Interlaken on 26 Oct, Bern on 27 October 2013

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October 27th 2013
Published: October 31st 2013
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Interlaken on 26 Oct, Bern on 27 October 2013

After leaving Luzern (Lucerne) we headed south, towards Interlaken. The weather was gloomy and on the way to Interlaken, it rained. Fortunately, by the time we got to Interlaken, the sun was out.

The drive between Luzern and Interlaken was very typically Switzerland – snow-capped Alps, bright green plains, two story farm houses, cows grazing, areas were very neat, and the trees were of autumn colours. It was very beautiful.

As you can imagine, because there are so many mountains in Switzerland, there are also many lakes. The next twin set of lakes was Brienzersee (see in German means ‘lake’) and Thunersee. These lakes are separated by a town called Interlaken. From Interlaken, you can catch a train and funicular and cable car to get to Jungfraujoch (3454m) and Jungfrau (4158m). We decided not to do this. It was a case of “you can’t do everything!” We could see the peaks in the distance and both were snow-capped. The snow had only fallen in the past week.

We spent some time in Interlaken. What a lovely little, quaint town. We had lunch in the town and was then on our way. We drove along the shores of the 2 lakes, ooing and ahhing over the scenery that was offered to us. We stopped several times to just take it all in.

The roads were pretty good in Switzerland and there were no delays in stopping to pay tolls as the buying of the vignette replaced the need for tolls. It’s a great system (unless you are in the country for a short time!).

We then drove about 60km to Bern which is the capital of Switzerland. This was very attractive city, with the best preserved medieval town in the country. It is located on raised land in the bend of the Aare River. From the city’s terraces there are spectacular view of the city and across to the peaks of the alps (which were snow-capped).

The city was founded in the 12th century and allegedly named after the first animal – a bear – killed in the forest which previously covered the area. The bear has been the city’s emblem ever since.

We visited the Bear Park which is on the banks of the River. There were 3 bears roaming around in a very large area. It was the morning, so breakfast was “on” when we were watching them. We even saw a bear playing a piano accordion in the street!!!!!

The camp site that our ADAC book listed was closed when we drove there. It was the closest one to the city centre. We decided to park outside its fence which was also near the river. We then took down our bikes and road into the city, mostly along the river. We easily found the CBD and parked/locked out bikes in one of the pedestrian malls. It was Friday night so there was a lot going on in the city.

One thing that Europeans do well that Australians (or is it just Queenslanders) don’t – go out even when it is freezing!!! They rug up and sit down to outside restaurants. I think because there winters are so long, they have to make the most of the times when it isn’t raining, or perhaps snowing.

We walked around the pedestrian malls. This was an occasion when I went for a walk by myself, with the intention of buying some clothes. Typical of me, I ended up buying an extra battery for my camera…..even though I went into 3 dress shops. I am a hopeless shopper!!!!!!

Tom and I met up at a designated spot and time and had a lovely rose. Our waiter told us of a Light Show that was going to be held in the main square of the city….which was watch.

Wow, this was one of the most amazing light-shows we have ever seen. Since 1848 Bern has been the capital of the Confederation of Switzerland. The massive Bundeshaus (Parliament House), is the home to the Swiss Parliament. This building was used for the light show. The show went for 30 minutes. There was a story behind the show that was of course narrated in Swiss-German so we didn’t understand it. However, we saw the changing themes of the story that was being told through the lights that were projected onto the building. When you see the photos you will see what we saw. It was fantastic.

After the light-show, we went back to one of the pedestrian malls and had dinner at one of the restaurants. The city was full of people and action. It was a fantastic atmosphere.

At about 10.00pm we found our bikes and road back to our camper. We often take out GPS with us just in case we might lose our way back!!! We were lucky with the weather – again! Overnight it rained but by the morning it was clear, although foggy.

The next morning, we went to the Bear Park and walked into the old town from the park.

What a lovely old town. It is so well preserved and very functional. We visited the Clock Tower (which dates back to 1530) and waited for the 11.00am hourly chimes and the series of figures – including a bear, jester and a rooster – play out its performance. While we were waiting for the time, we got talking to a young Dutch girl who was working for a Swiss ski holiday company and was handing out brochures for the 2013 ski season. We had a good old chat and collected the brochures to give to our son Adam who loves to ski in different places around the world (when he is not too busy).

After seeing all the shop windows (which were fascinating) we hopped into our camper and headed for Zurich. Our feeling towards Bern was that it was another lovely city. It only has a population of over 200,000 (300,000 if you include the surrounds) so it’s a bit like Canberra in Aust but much, much older.

Additional photos below
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