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Posts tagged ‘Interlaken’

Photography 101: Day 13, My Moment of Movement

Need I say more?  Today the photo is all about Movement!  Click fast and Enjoy!

Get Out and Ride!, Interlaken, Switzerland

Get Out and Ride!, Interlaken, Switzerland

Mürren and the Alphorns

Mürren

Mürren

We are at the train station, Interlaken Ost, (East) early this morning to go to Lauterbrunnen. From Lauterbrunnen we take the funicular to Mürren.  Mürren, population 450, is a pleasant alpine resort filled with bakeries, cafés, chalets and no public road access. There are over 2000 beds available here in chalet looking hotels. Perched on a ledge overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounded by mountains (the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau) Mürren is definitely “Heidi” like. Mürren is the highest continually inhabited village in the Canton of Bern. It is recognized by the design of the chalets and the pronunciation of the Mürren dialect.  In 1911 the first British winter tourists arrived. In the village there is no full time doctor, no police officer, and no resident priest or pastor, but keep your eye open for the “Milch Express,” a tiny cart that delivers fresh milk and eggs to the hotels and homes throughout the village. Getting off the train the hikers go in one direction, to the Gondola Station taking skiers and hikers up to the Schilthorn and down to Stechelberg via Gimmelwald, and the Japanese tourists with cameras bigger than they are, head off into another direction, to set up their tripods.  We follow the sound of music, literally. On a flat terrace of earth is a group of musicians providing a concert playing long, long, long horns called Alphorns. How much breath does it take just to blow one of those things? Alphorns, alpenhorns or alpine horns are used by the mountain dwellers for communication or signal instruments, substituting them for the lack of church bells. They are carved from solid softwood either spruce or pine. In former times the alphorn maker would use a bent tree to create the curved shape of the base, but modern woodmakers piece the wood together at the base.  The cup shaped mouthpiece is carved from a solid block of wood and added last to the instrument. The sound is similar to blowing through a long tube, but they do have music designed for the alphorn. After a café we walk to the paved utility road (wide enough for a small tractor with hay) and begin our descent to Gimmelwald.  Be sure to watch the video!  Scenery is fantastic!

The Hills are Alive, but the Town is Touristville

Biking in Interlaken

Biking in Interlaken

We are saying goodbye to Lake Como today as we travel by car to Lugano, Switzerland to catch a train to Interlaken, Switzerland.  The best part of the train ride is the home stretch on the tiny train into our destination.  The train advertised a scenic zoo along the way and indeed it was.  When we got to the slow mountain climbs through the forest, looking to the left and right at specific intervals, we would see a sculpture of some kind of creature. Bears, wolves, birds, anything indigenous to the area was revealed along the way. It was fun to keep our eyes peeled for the artwork placed along the rail route.  A great deal of work was put into the “ZOO.”

Arriving in Interlaken there are two train stations, east and west.  Getting off at the East Station you find yourself in the mist of luxury, turn of the century hotels. Walking along the Banhof Strasse there is a “high meadow” or park and here are beautiful flower gardens and the landing area for the tandem parasails. The end of the “high meadow” turns into crowded, very touristy shopping areas.  I was so shocked. I thought Interlaken would be a “Heidi” kind of place. It is over-run with tourists and it seems even the tourists own the restaurants and shops. Clearly Interlaken has been sold to the highest bidder and the Swiss have moved on. I am glad we have made this a springboard stop to other alpine areas. Reaching our destination, the Lotschberg Hotel & B&B, we find it is not run by a Swiss family, but has been turned over to caretakers.  Small and clean, the hotel was conveniently located in the old town area, but the only time we saw anyone here was when we would ring the bell at the check in area and eventually someone would come from one of the upper floors to see what we wanted.  The other disappointment was the lower level of the hotel had been turned into a kabab restaurant! So we were up and early everyday to go up the mountain! Maybe that was a blessing after all. We added more alpine villages to our itinerary, only returning to Interlaken at the end of a long day. It turned out perfectly.

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