August 2014 – Switzerland

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Oeschinensee near Kandersteg

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Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau from Niederhorn

At the end of July, we left for Switzerland, our favorite country in Europe. We spent the month of August in Wilderswil, which is a small farming/tourism community near Interlaken, in the Bernese Oberland. We found an apartment via the internet, which turned out to be just what we wanted in terms of location and quiet.

We enjoyed our favorite vacation activities every day. On clear days, we drove to a mountain town, rode a cable car or gondola to the top, and walked and walked and walked. The scenery is so amazing that we can never get enough of it. On rainy days, we boarded one of the incredibly reliable Swiss trains and traveled to Lucern or Bern, the Swiss capital city, where we took in the city sights. In both cities, we were able to visit museums with extensive collections of the paintings of Paul Klee, Susan’s favorite artist.

Here are some of the highlights of our stay in Switzerland.

  • Rides in several different means of mountain transport, such as cog railways, funiculars, cable cars, and gondolas. Aside from being engineering marvels, these “trains” give all riders magnificent views of the mountains, valleys, and lakes. At one mountain station, Denise took a ride on a half-mile zip line. What a thrill! She talked about it for days afterwards.
  • Walks along the mountain pathways, which are always clearly marked and well maintained. Usually, our mountain walks involve a stop at a mountain restaurant for lunch or a break. This, of course, allows us to sit for a while and take in the awesome views.
  • Boat rides on Brienzersee and Thunersee. These are the two lakes which Interlaken is between (Inter/laken means between lakes). Most days, we were able to finish our walk in the mountains and hop on a late afternoon boat for a leisurely ride.
  • Drives everywhere. Since we had a rental car, we were able to experience the amazing Swiss countryside from the roadways as well, particularly the drive from Geneva to Interlaken and an 81-mile drive which included the Susten, Furka, and Grimsel passes.

The Swiss have a way of making the incredible natural beauty of their country accessible to everyone. We would take this same trip again in a second.