Niederhorn

Like any country you get some grim weather days. Maybe it was just luck but we seemed to get very few of those days in Switzerland. But you still can exploit the day. Put on your waterproofs and see what you can find.

The Niederhorn is a mountain which overlooks Lake Thun. From our preferred hotel it was a 10 minute ferry trip. Then it’s a funicular train and cable car to the top.

Or as I did once do the ferry and mountain run it to the top. When I say run I’m using a very loose definition of that word. It’s definitely a thigh trembler.

The Nierderhorn is 1950m (6450ft) high. To add to its height you have a huge Television Antenna at its top. It’s 90m tall and it is seriously impressive. You get dizzy looking up. I had visions of Baron Frankenstein waiting for a lightning strike to bring life to his creation.

Even on a grim day you get stunning views across the lake and to the Alps.

A lovely little restaurant at the top allows you to enjoy the mountains in the distance while enjoying your hot chocolate or when I ran up the mountain – copious amounts of Swiss Lager for purely medicinal purposes.

Sat at the restaurant table drinking in the views. Watching a golden eagle soar. Enjoying the peace and quiet. Relaxing. Switzerland delivers again. It really always does.

Swiss Sunday and relax

It’s Swiss Sunday again. A time to breathe and relax.

Often we would arrive in Switzerland on a Saturday. Completely stressed out with families, work, money, life. But on that train heading towards Spiez the holiday has started. Two Swiss Beers and it’s time to forget the world for a few days. You can feel the stress levels ebbing away as the mountain scenery passes by.

Sunday was the day of Total Relaxation. No busy shops. No frustrations. No anger. Just the peaceful sound of water lapping on the shore. Cow bells in the distance. The occasional ring of church bells. A time to just stroll and take in the views.

Then a leisurely trip to Interlaken. This really is the correct pace for life.

The train could get you there within 10 minutes. But what’s the hurry. Sit on the boat and just relax for 90 minutes.

Interlaken has a wonderful little Japanese Garden. The Garden of Friendship. Another chance for peace and tranquility.

In a world where stress levels are so high. We need places like Switzerland on a Sunday. Now breathe.

Swiss Water

It’s Swiss Sunday. Which means it’s Sunday and it’s time to indulge in a bit of Switzerland.

When my partner first took me to Switzerland I’m not sure what I was expecting. Mountains definitely. A beautiful country definitely. Brilliant transport without a doubt. Chocolate. Much Swiss cheese – probably. Yodelling – hopefully. Hardly any water – surely as it’s landlocked.

Now I can confirm it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It has mountains – lots of them. The transport is beyond precise. It is Chocolate Heaven. Swiss Cheese is very nice. Yodelling does happen but Swiss Culture is so varied and puts our culture to shame. It’s still treasured.

But I was hideously wrong on the water assumption.

If water is your thing then Switzerland is perfect. Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Rapids, Streams. All stunning. All with a unique Alpine Colour and Sound.

Lakes and mountains are the perfect combination.

One warning. The alpine water can be on the chilly side. Brace yourself.

Swiss Sunday with a hint of Bond.

It’s Swiss Sunday. It’s time to be shaken not stirred.

We start again from the stunning mountain village of Murren and we are heading up to the top of the Schilthorn. A world famous mountain standing at 9744ft.

Only two ways to the top. A series of Cable Car rides. Not for the faint hearted. Once it was the longest aerial cable car in the world.

The other way is to try the gruelling 5 hour trek up a narrow mountain dirt path.

The mountain was featured in the 1969 James Bond movie – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. At the top you can visit the Bond Museum. It even has a cinema. The photo below is one of the mountains promo stills.

The Schilthorn has a wonderful revolving restaurant. It slowly turns and completes a full rotation in just under one hour. It’s a tremendous experience sat having lunch and gazing out of the window as the stunning mountain scenery moves slowly round.

There is a third way down but it’s not for me…

Suspect my butt would need a bigger chute.

Apparently you can see over 200 different summits from here. I remember son telling me

Close down the cable car and this would be the perfect place to live.

It really would be. A little chilly during winter but those views. You would never tire of them.

Switzerland National Day

I try to avoid multiple posts in one day. But sometimes…..

I was going to do this on my very own Swiss Sunday but a good buddy changed my mind.

Not only is it Yorkshire Day. But it also happens to be Switzerland’s National Day. Today in that great country it’s a national holiday. Church bells ring out at 8pm. Beacon fires are lit. Flags and bunting are everywhere. Wonderful communal celebrations. Fireworks are set off. Much great food and drink are consumed.

So to my favourite country on this planet – Happy Switzerland Day from Yorkshire. xxx

To Lauterbrunnen

It’s Sunday which means it’s Switzerland.

We left last week in Murren – the stunning Swiss Mountain Village. It’s time to head down into the valley and towards Lauterbrunnen. You only have three options. Train, cableway or walk it. The easy option is easy. 42 trains a day running to legendary Swiss punctuality. The walk is 5.8km and takes just under 3 hours. But it’s all downhill.

It takes you through alpine Forests with frequent stunning views of the Eiger, Moench and the Jungfrau. You cross multiple streams and are never too far away from the towering waterfalls.

Lauterbrunnen is the home to the Stabbauch Falls which is Europe’s highest free falling waterfall. A drop of 297 metres. If you like waterfalls you need to pay this place a visit. I remember being told that you can visit over 70 of them here.

Next week I think it’s time for a bit of Bond and Blofeld.

Murren

Switzerland does spectacularly beautiful mountain villages probably none more so than Murren. It sits at 5374ft above sea level with stunning views of some of the worlds finest mountains.

We ventured here a few times. The photos are taken from an Easter visit when an early heat wave cleared out the village snow. For some reason it’s the only place in Switzerland we came across a fully grown St Bernard. Now that was a big fella.

It is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations. The village has just over 400 residents so you might expect limited facilities. It has 10 hotels with 2000 hotel beds, 11 restaurants and 2 bars. It is also home to The Inferno, the worlds longest Amateur Downhill Ski Race. Unbelievably it’s about 5 times the length of an Olympic Downhill. That must be some tight buttocks at the end of that.

It’s a car free place – that’s right no double parking here. The village cannot be reached by public road. You can only get here by mountain train or cable car.

Next Sunday lets hopefully enjoy a glorious walk down from Murren to Lauterbrunnen or maybe we will head upwards towards a bit of James Bond…

Breathe

It’s Sunday so it’s time for a bit of Switzerland.

The Alps are one of the worlds greatest mountain ranges. Certainly not the tallest but they are big enough. Especially when you get close up to them.

But what they do have is a magic. A special atmosphere.

A place where it’s still possible to feel small. Humble in the face of nature.

A place where you feel a million miles from our vast urban sprawls.

Somewhere you can reconnect and just breathe.

Swiss Play Days From a different time

It’s Sunday and it’s time for a bit of Switzerland.

We would walk along the lake edge until we came to this little kids playground. No expensive attractions here. Just good old fashioned play equipment. Our son loved it. While he played we could just drink in the view. One small fence and two paces away from the water. Is this one of the most picturesque playgrounds in the world.

Life seemed so much simpler then. It was at a time when my partner was fit and filled with life. A time before Aspergers had kicked in. A happy stress free young boy with a shed load of good friends. I felt like a member of the human race.

A few minutes after this photo was taken son was happily talking to a Swiss Chap (man stretching in the photo) about Dr Who and the Daleks. Poor man didn’t speak English and was completely perplexed. Later we did try to explain to him what our son had been talking about. Funnily our German was a bit ropey on some of the Dr Who words. Never thought we would need the German for Time Lord, Cybermen, Tardis, Gallifrey, Skaro and Sonic Screwdrivers. Anyway the man was going to see if he could find a German version of Dr Who on the internet.

Oh for a Tardis now. Oh for that playground now.

Kapellbrücke

Not often am I speechless. But walking along a centuries old wooden structure trying to work out if I should look at the glorious Swiss mountains, or if I should look at the beautiful city architecture, or the beautiful alpine river, or the stunning historical artwork or just look at one of the worlds greatest bridges.

Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) is a glorious wooden bridge which runs over the river in Lucerne. The bridge was erected in 1365. It is the oldest surviving Truss Bridge in the world. In 1993 a devastating fire struck the bridge almost destroying it. Before the fire 147 of the original 17th century paintings were on display in the bridge. After the fire only 30 could be saved. But the bridge was restored to its former glory and reopened a year later.

Frustration today. I came across these photos which jogged so many wonderful memories. But I can’t find the photos of the bridge interior or the family enjoying the experience. Particularly poignant as only 2 of the party of 4 are still here today. Almost like the bridges artwork. But the search continues. Kapellbrücke should be on any bucket list of things you need to see before you …..