Ok, so here is a compendium post of our days in Neuchâtel. The weather was a mixed bag compared to the great weather we had in the Bernese Oberland and Montreux. Oh well, you can;t win 'em all. Still had heaps of fun though.
Day 16 - Neuchâtel City
Wandered down to the Port building on the waterfront to visit the Tourist Info Centre and collect a bunch of brochures and a city walking tour map.
Spent most of the day (apart from a luncheon intermission involving pate en croute and raspberry millefeux) walking around the city following the map and taking in the sites. Photos already posted at photos.app.goo.gl/ZayC7NZKNGAyvQpG7.
Discovered the Bette Bossi range of microwave dinners at the Co-Op. The joys of self-catering and comfort food - sausage and mash.
Day 17 - Areuse Gorge
A hike up the Areuse Gorge (based on suggestion from Pete Li who sent me this link www.ansermoz-photography.com/where/areuse-gorges-neuchatel-switzerland/ ) was the plan but the weather was showery and we had read the track could be hazardous in the wet so just pottered about in that general direction, mainly on trains courtesy of the Neuchâtel Card.
Caught the Littorail from Place Pury to Boudry. Travelling from Boudry Littorail Gare to Boudry Gare on 612 bus, the last stop (Boudry Sur-Le-Fête) prior to reaching Boudry Gare puts you very close to the start of the hike up the gorge.
From Boudry we trained out as far as we could go alongside the gorge and beyond to Buttes then returned to Neuchâtel. Quite a scenic train ride. We could have stopped off at a few villages along the way but the weather just didn’t inspire. Although a spot of absinthe at the museum in Môtiers (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/experiences/absinthe-museum/) may have remedied that. From Neuchâtel Gare we took the Funamble back down to the University precinct which is a short walk from the Old Town.
In the afternoon we hopped a train to the the medieval village of Le Landeron (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/experiences/the-town-of-landeron/). There was a funeral ceremony at the church and it looked like the entire village was there. Brollies got a run.
Bette’s Beef Ragout and Brussel Sprouts for dinner. This is living.
Day 18 - Clock Territory
Forecast sunny so off we went with our Neuchâtel Cards to explore the origins of the Swiss clock-making industry. Made it as far as Le Brenets. The train from Le Locle to Les Brenets is just too cute. There is a boat trip you can do from Les Brenets on Lac Brenets to Saut du Doubs (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/destinations/the-river-says-it-all-doubs/). We didn’t do that but discovered the boat operator runs a courtesy pick-up service to collect passengers from the station and take them down to the boat dock (which is a fair walk).
Stopped off at Le Locle (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/destinations/le-locle/) on the way back and did a circuit of the town. Lots of famous Swiss watch manufacturers have factories in this area and you can see them from the train. We gave La Chateau-de-Fonds (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/destinations/la-chaux-de-fonds/ ) a miss. By then the legs were weary. Thought we might get back another day but we didn’t.
Day 19 - A day on the lake
Dull day forecast but they didn’t mention the breeze! Decided to take a boat trip to Biel and return by train.
We arrived at the dock 15 minutes before departure but the boat had not yet arrived from Murten. The wind was blowing fairly hard and there were plenty of white-caps across the lake. Twenty minutes later, no boat and a man arrived from the ticket office saying it had been delayed. It arrived 30 minutes late. It was freezing! Most of the waiting passengers joined us taking shelter in the underground car park across from the dock.
Turns out the delay was caused because wind-driven waves on the lake meant the boat had had to do a series of zig-zags across the lakes to minimise the time it spent side-on to the waves. We were soon to get a practical demonstration of the reason for this tactic.
The boat was a lunch cruise so many passengers were dining. We had packed a picnic lunch but I must say the food coming out of the tiny kitchen on the boat looked great. Next time.
We left the dock and proceeded to reverse down the lake for quite some distance before heading in the direction of Biel. It was clear the captain was trying to ensure the boat was running with the waves but at one stage he had to turn parallel to the waves. The boat promptly heeled over and several of the diners nearly lost there lunches. The young waitress made a grab for the tray of drinks being prepared at the bar and somehow managed to save most of them from hitting the deck. She was completely unfazed. After that the captain warned the crew when he need to zag instead if zigging.
Short video of lake conditions at youtu.be/X1hyoPAJa48.
Things calmed substantially once we entered the channel to Lake Biel.
We arrived at Biel on time but only by dropping a couple of stops along the way.
Day 20 - Valangin
Rain forecast but it was only overcast when we set out.
We had a bit of a saunter around the backstreets of Neuchâtel then a caught 422 bus to Valangin to check out the Chateau and museum (www.myswitzerland.com/en-au/experiences/castle-and-museum-valangin/ ). First experience of a Swiss bus on a freeway. They don’t hang about!
The village was quaint but I had misread the coupon on the Neuchâtel Card and the museum only opened at 13:30 except on Sundays. It was 11:00am Friday!
By now the heavens had opened so caught the 422 back to Neuchâtel, checked out the market and bought lunch at a newly discovered boulangerie. There are many fabulous food and wine outlets (see bit.ly/30KkjFb).
Photos for days 17 to 20 at photos.app.goo.gl/bA8tzk5w8G48VD4E8. Sorry - not brilliant - the weather was ordinary.