Saturday, 9 August 2008

Switzerland - It's Very Swiss

After a thrilling Saturday night in the Ibis above the McDonalds in Chur, we set off on Sunday morning for Interlaken. The road took us through a couple of very high mountain passes, past Alpine meadows full of sedate Swiss cows, snow capped peaks and round literally hundreds of hair pin bends. After my experience at Mt Washington I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the drive and after a while, quite frankly, I was rather fed up. In fact, at the time my feeling was thus - once you’ve seen one Alpine meadow, one snow capped peak, one mountain pass and one sedate Swiss cow with obligatory bell round neck, you’ve seen them all. And, due to the wiggliness of the roads it took what felt like forever (about 5 hours) to get to Interlaken which as the crow flies was only about 2 inches away on the map. Poor hubby wasn’t exactly impressed by my attitude of fed up-ness.

Still, we finally made it to Interlaken which has the most beautiful setting between (as the name suggests) two lakes, both of which look like the Swiss Tourist Board has been out touching them up for the postcards and tourist photos - the bluey-green colour is quite stunning. The town is at the foot of the three huge mountains - the Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch - which certainly make for a pretty picture. This is the view of said mountains from our hotel balcony.

The town itself isn’t too bad – it’s quite touristy with lots of shops selling Swiss products (Toberlerones, penknives, expensive watches and cow bells) and there are also lots of restaurants and bars. But one really good thing about it being so touristy is the fact that, despite the fact it was Sunday, the shops were actually open! I had become somewhat disillusioned with Switzerland on our drive to Interlaken since all along the route none of the shops were open; it wasn’t that I wanted to buy anything, but I find it a little disconcerting when entire towns are closed. It can be a bit like that in the rest of Europe on Saturday afternoons or during the inordinately long lunch hours that shop keepers seem to take – the entire town/village is like something from Day of the Living Dead, there’s not a soul to be seen. Most odd and very disconcerting to those of us from countries where shopping is seen as a past time, and is most definitely something which is to be undertaken on a Sunday.

So, I told hubby in no uncertain terms that Switzerland was not going to be a future holiday destination and we decided to spend just one night in Interlaken before setting off the next morning for the joys of France.

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