Monday, May 17, 2010


This morning (Monday) the cloud was higher, the weather forecast better, and we decided to set off for Interlaken to go up (or is it up to?) Harder Kulm.

It's a 35-minute train journey from Grindelwald to Interlaken.  Let me explain the train journey.  Our train was due to set off at 10.39.  The station clock has a second hand; every time it reaches the 12 position it pauses for a moment, then the minute hand clicks on an extra minute and the second hand moves again.  So, at 10.39 precisely three things happened: the second hand paused, the minute hand flicked on a minute, and the train began to move.  (Coming back from Interlaken it wasn't quite as impressive - the train didn't move until four seconds - yes, four whole seconds - after the stated time on the station clock.  We're wondering who to complain to.)

The trains themselves are attractive green and yellow carriages that seem to have been designed to look good as they wind through the Alps, and they do.  They're clean, there's plenty of room and they're quite cheap; we have a Swiss rail-card which allows us half fare on all trains (and some other transport) for a month.

Oh, wow...
Interlaken itself is a pretty little town (it calls itself a city) between two lakes (inter - lakes, get it?) that are connected by a narrow river - or at least, a channel of water.  The main street follows the line of the river.  It is, I'm told, the big tourist town in the area, and virtually every other shop sells Swiss watches.  Many of them are beautiful, most of them are really, really expensive.  Scattered between these shops are the inevitable chocolate shops and some of the most magnificent hotels I've ever seen.

But none of these things were our destination today.  We'd kept reading about Harder Kulm and the funicular railway their (what is 'funicular' - anybody know?) and Elaine's been keen on riding the railway and eating in the restaurant at the top.  Five minutes' walk from the station brings you to the bottom of the rail track.  Elaine refused to believe it - it looks almost vertical.  But we'd found the right place, took the ten minute ride up and - oh, wow.  A beautiful restaurant, panoramic views of spectacular scenery, an astonishing view of two lakes and Interlaken stretched out beneath.  Until I get photos up here, google 'Harder Kulm' and see if you can find any to show what I mean.  (Look here - that's the restaurant we ate in)

So - lunch for me was rosti, bacon, cheese and a fried egg; for Elaine, carrot and cream soup which, she assured me, was delicious.  My own lunch certainly was.

Oh, and the coffee.  Every time we have a cup of coffee we say it's the best we've ever tasted.  Oh, wow.

Now, the weather forecast for the next few days is getting better and better, so we've got one or two things planned.

1 comment:

Peter Eaton said...

Hi Gary - I am glad to hear you and Elaine are having a good holiday (which has produced more of your excellent postings than usual.) A funicular railway is one that takes carriages up a steep slope by pulling them by cable, which is attached to both carriages so that as one goes up the other comes down. Or perhaps it is just a funny-peculiar railway? Enjoy your break!