July 20-23, 2018
The first word that comes to mind about this trip to Switzerland is…. EXPENSIVE. Maybe you thought I’d say beautiful, and it definitely was, but it was also a little cloudy this weekend so it doesn’t get top billing. I knew Switzerland was expensive, but it was even more than I thought it would be considering the trip was centered around two free nights at a resort I’d won from a trivia contest at a Ski Club meeting. (It was Presidential trivia which isn’t my strongest category… but that’s not important right now.) My boyfriend and I did add a day to the trip to check out Interlaken on the way to the resort in Zermatt.
We compared the costs of driving, taking the train, or flying, but our destination was not near an airport and the train ride would take much longer, so we rented a car. I was surprised when we got an automatic even though I’d asked for a manual – and even more surprised to discover my boyfriend, who’s European, had never driven an automatic! I knew they weren’t common in Europe, but Never? I suppose it’s only strange to a person coming from America, land of the automatics. It was actually pretty funny when he couldn’t get the hang of the brakes (except my sore shoulder when the seatbelt kept kicking in) but eventually I realized he was using his left foot for the brake. I told him to use his right foot to brake just like when you have a clutch and he asked, “Then what does my left foot do? Nothing?” Yep, the lazy left foot just sits there.
So we were off on the drive to Interlaken. First we had to buy a sticker for the car to drive in Switzerland, and they’re only sold for a year even if you’re there 2 days, so that was 35 euros. (I bet the rental company scraped it off so it didn’t even help the next person.) The drive there was gorgeous. Unfortunately it was rainy and dark by the time we got to our hotel, but below are some pictures we took on the drive and the next morning at Hotel Seeburg.
We spent Saturday, our first full day, in the town of Interlaken. Like the name implies, the town sits between two lakes, Lakes Thun and Breinz. Although it was cloudy, it was very beautiful. We spent the morning mostly walking around.
In the afternoon we visited ST. BEATUS CAVES above Lake Thun. This seemed like a good choice given the cloudy day with a little light rain. The walk up was very steep, but the views were worth it. The caves have many waterfalls, but of course the biggest and most impressive are the ones right out front.
In the afternoon we drove (mostly) to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn. About halfway there, we paid about 19 euros for what we thought was a toll. The road kind of ended at a train and I realized (thanks to a co-worker who said this had happened to him) that we had to drive ON to the train! We were one of the last cars on, and it took us through a mountain where we offloaded and continued. Skip ahead: We wanted to avoid the tunnel on the way back, but it was way too far out of the way. We never figured out why they put a train through the tunnel instead of just making a road. These pictures are from both directions and if you’re really enthralled, a couple videos are at the end of the post.
As if we didn’t have enough trains for one day, Zermatt is actually a car-free town. We drove to the nearby town of Tasch where there is a huge parking garage and a train station. The train tickets were around 17 Swiss Francs (about $17) per person each way – cha ching. Fortunately when we got to Zermatt the hotel picked us up in a little electric car; many hotels used them. We saw a few horses and carriages also, and one time while sitting outside bar, we saw a poor, confused family in a car driving around. The waitress said they see someone accidentally drive into town about once a week or so. [Months later, a couple friends of mine drove to Zermatt to see the Matterhorn, and THEY WERE THOSE PEOPLE! I tried not to laugh out loud because my friends claimed there were no signs telling them cars were not allowed.]
Anyway, we spent two wonderful days at the ParkHotel Beau Site Zermatt. We did get some blue skies, walked around a lot, and spent one afternoon in the hotel spa. I’m going to tell the rest with pictures. Yes, I know there are more than you’ll probably look at, but it’s easier to post most of them then to try to pick out a few.
That’s it – other than train videos if you’re a 5-year-old or Sheldon Cooper.