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A week (almost) in Neuchâtel - October 2019

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rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 11, 2019 - 9:31 AM

And so to Neuchâtel . . . . arrived just before 1:00pm and a bus from Gare Nord to Place Pury soon had us at our apartment at Le Galeries Marval. The town seemed like a major construction site as the aftermath of the annual 3-day Fête-des-Vendanges (bit.ly/2Vg3iBk) was cleared away. Judging by the amount of confetti around the town centre it must have been a wild party. Wandered out to the Tourist info centre and stocked up with brochures. Then to supermarket for provisions. We have a washing machine. Clean clothes - yay!

Despite the fully equipped kitchen the home-cooked Co-Op pizza was only so so. The local Pinot Noir helped. Slow travel rocks.

Previous reports at . . .

Day to day reports and pictures on the way. Subscribe for updates.

Last modified on Dec 11, 2019 - 9:35 AM by rockoyster
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Ildiko
Ildiko
1010 posts
top member &
moderator
Dec 11, 2019 - 4:07 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

cannot wait for the pictures ;) Thank you in advance!

Thanks, Ildiko

Last modified on Dec 12, 2019 - 3:07 PM by Ildiko
rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 12, 2019 - 1:46 AM

This is a random selection of photos taken in Neuchâtel during our 6 night stay - photos.app.goo.gl/ZayC7NZKNGAyvQpG7.

We found the town to be a great base for exploring the area. The www.myswissalps.com/forum/topic/neuchtel-tourist-card">Neuchatel Card which was provided by our accommodation covered almost all our travel for the whole time we were there. It not only covers an extensive transport network but also comes with numerous coupons for entry to various attractions.

The only time we broke out the Swiss Half-fare Card was for a boat trip to Biele and the return trip from Biele as far as La Neuveville where the Neuchâtel card kicked in again.

Our accommodation was slap bang in the heart of the old town and surrounded by a maze of narrow alleys and walkways. It's a fascinating place. The waterfront promenade is not quite up to Montreux's standard but lovely nontheless.

We had originally booked 4 nights at the Hotel des Alpes et Lac due to it's proximity to the station. The last minute change to 6 nights (we traded in 2 nights in Colmar for 2 extra nights in Neuchâtel) in the self contained apartment was a real winner. Whilst we lost the view the Hotel offered, getting from the station was no problem as buses run from the station to Place Pury every few minutes. There is also the Funable which takes people from the station on the hill down the the University precinct which is only a 10 minute stroll from the old town.

Boulangeries and chocolate shops abound and there are many fabulous food and wine outlets (see bit.ly/30KkjFb).

Autumn is roast chestnut season and there are stalls in just about every town you visit.

More on our meanderings to come.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7535 posts
expert
Dec 12, 2019 - 8:43 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster-

The pictures really capture the feeling of being in Neuchatel. I enjoyed them all. Those guys with the cowbells are quite loud......

It is nice to have access to a washing machine. What we call laundromats here in the northern colonies are scarce in Switzerland.

The Alps on the horizon are spectacular. You had some excellent weather for those shots.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 12, 2019 - 9:46 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks, appreciate that. Weather-wise wait until you see the conditions on the lake when we went from Neuchâtel to Biel. But, I did manage a shot of your Ligerz church. 😉

Nwenning1
Nwenning1
23 posts
new member
Dec 12, 2019 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for posting about your Neuchatel stay, it looks beautiful! We will be there at the Hotel des Alpes et Lac starting 17 December for 4 days. The Neuchatel Card information is very helpful.

Nancee

Mark
Mark
572 posts
top member
Dec 12, 2019 - 1:57 PM

Hi Rockoyster

I agree with Slowpoke the pictures are great. Perhaps living all my life in the Smokey Mountains has given me an unnatural affinity for mountains in general but I was immediately drawn to the pictures of the Alps across the lake. Looks like a great trip.

Mark

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 15, 2019 - 4:25 AM in reply to Nwenning1

Hi Nancee,

The Neuchâtel Card includes around 30 coupons for free entry to assorted museums and other attractions.

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 15, 2019 - 4:35 AM

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.

Last modified on Dec 15, 2019 - 4:40 AM by rockoyster
Suzanne
Suzanne
344 posts
top member
Dec 15, 2019 - 9:20 AM

Hello rockoyster,

Thank you for the taking the time to post an insightful and descriptive travel report of Neuchâtel. I especially love seeing all the photos of Lake Biel and the Ligerz Church. I hope you were able to try some of the wine from that region because they are truly hidden gems.

Thanks again for your continuous and wonderful contributions to MySwissAlps. I appreciate it!

Best wishes,

Suzanne

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 15, 2019 - 10:27 AM in reply to Suzanne
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
7535 posts
expert
Dec 15, 2019 - 12:51 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster -

If you ever get a chance to actually go to that church, there are some interesting architectural details to study.

Next time I'm in the archives, I'll see if I can find a few.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Dec 23, 2019 - 10:07 AM
Peterli
Peterli
1192 posts
top member
Feb 12, 2020 - 6:25 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hello Rockoyster,

For some reason I completely missed this thread when you originally posted it, in early December. This was around the time I was preparing to go for Christmas at my sister's in the USA, and I was not following MySwissAlps very much. I have just finished reading through the entire thread, and it was fun to see your reaction to things and places that are familiar to me. As I read through all the posts, I kept asking myself, "did they see ____?" and "did they see ____?" Then I went back and clicked on your sets of photos, and saw that for many of my questions, the answer was "yes" ! I should add that you have a good eye for composition.

It sounds as if you arrived during the aftermath of la Fête des Vendanges. And yes, there is confetti everywhere. I remember going to school by tram and when the doors of the tram opened as we were preparing to climb aboard, we were greeted with a facefull of confetti launched by some kid already aboard. Now there is a special event on the last day of la Fête, where an area close to the Hôtel de Ville is reserved for an enormous confetti "fight" for young and not-so-young. Here is a video I made a couple of years ago: youtu.be/go3Flksc3FA If you come back to Neuchâtel, keep in mind that la Fête is always the last weekend that is fully in September, so this year it will be September 25 - 27.

Peterli (adding -li to a first name is the diminutive, usually for children)

Last modified on Feb 12, 2020 - 6:35 AM by Peterli
rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 12, 2020 - 6:42 AM in reply to Peterli

Hi Peterli,

I wondered where you had been and noticed you returning to the fray recently.

The confetti fight looks like a lot of fun and sure does explain the aftermath we found on arrival.

We really enjoyed our stay in Neuchâtel.

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