The Hills are Alive, But the Town is Touristville

Biking in Interlaken
Biking in Interlaken

We are saying goodbye to Lake Como today as we travel by car to Lugano, Switzerland to catch a train to Interlaken, Switzerland.  The best part of the train ride is the home stretch on the tiny train into our destination.  The train advertised a scenic zoo along the way and indeed it was.  When we got to the slow mountain climbs through the forest, looking to the left and right at specific intervals, we would see a sculpture of some kind of creature. Bears, wolves, birds, anything indigenous to the area was revealed along the way. It was fun to keep our eyes peeled for the artwork placed along the rail route.  A great deal of work was put into the “ZOO.”

Arriving in Interlaken there are two train stations, east and west.  Getting off at the East Station you find yourself in the mist of luxury, turn of the century hotels. Walking along the Banhof Strasse there is a “high meadow” or park and here are beautiful flower gardens and the landing area for the tandem parasails. The end of the “high meadow” turns into crowded, very touristy shopping areas.  I was so shocked. I thought Interlaken would be a “Heidi” kind of place. It is over-run with tourists and it seems even the tourists own the restaurants and shops. Clearly Interlaken has been sold to the highest bidder and the Swiss have moved on. I am glad we have made this a springboard stop to other alpine areas. Reaching our destination, the Lotschberg Hotel & B&B, we find it is not run by a Swiss family, but has been turned over to caretakers.  Small and clean, the hotel was conveniently located in the old town area, but the only time we saw anyone here was when we would ring the bell at the check in area and eventually someone would come from one of the upper floors to see what we wanted.  The other disappointment was the lower level of the hotel had been turned into a kabab restaurant! So we were up and early everyday to go up the mountain! Maybe that was a blessing after all. We added more alpine villages to our itinerary, only returning to Interlaken at the end of a long day. It turned out perfectly.

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