Finally getting round to writing my last report on this year’s holiday!
Picking up from where I left off in my last post – August 1st – Swiss National Day.
Our hosts had invited us to join them for a celebratory meal that evening so we didn’t want to go too far afield during the day. In previous years we have tended to visit Bern on poor weather days so we decided to break that habit and go on a pleasant day instead. It’s only a short train ride from Thun and we asked in the tourist office at the station in Bern which bus to catch to go to the Rosengarten - we had only paid a very brief visit there as part of a guided tour many years ago (on a rainy day!) so it was lovely to take time wandering around the rose beds and admiring the views of the city and also the water-lily pond. We sat on a bench to eat our lunch and watched the other visitors enjoying their day out (it was a popular choice for local families it seemed). The evening get-together was very pleasurable, a lovely meal, lively conversation in a mixture of German and English and some fireworks in the garden to round off the celebrations.
The following day we embarked on another new excursion – to Appenzell, where we enjoyed wandering around taking photos of the fascinating decorated buildings. Thanks to the online timetable it was easy to work out the route from Thun and as ever we enjoyed the journey as well as the destination. Though we nearly had a mishap as Mike left his prescription sunglasses on the local train from Gossau to Appenzell – we went to the ticket office and explained to the lady there what had happened and she telephoned the next station along the line to ask the driver to look for them so we could collect them from him as the train came back along the line! So we waited for it to return (about half an hour) and were able to collect them from the driver as promised! Again the efficient Swiss railways to the rescue!
The next day we had a rest day as it was again very hot early then stormy.
A drizzly day followed so we visited the Kambly biscuit factory where we bought lots of biscuits to bring home with us. We went a long way round to get back by going via Lucerne and Interlaken – we know that route pretty well by now!
I was a bit tired next day so Mike went off on his own to visit Nyon – yet another new destination! With his STP he was able to visit the castle and the Roman Museum which he found very interesting and he also took some nice photographs of the lake from a vantage point up high. He really enjoyed his history day out.
We had seen advertisements earlier in the week for an excursion on an “Old-timer bus” around Lake Thun and booked seats so that was our Sunday afternoon treat. The weather was lovely so we had the roof open on the bus and enjoyed seeing all the people who were having a day out by the lake – not a parking place free all along the way as folk took advantage of the fine weather to have picnics, sunbathe and go swimming. We stopped for ice-cream and drinks at Manor Farm and enjoyed a long conversation (in German) with the bus driver. Then we resumed the drive along the South side of the lake which we normally only see from the train. A very pleasant and relaxing afternoon.
Our hosts had discovered that in all our visits to Switzerland we had not tried cheese fondue so had invited us to join them again that evening for what they called a “Swiss winter dinner” – apparently only tourists eat fondue in the summer! They had also found out that I am not very fond of cheese so cooked me my favourite Swiss meal of Bratwurst, Rösti and onion gravy! So we had another great evening with good food and company.
Our last day came and we went by bus to Interlaken to visit Gabriela Schild again and found she had carved an eagle for Mike because she knew he wanted one and there wasn’t one in stock when we went there earlier. We took the bus back and stopped off in Oberhofen to have lunch at one of our favourite little cafes, before going back to tackle the packing! In the early evening our host took us to the station to check in our cases and collect boarding passes for our flight back next day. We spent our last morning making sure the apartment was clean and tidy before our trip back to the UK.
We had a really lovely holiday as usual and will be back next year. One or two final comments:-
As there is no longer a month-long Swiss Travel Pass we had purchased two 15-day ones each which seemed an expensive way of doing things but my calculations on our return show that we still saved a lot of money and enjoyed the convenience of being able to be spontaneous with our travelling and visiting museums. The Engadine Pass provided by our hotel in St. Moritz had also allowed us to make as many trips on mountain transport as we liked.
People may also notice that we didn’t visit the most popular tourist spots like Jungfraujoch, Pilatus, Titlis etc. but we were making a conscious effort to visit new destinations we hadn’t been to before, often less busy places, and we succeeded in that aim. Because we have the luxury of staying for a month we are able to take a relaxed attitude where the occasional “day off” without rushing off somewhere every day suits our age and fitness levels better. We also enjoyed this year a mixture of hotel living for the first week then the “living and shopping like the locals” of self-catering for the last three weeks. Plus of course our hosts treat us like friends not customers these days which is an added bonus.
After so many visits Switzerland feels very much like a home from home to us now and we are already making plans for next year!
Best wishes to all in the forum and to those still anticipating their visit we hope you have a lovely time.
will send more pictures as add-on post in case files are too big