Cooling down




Let’s start the day with the tram, shall we?  Our “commute” is so efficient, we can be at the station in just over five minutes.  Yes, we could live here!




We were heading for Brienz today, to take a small steam powered rack railway up the Rothorn.  The weather forecast wasn’t too good, so we chose a destination with a few options, should the rain appear.  Waiting on the station platform this morning, we were standing opposite another favourite advertisement: Battery Man.  (Bring your empty batteries back, he advises)




We took a normal double decker Swiss train to Luzern and then changed to the rather swanky modern Luzern-Interlaken one.  That curved wall on the left of the aisle is the loo – a very large door slid open to reveal a huge cubicle with loo and wash handbasin, which was all very fine until the thought occurred to me whilst using the facility, that perhaps the door lock wasn’t 100% secure…and we went around the corner…and the door might slide open…and reveal the show to everyone sitting in the carriage!!  Oh my goodness!  Thankfully the door was secure and no such horror occurred, but I couldn’t help but think that at some point it might have done!!




No such modern facilities on the century old Brienzer Rothorn train, however.  We sat in open carriages and began the clunky journey up the mountain.  The weather wasn’t too bad, so far, at least.




As soon as we began, the view opened up and the valley below looked lush and green.  The mountains beyond are the same range as we could see from the top of the Nufenen Pass the other day, but this time, we’re looking at the other side of them.




Lake Brienz was that incredible shade of green-blue again today and sitting in the comfort of the open carriage, we were enjoying the fresh air when, was that a spot of rain?




Well, it might have been, but we’ll press on, ignore it and hope it goes away.  That’s the train track below by the way, curving its path through the meadows.




Unfortunately, somewhere nearer the top we couldn’t ignore it any more.  The valley below us was shrouded in mist and it was clear that the weather was changing quickly.  We pulled down the canopy so we could at least stay dry, but it didn’t bode well for the fine views from the summit.




By the time we reached the top, it was blowing a gale, pouring with rain and we were feeling rather chilly.  What happened to the sunshine?  Not only that, but the temperature must have plummeted 15 or 20 degrees in the hour –the combined effect of the altitude and the weather front passing through.  I braved the storm for thirty seconds or so to take this photograph, struggled with my umbrella, which turned inside out and ran back under cover again.  We didn’t feel like going right up there to the top in such conditions and stayed with most of our fellow passengers under the shelter of the terminus building.




Some hardy souls were more determined to visit the restaurant than we were, however!




The next train down was in 30 minutes or so, so we watched the weather and hopped from foot to foot to keep warm.




But as we did, a small chink of light broke in between the clouds.




Ten minutes later, the storm had passed and the air was clear again.  Should we stay or go?  Looking at the numbers of people coming down from the restaurant to the train station convinced us – we should stay in the queue and stick with the plan to return.




The way down was warm and sunny again!  The alpine weather can change in seconds and how pleased we were that it did.




Clear views of the mountains – where we’d been yesterday, the day before and the day before that.  Hard to imagine really.




More photographs being taken all around us, for our fellow passengers were mostly Japanese tourists and those who weren’t asleep took as many pictures as we did!




How could we not?  We switched on panorama mode, we tried different settings and snapped away.  The train was travelling at a stately pace, we had plenty of time and lots of disk space – why not keep going?




The alpine scenery is so attractive and we all love it so.




Then, just when I thought I’d taken enough of the same kind of photograph, something new would come into view and add some interest.




Or the view from around the corner was even better than the one before.  The colours today were different, too, we thought.




How’s this for the perfect picnic spot?  A small shelter, a table and benches all made from timber with a little stone barbecue set up right there on the side of the mountain, high above the lake. 




Back down by the lakeside in Brienz again, the beautifully decorated Jungfrau steamer was there, meeting the SBB train, the Rothorn train and the Postbus.  Such coordination is what makes all of this work – remarkable efficiency.




We didn’t hang around Brienz for long, though our train to Luzern was a little more shambolic than we’re used to here.  Earlier in the day, there’d been a power cut in Luzern and the railway officials were still trying to get everything moving again.  We were keen to get going because we had a date with a fondue pot!  Yes, even though it’s summer, we couldn’t resist…




Saying goodnight to the cow above the Chuchi fondue restaurant and also to Amy and Edward who were going off on the town whilst we olds came home to blog and put our feet up, we took the short walk to the tram stop and jumped on the #5 which brought us home.

It’s much cooler tonight, thank goodness.  The newspapers declare that the heatwave has broken.  We might need umbrellas again tomorrow.

Umbrellas on the train

Can’t get enough mountain air