Saturday, October 16, 2010

September 16, 2010 - Thursday - Interlaken/Iseltwald

The train deposited us in Zurich, where we had an hour to walk not too far from the train station. I was happy to see an Apple store where we could connect to the wifi and check our morning email. (Adam put up with it. Apple. Not the wi-fi... He liked that.)

We caught the first available train from Zurich to Bern. From Bern we began our ascent. The views from the train were stunning as we climbed into the alps. Valleys with expansive green fields that reach up into forested mountains. The train wrapped around Thun Lake and dropped us off in Interlaken. Between Thun and Brienz lakes. We found prices in Switzerland to be generally prohibitive. We strolled along the Aare river that connects the two lakes looking for some sort of lunch. We found a hotdog stand that offered us an $8 hotdog with $4 french fries. We were relieved by such a comparatively good deal. We split the hotdog hamburger style.

From near the train station in Interlaken, our Eurail passes afforded us a ferry to a tiny lakefront village named Iseltwald on the south bank of Brienz. Our sordid hostel was less than the online advertising had promised, but it almost didn’t matter because we were sufficiently surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

Brienz is full of glacial runoff water that picks up minerals on the way down. The minerals turn the water a crisp glaucous color. Wikipedia considers the color to be depressing, but Adam and I were refreshed just looking at it. The surrounding mountains are loaded with dark green forests from top to bottom whose density is only interrupted green grass fields or stylish Swiss chalets.

The Lake Lodge Hostel housed us for the night on the south bank of the Brienz. We shared the seven-bed room with an engaging, London-based, Australian girl. She makes regular trips to the continent. We recruited her to accompany us to the city for some food and sightseeing. She was fun to have around and we enjoyed exchanging traveling experiences with her. We found a delicious döner kebap establishment for dinner.

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