EUROPE SUMMER 2016 – DAYS 5 AND 6
Day 5 – Relaxing 4th July
After our long day of travelling, we decided to have a day off from being on the road. We spent most of the day relaxing in the sun and reading – with maybe the odd snooze thrown in. Around 6pm we decided that we needed to stock up, so we went off to the small town of Unterseen where we knew there was a Coop. That done, we went for a quick spin around the edge of Lake Thun and then back to the on-site Italian restaurant (Restaurant Landhaust) where we had a very pleasant meal before returning to the van for some strawberries and cream.
I should mention here that, as we had expected, the cost of living in Switzerland is considerably higher than France (or home). What I would consider to be a fairly meagre shop, came to over £70!
Not much more to say about day 5, other than that relaxing by a lake surrounded by mountains is a pretty cool way to spend the day.
Day 6 – Exploring the Mountains 5th July
We set off for our first destination of the day which was Brienz , a town on the banks of Lake Brienz or Brienzersee, the second of the two lakes between which Interlaken is sandwiched and, of course, which gave it its name. I had visited this town as a young teenager and at that time it was famous for its wood carving shops. Uncle Derek had visited not long before me and had given me the money to buy a carved figure for him. Today we could only find one such shop (Huggler) and the cost for a similar figure was a small fortune. Shame.
We went and got a coffee and a pastry at a restaurant on the shores of the lake, and sat for a while drinking in the view. The colour of the lake is incredible.
As we were driving towards, our next destination, Meiringen (alleged birthplace of the meringue!), we saw that someone was using an ex cable car cabin as a shed/garden room in their front garden. Great idea and a nice bit of up-cycling. We saw much hay-making going on. The Swiss make even the smallest patch a source of hay and it looks like very hard labour for the small man. We saw whole families raking, turning and gathering the hay. Important winter fodder in a snowy country, I guess.
From Meiringen, we pressed on up into the mountains, driving through the low cloud and eventually reached the still snowy Susten Pass, which at 2224 metres, is the highest Archie has ever been. We marvelled at the Steinglestcher Glacier, today, sadly considerably smaller than it would have been 100 years ago.
Meandering around in the mountains takes far longer than you would estimate and we eventually found ourselves well over an hour away from home, even by the fastest route, and by now it was late afternoon. We thus picked up the fast road to Lucerne and then bashed back to Interlaken. We so love the mountains and had had a great day. Incidentally – the temperature down in Brienz had been around 24C and up at the pass we recorded only 14C. Brr!