A September 2000 trip
to Interlaken by Linda Kaye
Quote: Sitting at the base of the Jungfrau and squarely between two massive lakes is the quaint German-style town of Interlaken, Switzerland. What make this place so special? The people? The mountain views? The wonderful food? The beautiful parks? ALL OF THE ABOVE !
Interlaken is located in the heart of Switzerland where the majority of people speak German. Alpine-style buildings line the main street along with colorful gardens. Everywhere we looked were people sitting at outdoor cafes leisurely enjoying the day.
We reached this quaint wonderland by train from Zurich and it was our “home base” for the next three days. It’s slower pace of life was much to our liking. We had to pinch ourselves to see if we really were there and just when we thought it couldn’t get any better---it did.
Be flexible. We arrived from Zurich a day sooner then we expected and were unable to contact our Bed & Breakfast to see if they could accommodate us early. Needing to adapt to this change of plan, we discover at the train station, an electronic locator board listing accommodations from hostels to luxury hotels. We located a place that sounded like an adventure- the Happy Inn Lodge. It was four blocks from the train station. The Lodge consisted of a bar-restaurant downstairs, dorm rooms on the second floor and private rooms on the third floor. It wasn’t the Hilton, but it was clean, comfortable and cheap. Breakfast of bread, butter, coffee and milk was included.
Hotel | "Fankhauser B&B"
The house had two rooms that they rented out. One room had a magnificent view of the Jungfrau from its window. Can you imagine yourself waking in the morning and the first thing you see as you peer out the window is that magnificent sight?
Elizabeth served breakfast in her kitchen with fresh breads, butter and several kinds of homemade jellies and jams. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa and milk were available. She provided us with a "weather report" each morning and suggested several good restaurants.
Their home was filled with hand crafted and crocheted items, handmade wreaths, craved wood and paintings. There was a wonderful vegetable and flower garden that we could enjoy.
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Restaurant | "Local Cusine"
At the Restaurant Tell near our Bed & Breakfast in Interlaken, we had 'Rosti.' There were about 10 varieties of Rosti to choose from. Basically, it was similar to American hash brown potatoes with onions, topped with eggs, bacon, chicken, ham or pork served in a large black skillet. It was delicious!!!!! Price: $8.00 USD.
We sat outside with our new-found friends from the Bed & Breakfast and had a wonderful evening watching the sun set behind the mountains.
At various locations
Attraction | "A Ride on Thun Lake"
Tickets for the boat were sold at the train station. The English-speaking ticket clerk
suggested that we take 2 ½ hour ride by boat to Thun, a town on the far west end of this massive lake, see the sites at Thun and take the train back to Interlaken. That worked out perfectly. We could have save 25% with our Eurail Pass but didn’t know to ask for the discount until later.
We found what we thought was the perfect place to sit to enjoy our time on the Thun. It was on the upper deck where the chairs were extra comfortable. Everything was perfect, good weather, sunny blue skies and great views. Then, the man taking tickets came by and after looking at our tickets said we were sitting in the "First Class" section and would have to go down to the lower deck OR pay the difference to upgrade. We moved!. Although the lower deck was a little more crowded, the views were just as good.
The ride on the lake was beautiful and relaxing, and we met some really interesting people. One young women in particular was on a two month trek recuperating from the ordeal of taking the bar exams for her attorney’s license. Her theory was: instead of sitting at home waiting for her results, she would wonder around Europe. (Good thinking).
From the boat dock at the town of Thun, it was an easy walk to the City Center. We walked through stores and small unique shops and just wandered around, seeing many beautiful and old structures. Harry found the cutest little car and wanted desperately to hide it in our luggage and bring it home (see picture).
After a late lunch and some shopping, we made our way to the train station that was adjacent to the boat docks and returned to Interlaken.
Near Train Station
We talked all through breakfast and then made plans to meet for dinner that evening. We ate at the Restaurant Tell, one of the restaurants our hosts had recommended and had a wonderful time.
We promised ourselves that we would meet again when we all got home to compare stories and pictures. About two weeks after we returned home, we met with our newfound friends to share experiences.
In the midst of this very low-tech community, over in one corner at the train station, we found a life-saver--an INTERNET CORNER. For the price of 2 Swiss Francs, approximately $1.60 USD, we could buy 10 minutes on the Internet. It was quite easy to use and the connection time was reasonable (about 2 minutes). The best part was that there was never a line--it seemed no one else was using it but us.
Each morning while we were in Interlaken, we walked from our B&B into town with our first stop at the train station (about 2 miles) and signed on to the internet to communicate with our children at home, checked to see if there were any emergencies with our business, and arranged some future accommodations for the balance of our trip. It kept us connected and made our world a little smaller.
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