7, 2019 in Switzerland ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    Wie „gewohnt“ fahren wir am Samstag Morgen um 7:19 Uhr ab Bhf. Grindelwald hinab auf Interlaken. Kurz vor 8Uhr ist Ankunft am Bhf. Interlaken Ost. Verbleiben ca. 35min um zum Startplatz zu laufen, sich umzuziehen und das Gepäck auf den Transportwagen zu versorgen. Fast schon Routine ;-)Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Interlaken, إنترلاكن, Ίντερλακεν, Entrelagos, اینترلاکن, אינטרלאקן, ZIN, インターラーケン, Интерлакен, 인터라켄, Interlacus, 3800, இண்டர்லகேன், Інтерлакен, 因特拉肯

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