10 to 12 November
This morning I went into work, while Jer volunteered to grade tests for work at a school down the street.
After about 5 hours of grading tests Jer headed back home to finish up our packing and we met at Gare de Lyon for our 6:30pm train to Bern, Switzerland. Today we are headed to Interlaken, Switzerland but there are no direct trains from Paris so we have to catch a Swiss regional train from Bern.
The reason we are headed, yet again, to Switzerland is because the partners are coming from the US next week and Interlaken (and the surrounding mountains) has always been on our list.
After some delays on our train from Paris, and about 5 hours later, we arrived in Bern. Because of the delays we had missed the train we wanted to catch from there to Interlaken, but luckily there was another train in about 30 mins so just after midnight we were on our way to Interlaken. After about an hour we arrived in Interlaken and a short walk later we were at our hotel, Hotel Toscana.
One of the reasons we wanted to go to Interlaken is because the town is right in the center of the Alps and by train it is very easy to access some of the tallest peaks in all of Switzerland. Unfortunately the weather was not great so our plans to go to the peaks today needed to change a little.
Our first stop today was the office of tourism to see if they had any suggestions. We had read about a few fun towns up the valley so even though it was raining/snowing (at least at higher elevations) we headed out on the train to see what we could find.
We took the train first to Lauterbrunnen where we then boarded a gondola lift to make our way up to a plateau just above the valley.
Once off the gondola we boarded an old school train and made our way into the town of Murren.
We spent some time walking around the cool little town trying to find a place for lunch while enjoying the views and fresh snow.
We ended up settlling on Restaurant StagerStubli where we had some beers, goulash and the most wonderful hash browns, or Rösti, with melted cheese on top!!
After lunch we walked to the other end of town so that we could head back down from the plateau a different way than we came up, in order to see a few new towns. We took another gondola lift part of the way down, to the small town of Gimmelwald, where we walked around a little, then another gondola lift all the way down into the valley again to Stechelberg where we could catch a bus back to the original train station in Lauterbrunnen.
On the way back to Interlaken, the weather in the valleys was looking like it was starting to clear a little so we decided to go up to Harder Kulm which is a viewpoint straight up the mountain directly above Interlaken. The viewpoint allows you to see out over the entire town and both lakes (and in good weather into the highest parts of the Alps).
After arriving back at the train station in Interlaken we made the quick walk to the base of the mountain across the river to head up to Harder Kulm. A 15 minute funicular ride later and we were up at the top looking out over everything. Unfortunately as usually in the mountains the weather moves in quickly and within a few short minutes the wind picked up and it started raining pretty hard so we took a few quick pictures and headed inside for some beers.
After a nice cold refreshing beer we headed back down in search of a place for dinner. Before dinner though we stopped at Husi Bierhaus to try a few local beers. We liked one of the beers we tried, and its glass, so much that we ended up across the street buying them after we were done.
We had done some good research on dinner spots while we were having drinks, but we were still having trouble finding a place. We went to a couple of different places for dinner, but since it is kind of their off time (between summer and ski season), it was hard to find a place open that had a seat. We really wanted fondue as well, so being so specific didn’t help in finding a spot either. We ended up at Hotel Zum Goldenen Anker, who we read had decent fondue. They were also pretty booked, however they had a back bar area which they said we could sit at if we wanted. At this point we said we just needed some dinner and it had started raining again so we said why not. We even got to play some pool being in the back.
Because of the weather being the way it was today, and the trouble we had finding dinner we ended up being back to the hotel pretty early, around 9:30pm. We utilized some of the extra time we had to try to figure out what we could do tomorrow, weather dependent again of course.
We woke up a few times this morning checking the weather and the local webcams that we had found in our research last night. The weather didn’t look great again this morning, but it was much better than yesterday and was getting better as the day went on.
After debating what to do over breakfast, and after checking the live cams (we got very good at this) at the top of the one mountain, we made the decision to try to head up and hope for the best because the views looked amazing. So we gathered our stuff, checked out of the hotel, and walked to the train station where we could use the lockers to leave our luggage as we both had trains to catch from there later this afternoon.
We made our way by train again to Lauterbrunnen where this time we picked up the bus to Stechelberg. Once we arrived there we needed to catch 4 (Gimmelwald, Murren, Birg, Schilthorn) different gondola lifts to get up to Schilthorn which we had set as our hopeful final destination.
Schilthorn is almost 3,000m high at its peak with a James Bond museum on one of the floors because Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed on site in the 60’s.
There is also a revolving restaurant on site, which we ended up having a special Sunday buffet lunch at since we needed to have lunch before getting on the train. The weather wasn’t perfect up there, but it was really cool to be up that high and look out over the vastness of peaks deep into the Alps.
After enjoying brunch and making a few purchases we made our way back down so that Jer could make his train home and I could make my way to Zug for work. We had worked on our timing pretty good to make sure we caught all the buses/trains in the proper time to get back to Interlaken. Unfortunately one of our gondola lifts got stuck after it left the station. This was already after we missed the first one that we wanted to catch because we couldn’t figure out how to make it downstairs properly to where it boarded.
By the grace of God we made it back to Interlaken, and the train station, and picked up our luggage from the lockers with 4 mins to spare for Jer’s train. My train was just a few minutes later and I was on my way to Zug. Unfortunately for me I had some construction issues on my line and was on and off buses for a good portion of my trip. Jer made his way to Basel via regional trains to catch his TGV train home from Basel. Luckily after our travel issues earlier coming down off the mountain we both had very little issue the rest of the day and I was in Zug by 6pm while Jer was back at the apartment around 10:30pm