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Published: March 26th 2016
After witnessing the breath-taking Matterhorn near Zermatt, we wondered if the next leg of our trip would be as exciting as the past few days had been. In this smallish nation, which ranks as only the 132nd
largest in the world, how much more can there be to see? We had already witnessed so many beautiful sights…..could there be more? Absolutely!
The next stop on our journey would take us to Interlaken. Once again, we were able to take a train, which is rapidly becoming our favorite way to travel. This time, we would need to take three trains to get to our next destination and we almost didn’t get off at the right station, save for Merry Jo literally saying, “I think this is our stop.” Smart girl, as it turned out to be the right stop in Interlaken.
Our approach from the south and west provided some stunning vistas on a clear and sunny day. The weather has been most cooperative here in late winter, early spring and we are reaping the benefits. The town is situated between lakes Thun and Brienz. It also serves as a jumping off point for the nearby mountains, including the Eiger. Lauterbrunnen & Grindelwald
Three years ago when Dave and I began to plan his birthday trip to Switzerland (which we thought was happening three years ago ) we contacted Nina and Markus to gather information on Switzerland. Nina sent an amazing list of ideas and suggestions which we used to plan our recent trip. She sent her list of ideas, then I sent email saying the trip has been postponed. A year later I asked let her know we were planning the trip again and did she have any additional ideas. She sent a couple and then again I had to write and explain the trip was postponed. After the third time I imagine she began to wonder if we should ever make it to Switzerland.
Ah ha! We finally made it.....
Nina and Markus live in Thun and once again it was a thrill to meet fellow travelers. Markus took us hiking near Lauterbrunnen where we were surrounded yet again by the unbelievable beauty of the Swiss mountains. We never tire of the views, especially because we both grew up in relatively flat parts of the States. The hike was a bit strenuous for
us, as were are not getting any younger and our bodies are more used to sea level as opposed to 5000 feet plus altitudes. So our walk was more of a stroll....There is something incredibly relaxing about sipping hot chocolate, watching skiers and hang gliders enjoy their sport among this wonderful landscape.
We journeyed through Grindelwald and then drove along the beautiful lake at sunset, stopping in Thun for a short walk. It is a wonderful town with a great feel to it. We wished we could have spent more time there, but we were headed to Nina and Markus’ house for an authentic Swiss dinner. What a treat! We sampled some fantastic foods as we “cooked” our own dinner. The time we spent with them both was wonderful and we could have stayed up all night talking with them about our lives and travel. Being with kindred spirits will so that to you…..
Nina and Markus have been wonderful hosts and we feel like we have new friends. We hope our paths will cross again. holamundo
What a great day with great people.
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Dave in front of the Guggisberg church Uncovering the Binkley Roots
Where Peter Binkley was baptized early in the 1700's
The next day was a very special one, as we headed to Guggisberg, in the canton of Bern. The reason for our sojourn to this little town in a remote part of the country is that over 300 hundred years ago, Dave’s great, great, great, great, grandfather was born and baptized here in this village in the hills. He immigrated to the States in 1736. Dave’s parents had been here in the 1970s for the same reason, so it was a thrill to be in the same town. We spent some time wandering the tiny environs, visiting the church and the local graveyard, where distant relatives of Dave lie resting. Dave would tell you that it is pretty surreal to be a in a place where centuries ago, the man that would immigrate to the then British Colonies was born and baptized.
Now…how to best celebrate after an event like this??? Why cheese, of course! When you are in Switzerland (or France for that matter) it is great to indulge in this fine food. We headed southwest to Gruyères, well known for this wonderful dairy product. The town is up on
a hill and is high on the cute factor, with its quaint shops inside the walls of this ancient town. La Maison du Frommage (the House of Cheese) is just down the hill from the original town and Merry Jo was in cheese heaven in this place. We indulged in some of the goods and took some cheese with us for later….
Then it was on to our final stop, just across the border in France, in Divonne Les Bains. This is a very sleepy spa town this time of year and we considered this a good thing, as we were somewhat fatigued with all the fun we have been having these past seven weeks. We basically rested during our short stay and recharged for the next part of our journey, as more excitement loomed ahead. A day celebrating music!
It was our last day in Switzerland and we had a grand day planned….first around Lake Geneva to take just a quick peak at Montreaux, which is well known as a tourist destination and home of a quite famous jazz festival each year. As it was late March, our plan was simply to find the
Dinner with Nina and Markus
Great people....great food!
iconic statue of Freddie Mercury (of Queen fame), take a short walk along the waterfront and move on. It is worth the effort. For whatever reason, this statue is placed right by the shore of the lake near the casino. Seems Freddie fell in love with the area long ago and had a home here.
Then it was on to Bern…..our last night in this wonderful country. In January, we had been on the Legendary Blues Cruise and got to see Mr. Sipp and his group again. If you’re a fan of the blues, this gent brings the whole package. Turns out through some internet sleuthing that he was playing in Bern on the night we were there! Kismet….it was meant to be. We scored the tickets back in January and were incredibly stoked to see some great live music in a small venue. It’s part of the annual Bern Blues Festival, which is an annual event. We were in blues heaven for a short time and it was great to see them again. We befriended Stanley Dixon, Jr., their drummer on the cruise and we feel they were genuinely surprised to see us. Nothing like a good live
View of the mountains from a town know for its cheese
blues performance to wrap up an incredibly wonderful part of our journey…. Farewell for now to Switzerland
And so it was time to leave…..we only have a few days left before returning stateside. On to Paris for a few days, then London….then home. Switzerland is an amazingly beautiful country with lots to offer. We will not hide the fact that it is an expensive destination, but for us….well worth the Swiss francs…..
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