I’m finally getting round to finishing off the series of posts about last year’s Swiss trip (see here for posts about that trip and some archived ones from earlier travels).
I left off in Spiez, the delightful little town on the shores of Thunersee, where we based ourselves for 3 nights (see here, here and here). Our last couple of days in Switzerland were spent in Lucerne and we set off to catch the early morning train from Spiez station (Mlle was en route back to London, Monsieur and I were having a couple of nights in Lucerne before heading back Down Under).
The Golden Pass Line is the name given to the rail line that links Montreux via Interlaken to Lucerne. It is, in fact, three different trains, however, being Switzerland, the next one is waiting at the arrival station to connect you seamlessly onto the next part of your journey.
Going north east from Montreux you wend your way up through the mountains to the little town of Zweisimmen near Gstaad (see here), part two takes you onto Interlaken Ost and the final leg takes you over the Bruenig Hasliberg Pass to Lucerne itself skirting past the shores of the eponymous lake.
The train ride is all part of the regular Swiss rail schedule – no extra costs are incurred for riding in the panoramic tourist carriage or the old Pullman cars. You just have to check the timetable and plan your journey accordingly. It is one of our favourite train rides and we have taken quite a few over the years!
The weather for our last couple of days in Switzerland turned grey and wet, though we had been very lucky with gorgeous warm spring weather up until then. The photos I was able to take are therefore rather moody and misty but give you an idea of the scenery round Lake Brienz and the journey up across the pass. Taking photos from a moving train is also a little tricky so please excuse the quality of some of them!
The first glimpses of Lake Lucerne are always special even on a dreary wet day.
Dropping down into the valley alongside the beautiful shores of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstaettersee), the train glides along on its approach to Lucerne passing meadows, little farms and plenty of Swiss cows on the way.
Before seeing Mlle off on the fast train to Geneva Airport, we had time to enjoy a little stroll along the River Reuss to our favourite restaurant in Lucerne, Nix in Der Laterne. Occupying a charming medieval building near the old Spreuerbruecke, it serves wonderful local produce, superb wines and is still under the same ownership as our first visit in 2009. Inside is warm and cosy but if the weather permits a table by the fast flowing river on the cobbled streets is a real treat (we were in luck the rain stopped for enough time to enjoy lunch).
I’ll write more about Lucerne next week. It was as charming as we remembered but we were there a little later than on previous visits (in May) and there is no escaping the fact that it is a major stopping off point for large tourist groups. It did quieten down considerably at night and we wondered if many of the buses pass through and simply drop the groups off for a couple of hours or if they all prefer to eat in the hotels at night. However the lake remains as serene as ever and after seeing Mlle off we took a late afternoon cruise, soaking in the scenery and enjoying a pre dinner drink!
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