Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bears and Snow

Reposted from

Todays trip was to Bern, the capitol of switzerland. The trip is an easy trip on many of the trains that leave from Interlaken Ost. The morning part was a semi-guided tour through the rose garden that wasent blooming, and to the bear pits where pedro the bear was out today in his bear pit. We also got to go to the old town, and got a magnificent viewing of the 16th centuary cathedral there. While we were there someone started paying the organ and it sounded so beautiful in there. i wish i could have stayed there longer however, we all went to go watch the clock ring in 11 oclock. many of the big clocks perform shows and this one did a little bit but i wish i could have stayed in the church, the building was spectacular, even if it had been gutted in the 17th centuary with changes in the church, and the organ and accoustics in there were so wonderful it was breathtaking.

Anyways after that we went on a ride out to Worf Dorf on the "G" interurban and than transferred to an S bahn back to the Haubahnhof. At arriving back at the Hbf, we rode a #9 tram out to the end of the line to a funicular, and took the Gurten Bahn funicular up to park at the top of the hill and back, than we rode the funicular back down to the bottom of the hill, which is was raining today so the traffic was really light on the line. We got on an Sbahn back to the Hbf, had lunch at the McD's there, than jim went back to the hotel and i went out to ride buses and trams. I rode the the #3 line out to the loop at the end of the line, and back, a #20 Trolleybus to the end of its line, than the Sbahn back to the Hbf from the station, which is unique as it was a 4 track station, but in a wye, so two tracks were near the "station" and a ways out were the other two tracks. Afterwards i got on a #9 streetcar, and rode out to the end of the line and it was packed. i found out everyone was going to an ice hocky game. Upon arrival at the Hbf i than got on a #12 rode it to the short end, and walked back to the station with some side deviation through the neighborhoods to check things out. Everyone walks in switzerland and for the most part its very pedistrian friendly. I than took an IC train back to Interlaken for the tour meeting, and upon completion of that since the bar is closed took a bus through town (saw the only sex shop i have seen in switzerland) and had pizza. since it was so late, we took an ICE train (really wasent an ICE train as it had older SBB corail equipment on it instead of an ICE train. After that got a bus back to the hotel. Tommorw is a jaunt up towards the joungfrau than thursday the matterhorn, and friday onto germany for the hartz mountains.

Todays adventure to the alps was suppose to be taking the BOB train to Lauterbrunnen to transfer to an gondola to get to the narrow guage railway to get to the town of Murien tan go back to Lauterbrunnen and take the narrow guage train to Kleine Scheidegg than back through Gridndenwald. an avalanche put and end to that plan, so after arriving at Lauterbrunnen, we broke off from the group which went back to Interlaken due to poor weather conditons, rode the gondola up to the top of the hill. This gondola is intresting as it also carries frieght on the lower level since Murien is private-car free. There are commericial vehicles up there. We rode the narrow guage train, which uses full size electric railcars (how did they get them up there?!?!?!) like you would find on any electric line into Murien, however when we got to the top it was snowing so bad we dident stay long, and infact the train we rode into town was forging a new path as the railhead was already covered in fresh snow. did get quite a few beautiful pictures though of the show and mountains and trees and what have you. The train also has a flatcar behind to haul the freight from the cable railway. After coming back from that we decided to ride up to Kleine Scheidegg via the open route since the rail lines form a loop through the area. The ride up was quite scenic, and was fogged in for the most part. Upon arriving at Kleine Schiedegg we purchased itms at the gift shop, took pictures of me riding the red swiss cow (a popular tourest symbol), saw a st. bernard with cask strapped on his neck, and had lunch at the resturant there. After lunch, we took a train back down the hill. After getting back to Lauterbrunnen, we rode back up to Murien, this time more people were on the train, it was just us before, and took the other gondola back down the hill. we were going to ride up to the Schilthorn, but it was clsoed Got some rare mileage on this gondola though, since the main gondola to Stechelberg through Gimmelwald was closed, we got to ride the freight gondola direct to Stechelberg. The line was a near vertical drop down, probally in the 70-80% range. After getting down, we took a postal bus back to Lauterbrunnen, and rode the line up to Grindenwald and back. at Griendenwald we met a couple of other people on our tour who had rode the first train through since the avalanche. Got back to the hotel around 6 this evening. 2 More nights here, tommorw going to the matterhorn than off to germany and home. As much as i love this country, i cant wait to get home.

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