Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Up to Wengen

From Bern, we headed southeast toward the Bernese Oberland. This is where Interlaken is, which means "between the lakes" and it sits at the intersection of the figure eight made by Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.  We managed to stop and see the view at Lake Thun (which is harder than it sounds! In Switzerland everything is heartstoppingly gorgeous, so if you see a turnoff or a vista point, or even a crowd of cars by the side of the road, stop! You won't regret it!).
You might see a view like this one of the Lauterbrunnen valley, for example. We drove into town, found the parking structure right off and parked our car, dragged our suitcases up to the train platform and caught a train immediately up to Wengen. Rob and I are not really sure where we took this shot. It could have been on the train up, which looked out at the valley on one side and whizzed past incredible waterfalls on the other. Or it we could have taking it from right outside our front door which also had sublime views.
When we were working out the details of the trip we knew we wanted to come see this part of the country, but we couldn't for the life of us find a place to stay. Everything was two or three times what we had budgeted and we were beginning to panic. We turned to one of our standbys, holiday rentals (we used airbnb like we did in Iceland, London, and Germany), and Rob was able to find a room in Wengen. Once we arrived, we found out that we were staying in the basement of one of the hotels here, in a room that was usually used by staff. It had no ambience, but it was clean and located mere feet from the train station, and we were spending a fraction of what everyone else was.  We felt really lucky.
That first night we decided just to walk around Wengen. Since there are no cars, it was very quiet. We meandered in the direction of the Schiltwald and it was beautiful and green with sheep, cows, cowbells and waterfalls.
Thankfully it was staying light really late. And thankfully there were some lights on the road because we stayed out even after it got dark!
This garden and woodshed were such a masterpiece; such an aesthetic and utilitarian marriage; such an example of the alpine vernacular architecture I had to take a picture. I wish I could live in this house and this yard and this woodshed. But it really only works in the alps.
[click to enlarge] So it was a wonderful day in spite of being completely jet lagged. We felt so fortunate to have seen the Grunewald altarpiece in Colmar, so glad we took a while to stretch our legs in Bern, and so happy to have made it to the alps and to our place in Wengen all in a day.

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