Zero Visibility and Disappointment
Interlaken as the name suggests, means between lakes. So I was watching the passing view carefully as the train raced closer to the valley between the lakes. And suddenly the shimmering, crystal clear waters of Lake Thun came into view. Heaven!
It was fascinating to watch paragliders drop anchor on the Höhematte under the shadow of the Jungfrau. They make it look so easy to land on the green lawn of the park.
Two Lakes Bridge, Harder Kulm
The opportunity to see all three peaks, the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, from the summit of Harder Kulm was something I felt I couldn't miss. I had been observing the funicular climb up the steep side of the mountain from my hotel doorstep. It takes approximately ten minutes for the ascent to the summit (1,322 meters above sea level) by funicular. But in those 10 minutes, the clouds rolled in and swiftly wiped out the view.
After waiting for thirty minutes in the cold mountain air for the fog to disperse, I decided to wait it out inside the warm and cozy Panorama Restaurant. I ordered their chicken cream soup to fend off the chill. The bill came to 8 euros. The weather did not improve so I paid my bill and took the funicular back to town. (In hindsight, I should have bought the ticket that included lunch. It would have been a better deal.)
On the way down, I had a better view of Lake Brienz and the steeples of both the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Interlaken. These images are all I have of my little adventure in Harder Kulm.
It helps to manage expectations when traveling. I was in Interlaken in early November and enjoyed several days of sunshine and blooming roses. Weather conditions change quickly and while it was clear in the valley, it was the exact opposite in the mountains.
The funicular to Harder Kulm is 26 Swiss francs roundtrip. You can also hike up the 4 km trail from Interlaken Ost train station to Harder Kulm. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the summit. For more info about hiking in Interlaken, check this helpful guide from the Fit Traveller:
Sluice on the Aare
The Aare river crosses Interlaken and flows into Lake Brienz. It is the longest river entirely within Switzerland at 295 meters (183 miles). Here is one of the locks that control the waterway.
The Garden of Eden
Tucked away in one of the neighborhoods in Interlaken West was this painting of Adam and Eve under a heavily laden apple tree. Urban art with a biblical theme.
And on a quiet street I found a few Victorian-style houses. Interlaken revealed itself to me the farther I walked away from the expensive boutiques of Höheweg.
I stopped a while to listen to the cowbells. It was mesmerizing. Swiss cheese didn't even cross my mind.
How to get to Interlaken:
There are convenient train connections from Geneva and Zürich via Bern to Interlaken.
Where to stay:
Hotel Carlton Europe
Höheweg 94, Interlaken
This hotel is walking distance from Interlaken Ost train station where trains depart for Lauterbrunnen, Wengen with connections to Mürren, Grindelwald, Schilthorn and the Jungfrau.
Where to eat:
The restaurant is across the square from Interlaken Ost train station. It offers both hot and cold dishes, cakes and pastries. It's convenient to eat here after grocery shopping at the Coop Supermarket downstairs. The price of your meal depends on the size of your plate - small, medium or large. You can fill your plate as much as it can hold.
Images by TravelswithCharie