And we're in Switzerland!
You would not believe the train ride from Chamonix to Interlaken.
It was the most beautiful stretch of land I've ever seen! We were literally on the side of mountains as we went through the Alps. There were waterfalls. Everything was lush and green. We would go through a tunnel and come out overlooking a huge valley. It was absolutely stunning. Curt and I had good intentions of getting some work done on the train, but nope. The view was much too pretty to look away to a laptop screen. I would advise just going to Europe just to take the train from Chamonix into Switzerland. Unbelievable.
We had one little hiccup on our travels to Interlaken, Switzerland. In France, we had gotten quite used to purchasing train tickets on an app as we got on the train. It wasn't at every stop that there was a kiosk to buy tickets, plus sometimes we only had 3 or 4 minutes to get off one train and transfer on to the next one. So we were traveling along, going from train to train in Switzerland. We hopped on a train, without yet having purchased tickets, and settled in. I pulled up the tickets on the app, realized they were like $70 a piece for a 30 minute ride, so I waited to see if the ticket checker came through. A few minutes later, we see the ticket checker coming through and I hit purchase on the app so we would have our tickets to show him. Of course, at this same moment, we go through a tunnel and loose service. So he gets up to us and I tell him I need the internet to finish my ticket purchase, can we wait until we get service again? You would have thought I had asked him if he would do something unspeakable! The look of horror and shock on his face! He proceeded to barrate me about even being a tourist is not an excuse to ever board a train without a ticket. Blah blah blah. Chill, ticket man. So he fined me 10 francs and we all moved on with our lives. Lesson learned: the Swiss take their train tickets verrrry seriously. In France, we just hopped on and bought them from the ticket checker or online. How was I supposed to know getting on a train without a ticket was akin to murdering a puppy? Anyway...
We arrived in Interlaken! Interlaken literally means the land between lakes, as it is. Its tucked in between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. We dropped our bags off at our hotel, then Google Mapped ourselves after some dinner. We ended up at a place called La Laterne. We were NOT disappointed!
For dinner, Curt had roschti, a traditional Swiss dish that basically hash brown style potatoes with sausages or bacon and eggs. I had a mixed meat skewer with french fried and veggies. Whatever they did to food at La Laterne was amazing! It was one of the best meals we had during our whole trip, I'd say! And authentic too! The only other people in there were locals, and we struggled to speak English with our lovely waitress.
The following day, we walked around a bit and looked at the sights in Interlaken. We took a tram up the mountain overlooking Interlaken to a spot called Harder Kulm. From there was a beautiful vista of both of the lakes and the town tucked right in there in between. It was also a hot spot for the paragliders to fly over! We watched dozens of kites in the sky as people glided overhead above the lakes and valley.
The big event of our recon of Interlaken was taking the Jungfraujoch train to "the top of Europe". The train goes to the highest train station in Europe, at above 11,000 feet! AND, Curt's favorite part, we got to pass by the North Face of the Eiger, famous for all the attempts to tame that beast that took many mountaineers' lives.
The experience of going to Jungfraujoch was quite unexpected. The train ride was gorgeous... until we couldn't see anything because the train literally goes under the mountains. The train station where you get off at the top is actually underground, under the summit. You get off the train and onto a "tour route". Along the way as you wind through the underground and make your way up to the top of the mountain, you can go through the Ice Palace, walk through museum-style displays of how they made the tunnel, pass through the Lindt Chocolate Shop, and other touristy odds and ends.
Once we made it up to the top of the station and got outside, the view of the mountains and glaciers were truly fantastic. Curt and I stood out there for a long time just looking at the peaks, glacier movements, ski tracks, and routes.
On the way down from Jungfraujoch, we got a sneak peak of Lauterbrunnen. Just wait until the see those pictures!