Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to Switzerland 2010 - Andermat Gornergratbahn

Monday 26 April

07:44 Bus Bonigen to Interlaken Ost
08:31 Interlaken Ost to Spiez 08:52
09:12 Spiez to Brig 10:24
10:53 Brig to Zermatt 12:14
12:24 Zermatt to Gornergrat 12:57
13:31 Gornergratt to Zermatt 14:14
15:39 Zermatt to Visp 16:47
16:57 Visp to Spiez 17:24
17:33 Spiez to Interlaken Ost 17:57
18:05 Bus Interlaken Ost to Bonigen 18:10

Click above to see a slide show of Zermatt and Gornergrat
Saw a merganser in the lake outside the hotel. All trains ran to time today and the travelling was quite easy.  We had quite a long conversation with one of the BLS train crew on the train between Spiez and Brig. She spoke excellent English and French as well as German. She was using a hand held machine to identify the passeners' travel which was downloaded directly into the BLS computer by radio.  It seems that passengers start to complain when the trains are running over three minutes late.

The ride on the Matterhorn Gornergratbahn (MGB) from Brig was really great, especially after Visp. The weather was excellent and we could see all of the moun tains right up to their summits. There was a little cloud on the lee side of the Matterhorn. There are a lot of vinyards on the steep valley sides and many of the houses have rooves of heavy stone slabs similar to a very thick slate. There was grass and moss growing on the stone. At St. Niklaus, four post buses were drawn up at the station – their drivers were huddled together in a small circle chatting to each other. There were several long haired goats with black fronts and white rears. The chestnut trees were in bloom here.

Ticket for Gornergratbahn
The Gornergratbahn ticket system was pretty good. You merely had to pass the it over a reader to open the turnstile both to get in and to get out.The ride up to Gornergrat was spectacular and we enjoyed every minute of it. There is a look-out at the top and it was breath-taking in the high altitude to climb right up to the panoramic viewing platform. It was sobering to think that I lived for a total of six months at this altitude in La Paz a few years ago.  There was a St. Bernard dog having his picture taken at the top.
 Matterhorn from Gornergrat summit.
We decided to take the next train down to give us a little time at the bottom to get a light lunch. We went to a small cafe we had seen from the train. We each had a beer and Mary had goulash in a loaf of bread while Colin had cholera (!) – a puff pastry pie of cheese, potato, apple and onion with a very good salad.

The ride back was great although uneventful. We travelled through the new 18 mile Lotschberg tunnel which speeds things up considerably. Many of the SBB trains have the locomotive in the middle with driving trailers at each end.

BLS locomotives seen
Interlaken Ost 176, 194
Kandersteg 936 134 6 172, 168

MGB Locomotives seen
Randa 54
Andermatt 23, 72
Visp 74, 91

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