Another wee walk in the hills, Switzerland,June 2016

This holiday is similar to my last one to Switzerland with a few differences along the way.

Friday 24th June

The first difference was that I decided to travel to London overnight using the sleeper service departing Edinburgh at 23.40, not in a sleeping berth but in a seat. I don’t think I could sleep properly in a berth. The train departed 3 minutes late, no on board ticket check took place , stopped at Carstairs to enable Glasgow train to join up, stopped in Carlisle then Preston. Arrived at London Euston with no on board announcement, only knew arrived by looking out window. Arrive 1 hour early, 6.15 not 7.07!

Saturday 25th June London to Metz

Had to check in with Great Rail from around 9.01 am, hence the overnight travel. It was an easy walk between Euston and St Pancras using the signposted walking route between the two.  Had to wait on shops/cafe’s opening to get something to eat. Our Eurostar departed at 11.01 arriving at Paris Gare du Nord at 14.17, time to kill to allow transfer by coach to Gare D’Est with TGV departing at 15.40 and getting us to Metz at 17.03, where we checked into the Mercure in the centre of town.

Straight forward journey throughout the day. Plenty of time to relax. Tour Manager Iain doesn’t seem to have same knowledge as Alex regarding places, also doing the admin differently.

Sunday 26th June Metz to Kandersteg

Day of rail travel basically. After breakfast walked round Metz but went further than last August to see more of the town. as our departure was later, almost lunchtime. Then it was trains, platforms and stations,  not mush else.

Fountains in park in Metz

Metz Opera House

This journey had more splits in it than last time. Metz to Mulhouse, wait, then Mulhouse to Basel (despite first train going all the way to Basel. Then Basel to Spiez, switch trains after wee wait then Spiez to Kandersteg. Eventually arrived at Hotel Bernerhof – same as last time – about 19.00 and was given same room as last time.

After evening meal Doris from the local tourist office gave a very nice outline of our stay from her perspective.

Monday 27th June Kandersteg

Day of walking, initially to Blauchsee then on to Fruitigen. Walk was a different start to last August. Went towards railway station, under the bridge then on other side climbed up hill. Great views over Kandersteg on that first stretch. Then picked up previous walk route but, instead of diverting onto main road then through site visitor centre we went in through the back door to Blausee.

Lady of the Lake, Blausee

The extension to Fruitegen was much better than last year, smaller group, better pace, we did the extension to the ruin without actually going up and looking in it. It was a nicer way to finish that walk. Got the bus back to town. Enjoyed it very much.

Tuesday 28th June Interlaken

Today was just like last year, trains, bus, cable cars and steam boat. Didn’t have a long break for lunch as we didn’t go near the restaurant midway on the walk from Murren. Still enjoyed it.

Wednesday 29th June Kandersteg

Again very similar to the one last August up to Oeschinensee. The route after the cable car to the restaurant was different. After that of course the route up and down was same, there is no other option. Managed it better than last time, walking poles helped. The walk down from Oeschinensee used a different route helping to make a welcome difference.

Restuarant and Lake

Thursday 30th June Kandersteg

This one was different to last time. This intermediate walk was a welcome change. The trip to Sunnbuel by bus and cable car. This walk then took us to Arvenseeli flower meadow then along the flower strewn path towards Stock looking down the gorge on one side. Back up to the cable car station crossing the mountain bike track as a few went down. Their bikes are secured underneath the cable car for the ride-up. Back at the bottom didn’t take the bus back to town instead walked along River Kander.

Flowers along the path

Friday 1st July Kandersteg

Today was my 60th birthday, hence the reason for the trip. After speaking to Doris at the Tourist Office yesterday afternoon she gave me a couple of maps for Thun as I had decided to spend most of the day there. Not very many of the group decided to do this. I only met a couple of them at the station. Took the 9.13 train to Thun, walked around river bank and through the town. In to some shops, had coffee and cake for lunch. Got train back early afternoon, then short walk along River Kander.

I got a text from Susan and Mum, nothing from anyone else. Nothing done by Great Rail even though they have my d.o.b., glad of that. Only people I told beforehand were at the hotel and Doris. I didn’t tell anyone  on the group.

Saturday 2nd July Kandersteg to London

We left Kandersteg later than last time and took a different route back to London. Kandersteg, to Berne, then onto Basel, into Paris Gare de Lyon, transfer to Gare du Nord and arrived in London at 21.40. Walk to hotel. Just a day of travelling by rail, hanging around rail stations wating on connections.

Sunday 3rd July

Final journey leaving Kings Cross at 11.00. Due to ScotRail rail strike was glad I had taken my car up to Edinburgh and parked near mum’s to make it easier getting home.

There were enough differences in timetable and activities to make this different. Allied to the fact I was lighter in weight and have managed my Type 2 Diabetes better I enjoyed it more. Not sure I would repeat this specific holiday until several years have passed.

Photos for the holiday can be found here.

About Stuart Smith

Exist in North Berwick, East Lothian, support Fair Trade and Fairtrade, support a common voting system for all elections using STV PR,
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