Between the Lakes
Interlaken – Monday June 24, 2013
I have always loved travelling by train in Europe. The stations in bigger cities are old and often grand in design and there is a buzzing liveliness and a sense of history and adventure. A feeling that in a short space of time you could be transported to a place that is completely different to your own. Our two hour trip from Zurich to Interlaken did not disappoint. The train station is Zurich is vast with over 50 platforms. Once on the train and settled I could breathe a sigh of relief and settle back as the train started to glide out of the station silently and the scenery started to unfold.
The carriage was almost full and while at first it was also silent, soon the cabin was filled with chatter in a a number of different languages. The clatter and the aroma of the coffee cart moving through the isle completed the scene for me.
Across the isle from us sat a lovely Swiss lady, well into her 80’s, travelling alone to Interlaken to go hiking. We both noticed how alive and spritely she looked. It may seem ordinary to some, but for me it was inspiring.
Rain and cold greeted us when we arrived at the Interlaken Ost station. We found our accommodation, checked in and sat out on foot explore the town and see how much we could recollect from 20 years ago. Not much, as it turns out memory can be unreliable. We did not recognize much of the townscape and while trying to find the familiar landmarks we found so much more of the old Interlaken.
We found the guesthouse we stayed in 20 years ago. I had wanted to stay here again but it is was booked out months ago. We eventually located the church in which we were married.
We eventually made it to the main street that connects the east and west railways stations and here we discovered a different Interlaken. Coachloads of tourists from China, India and the Arab Gulf flocked the street and the luxury watch shops. It was quite schitzoid really as you could walk a block back from the main street and it was old world charm, calm and quite.
The sun came out of hiding for almost an hour and we could almost see the snow capped mountains that ring the valley, but Jungfrau was still shrouded in mist.