So better late than never!
Memorial Day, I'm on my way back to Switz...first time since 2004.
Met up with high school friend in Phila and on to Zuerich.
We are travelling this time with a Half Fare Card. Worked out every conceivable way for the best train prices in advance, and this won (99 CHF for a month).
Breezed through customs and withdrew local currency at ATM, then on to Brienz.
Bought a 20 CHF international calling card (now just a slip with a PIN number to use "FLASH" is the brand name).
It lasted the whole 11 day trip and then some!
I had stayed for ten days in a Fewo in this small lakeside town with weathered wooden chalets climbing the steep hillside many years ago and remember it fondly.
Mostly, chose it as my friend, whose father passed away some years ago, and was a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan, wanted to visit Reichenbach Falls. Meiringen was no where near as scenic for a two night home-base. But ,it did take close to 3 hours to get to Brienz, via Luzern-Sarnen -Lungern. We were SUPER-Tired when we arrived!
VERY limited B&B options in Brienz. Several overpriced hotels. Tons of Fewos who won't book for less than 5 nights. Had reserved Garni-Hotel Walz on Hauptstrasse in advance, attached to a Konditorei for modest sum.
Took a quick nap in a cozy, bright corner room with a super bank of windows overlooking Lake Brienz.
Windows wide open, a cool breeze wafting in the scent of some sweet bakery item being made below! An unidentified bird (?s) warbled beautifully and I could hear rushing or lapping waters either of the lake or the mountain snow run-off which is channeled through a fume in town. I was too excited to sleep more than 30 minutes!
We hurried back to the ship station to catch the 2:45 boat to Interlaken (first stopping at the Coop for a beer and a pastry to eat on board). Sunny, lightly cool.
The boat FILLED with an asian tourist group! My friend and I got the last two inside seats with an older Swiss woman, but thankfully, almost everyone got off at the first stop-Giessbach Falls. We then claimed two seats outside in the sun and worked on our tans.
In Interlaken, we disembarked in Ost and walked to West for dinner. Window shopped a tiny bit. I had never thought much of Interlaken before beyond a busy college-kids-on their-first-solo-adventure-type of town (witness Hooters, and all the rafting, paragliding dealers and crass consumerism on the sidewalks). BUT, when you wander down side alley-lanes, there are many quaint shops and cafes. We settled on an Italian cafe where I had a large salad plate with sheep's cheese and black olives and a tall wheat beer...mmmm!
Called home and assured all that I was well. Train home and to bed by 9:30--it was still light at 9 pm!
Meiringen and Reichenbachfaelle tomorrow!
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So better late than never!