Wednesday, March 30, 2016

(Europe Sep 2015) Day 8: Visit Bern and Interlaken. Stay at Lauterbrunnen (Part 2 Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen)

Day 8 (10 Sep 2015): Visit Bern and Interlaken. Stay at Lauterbrunnen (Switzerland)
(Part 2 Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen)

This day's schedule:
0723-0809 Colmar to Basel via train
0831-0927 Basel to Bern via train
Deposit luggage at Bern station (E9)
Walk around Bern + Lunch
1404-1457 Bern to Interlaken via train
1540-1710 Visit Harder Kulm observatory point
1735-1815 Supermarket shopping
1835-1855 Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen via train
Check in hostel + dinner of cup noodles

After a short visit and lunch at Bern (see part 1 of this day), we took the train from Bern to Interlaken Ost station.
There are 2 stations in Interlaken, Est and Ost.  The larger station is Ost.

There are many lovely views to see during the train rides in Switzerland (and not just this particular train ride between Bern and Interlaken). 
See if you can try not to sleep or else you will probably miss some really spectacular views.

random view from the train ride between Bern and Interlaken

More random view from the train ride.

The area near Interlaken Est, when our train was passing by that area.

This was how the train looked like for our train ride between Bern and Interlaken.
 After about 1hr, we arrived at Interlaken Ost station.

lockers at Interlaken Ost station, at the train platform just before exiting the station.
 We then went to a nearby shop to buy some drinks.

I think I drank 1 bottle of this chocolate drink per day while I was at Switzerland. It wasn't exactly cheap, but I liked its rich chocolatey taste.

Interlaken Ost station
  From Interlaken Ost, we took a short 5mins walk to the base station of the funicular railway ride up the mountain to Harder Kulm viewing platform.

see how blue the water in the lake is...
 After a short walk, we arrived at Harder Kulm's base station.
If you happen to stopover at Interlaken, I would recommend a visit here, because of the views.


That's where we were seated.

Short 3mins walk from the top station to the restaurant and viewing platform at Harder Kulm.
 There's a toilet inside the restaurant building, as well as a toilet at the top station for the funicular train.
Although the prices for restaurant food in Switzerland is expensive, but I would recommend that you take a short breather here for maybe a lunch or a drink and sit down and enjoy the view instead of just taking quick photos and then head back down.

Viewing platform

Interlaken is sandwiched between 2 lakes (really blue lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz), and from this viewing platform, you can see both lakes as well as Interlaken. 
On clear days, you might even see the mountains Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau too.  
Too bad my visit was on a somewhat cloudy day, so we wasn't able to see much of the 3 mountains.

Sun rays...

After taking some photos of the scenery, we sat down in the restaurant for some drinks before heading back down to the base station.

 Since we had some time until we have to catch our evening train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, so we went to the large supermarket opposite Interlaken Ost station to shop for some drinks and snacks to tide us over our next few days at Lauterbrunnen/Murren/Wengen, since we weren't sure if there were any supermarkets in those small towns.

This supermarket was huge. We bought snacks, chocolates, some instant cup mac and cheese and drinks.  
We also saw many tourists snapping up loads and loads of Toblerone chocolates (the chocolates looked like the regular ones we have here in Singapore and not some sort of special version. Not sure why they were buying so many packets).  
Got shoved ("elbowed" to be more exact) away by them even though I was standing in front of the shelves looking at other chocolates before they arrived. I just went to find other food stuffs before heading back to the chocolate aisle after they left.

We also bought some swiss chocolates (which I've not seen in Singapore) as souvenirs too, since they are much cheaper than the chocolates sold at souvenir shops.

some pre-packaged ready to eat meals for microwave. 
 It was raining heavily by the time we were done with our supermarket shopping.  
Luckily the train station was just opposite, so we dashed across the road in the rain.

We collected our luggage bags from the lockers and went to take the train towards Lauterbrunnen.

During this train ride, 2 nice Swiss ladies and their dog sat next to my husband and I.  
Since my husband knows a bit of French (well, very very rusty French actually, since it's been years ever since he used French) so he and the ladies struck up a conversation.  
I understood some parts due to certain keywords and managed to guess their conversation.  

The ladies were pleasantly surprised by how my husband understood and spoke a little bit of French and they were very friendly and chatty, because they mentioned that their impression of Asian tourists are that we are tend to keep to ourselves and gives off an unfriendly attitude, which was why they tend to avoid striking any sort of conversation with Asian tourists.

They asked which country we were from, where else are we visiting on our trip, and where are we staying for the night. They also informed us about the weather forecasts for the next few days, just in case we were thinking about going up Jungfrau.  They also told us a bit of themselves and their travel plans too. 
It was the first time they chatted with Asian tourists, and we had an enjoyable train ride while chatting with them (in our broken French) and playing with their dog.  

Having unexpected interactions and conversations with the locals (even though we may not speak the local languages well) are part of the reason why the both of us love to travel, especially on Free and Easy instead of group tours.  

Their dog.
 We said our goodbyes with the ladies when the train arrived at Lauterbrunnen.
It was drizzling by the time we arrived.

Lauterbrunnen is located in a valley between 2 mountains, and there are 2 villages up on those 2 mountains where we will be visiting for the next couple of days.  
1 is called Murren and 1 is called Wengen. Both of those 2 villages are car-free villages, which means that u cannot take a car/bus/tour coaches up to those villages.  Mountain train is the only way up.

Ok. back to Lauterbrunnen.
Since we will only be spending the night here, and going to leave early next morning, so we just chose a cheap hostel to stay for the night (hotels in Switzerland are expensive).

The hostel where we stayed at in Lauterbrunnen have shared toilet/shower stalls/kitchen facilities.
Although our room is small, but we have a lovely view of the waterfall from our room's balcony.
Our room.

Our balcony.

View from our balcony.
 After we deposited our bags in our room, we had a short stroll around the village and walked towards the waterfall (which was just a short 5-10mins walk from our hostel actually).

This will be the mountain train which we will be taking up to Wengen 2 days later.

View of Wengen from the valley of Lauterbrunnen.

The waterfall.
Since the food at the various restaurants here looked a tad expensive, so we decided to just eat a cup noodle in our hostel room for dinner while watching show on my tablet.

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