Tales of a non-Swiss miss in Switzerland - part Interlaken, Murren, and Schilthorn (March 14, 2012)

Day 3 - March 14, 2012

We woke up early this morning to catch the 07:55 train to Interlaken. We made it without issue to our Golden Panorama train, and I fought the clock to run downstairs to grab a Coca-Cola Light from the Coop downstairs while Kris freaked out on the train. I'd apologize for my actions, but I wasn't about to spend over $3 on a soda upstairs when you could get a cold one for $1.10 downstairs at the Coop. I made it back in time, and we departed on our journey.



The Golden Panorama train has really large windows to help you see the exceptional scenery passing by. I deliberately chose this route instead of going through Bern to Interlaken so as to allow us the sweeping views of the Alps. So glad we made it.  Gorgeous!



I highly suggest traveling from Luzern to Interlaken Ost via the Golden Panorama. The views climbing into the mountains is amazing. It might not be as impressive going in the opposite direction. The fare was covered with our Swiss Pass, and it was so worth the time spent in the train. One second it's green...the next you see the grounds completely blanketed in pristine white snow. Marvelous.


"I've been working on the railroad..."





After arriving at Interlaken Ost, we had to switch trains to one heading toward Basel SBB so we could get to the Interlaken West station which was incredibly close (less than 5 minutes walk) to the Hotel Rugenpark B&B we were staying in for the next two days. Ursula, who runs the Hotel Rugenpark B&B with her husband, had warned me of this close to departure. She was also incredibly accommodating with a very early check-in.

Hotel Rugenpark B&B
When we arrived at the Rugenpark, Ursula welcomed us with a warm juice punch. She greeted us, gave us a list of the free transport and free attractions in Interlaken, and booked our tickets to the Schilthorn. She has a wonderful write-up of how to transfer from one train to another written up for guests. It was wonderful and made everything so easy. She even highlights the page for you as she goes through it. Wonderful!

Loved the detail work on the lampshade - it matched the pillows

Tile in the bathroom

Hallway
She also gave us a map of Interlaken with a suggested hour-long walk and a bunch of recommended restaurants. She provided us with information about the local Migros grocery (closes at 6:30pm) and showed us the guest kitchen (included are pots/pans, silverware, plates, two hot plates, a microwave, a fridge/freezer, and labels for your food). Our room was on the second floor and was a large room with two double beds pushed together to be like one bed It had a self-contained bathroom and wonderful balcony with a view of the Jungfrau. Terrific hospitality!

Our room

Chocolate on the pillow


Kris on the balcony
If you are going to participate in winter sports, the Hotel Rugenpark B&B has a room with ski jackets and pants you can borrow. They have responsive free wifi and a very nice complimentary breakfast.

I felt incredibly comfortable at our cozy, family run bed & breakfast. These quaint places of lodging are some of my favorite. The floors creaked as old wood floors should, there was plenty of hot water, and everything was super clean. Monty, the family dog, even came out to greet us.

We went on the balcony several times, and, even though the Rugenpark is close to the street, it was peaceful outside with the mountains in the distance and the birds chirping.

View from the balcony
After getting settled, Kris and I were back on the streets heading for our quick walk to the train station.


To get to the Schilthorn from Interlaken...
Take train from Interlaken West to Interlaken Ost (often the end of the line)
Transfer at Interlaken Ost to a train heading to Lauterbrunnen
From Lauterbrunnen take a cable car to a train station and get on the small train that takes you to Mürren

Kris at the Mürren train station
Then, from Mürren, take two cable cars - first to Birg then to the Schilthorn



Staubbach Falls - 1000 ft tall

Getting a good look around on the cable car
On the cable car
At the top of the Schilthorn is Piz Gloria. Piz Gloria is a revolving restaurant with sweeping views of the Alps. It is covered top to bottom in windows and was the restaurant "blown up" in the James Bond 007 movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service - which I haven't seen except for a few clips at the Piz Gloria and from YouTube. I have to say...it looks like a cinematic masterpiece.

Heading to the Piz Gloria via another cable car
Cable car leaving the Piz Gloria
We were rather famished by the time we got to Piz Gloria, so we decided to grab a table in the rotating section of the restaurant closest to the window and indulge in some food. Kris got veal schnitzel, and I got spatzli. It was a rather expensive meal, but they did provide good portion sizes. Tap water cost us 6 Swiss francs. Ouch!

Part of the Piz Gloria menu (the CHF or Swiss Franc is worth about $1.07 US)

My spatzli

Kristy in the Piz Gloria - hard not to stare out of the window

Kris and his veal.  The food was okay...the view was spectacular.
After two rotations and a satisfying meal, Kris and I bundled up to go outside for the unobstructed views of the Alps.  We got distracted by a room showing clips from On Her Majesty's Secret Service.



After the clips were finished, we went outside.  Holy wow was this amazing and hard to explain. Mountains for days...everywhere you looked...big craggily mountains. We spent as much time as we believed to be humanly possible outside on the terrace before heading back down to town.



The Alps just expand as far as the eye can see



Kris and Kristy on the Schilthorn

Kristy and Skitler on the Schilthorn
It was pretty amazing to see some of the skiiers. I don't know how you ever get brave enough to ski something so expansive.


We opted to hang around Mürren for a tour about the town. Some people chose to maneuver through the town using cross-country skis - there was enough snow on the ground to do so. Kris and I just tried not to fall on the patches of ice on the sidewalk. The snow and sludge was fairly easy to walk on.
 
Mürren

The fountains in Mürren had character too

Loved the decorations on this storage cabin
While walking through Murren, we saw a little boy dressed like a construction worker. He saw us, smiled with a mischievous little grin, and hurled a snowball at Kris. Kris did a good job of pretending like he was about to die. "Oh - oh - you got me." I wonder if the child understood english? He smiled like he understood.

Some people like to throw snowballs at strangers.
Mürren is such a quaint town

Window in Mürren taken HDR style

They decorate the cabin outsides with antlers.
Strange snow formation
When we got back to Interlaken, we grabbed chocolate and sodas from the Migros supermarket. I got this pistachio chocolate bar with the brand called Frey. Best chocolate bar I've ever eaten. I wish I had another. We went back to the Rugenpark for a bit before heading out to walk Interlaken.

Interlaken roundabout
Our evening walk was pleasant. We were able to see quite a bit of the town before it became too dark.


Cool tree carving.  One of the neatest things I've ever seen.


Other side of the same tree

One of the streets of Interlaken

This place was decorated with ribbon.

Such a beatuiful sunset.


Yard art
I was surprised when we got to the casino...mostly because I didn't know there was one. It seemed to me that they only let you into the casino if you were male and in a tuxedo.



Casino


We decided on fondue at one of the places on Ursula's map. We didn't decide on this for any really great reason. Honestly, I was just desperate for a bathroom and couldn't find a public water-closet. The Baren was the closest to us. I even desperately went into a hotel to ask if I could use their lobby restroom. The man made me wait there for an indeterminable amount of time while he answered questions in French to people about the hotel (who decided not to stay) before telling me that it would cost me a Swiss franc to use the toilet. I honestly had no money on me. Meanwhile I'd been standing there the entire time doing the potty dance with tears in my eyes. Guys...take note...that is just plain cruel!

The Baren
So The Baren it was...and, as soon as we walked in and were acknowledged, I was off. In fact, when I came back, the server had to reassess. He thought Kris was alone and had to bring another table setting and menu. Regardless of my bladder, the meal was quite satisfying. The Baren has an esteemed history and is quite old (1674 if you believe their flag). It is in a wood building with curb appeal. The inside was decorated nicely with candles to help set the mood for a lovely evening. The fondue was tasty and filling but very expensive. Of course it seems very common for restaurants in Switzerland to charge 30 Swiss francs or more for a meal that we'd pay $10-15 for at home.

Inside of The Baren

Fondue

We didn't like it at all...

The Baren

Adjectives to describe the Swiss cities I've been to so far:
Lucerne - charming
Mürren - quaint
Interlaken - nice
I feel these are distinctive terms...what say you?




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