Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to Switzerland 2010 - Lucerne

Sunday 25 April

07:44 Bonigen bus to Interlaken Ost 07:50
08:04 Interlaken Ost to Luzern 10:04
10:30 Lake Ship to Verkehrshaus Lido 10:54
Trolley bus from Swiss Transport Museum to Luzern
14:55 Luzern to Brienz 1634
16:50 Brienz pier lake ship to Bonigen pier 17:58

 The hotel gave us all a ticket which was valid on the local buses, although the Swiss Rail Pass was also valid.

Marion at Bodigen
Marion Hohenstein at the bus stop by Lake Brienze

The first part of the journey was over the Zentralbahn from Interlaken to Luzern. At Meringen the old electric locomotive was exchanged for a rack equipped one for the hill over the Brunig Pass. The weather was good and there were excellent views of the lake (Brienzsee) and the cliffs on the other side where there were several high waterfalls.

On the Brunig Pass there is a lot of trackside art where someone has carved and varnished wooden animals. I suppose this should not be surprising bearing in mind that Brienz is a woodworking center where carving and other woodworking skills are taught. We saw bear, eagle, deer, ibex, rabbit, lynx, moose, squirrel, owl and frog. At one part there was a forest of inukshuks.

The Sarnersee was very peaceful with very still waters. There were a few ducks, coots, grebes and swans with some fishermen in boats.

The Transport Museum is fully as good as it has been described and there was not enough time to get an in depth appreciation. All the modes are represented including space flight. There is a good model of the Gotthardt Pass but the scenery, particularly the water could be better.

 Ticket for entry to the Transport Museum

We took a local trolley bus back into town and got off at the old part. It is quite interesting but nothing really sopecial although the buildings are well maintained. We walked past the weir and over the shorter of the two wooden bridges and then had lunch at the restaurant of the Hotel des Arts, close to the longer of the two bridges. Mary had a risotto of white asparagus and mushrooms with parmesan and I had Lucern pork sausage with an onion sauce and french fries. Both were good.
Sunday Lunch
Being a Sunday the town was full of local people as well as tourists. Many of them came into the center to have lunch. It seemed to be very much a family time.

We walked back along the second of the wooden bridges and made our way to the boat landing stage before returning to the station. Luzern station is enormous and has two gauges with trains operated by the SBB, the BLS, and the Zentral Bahn. We rode the Zentral Bahn back to Brienz where we transferred to the ship for the leisurely cruise up the lake to Bodigen where the boat docked very close to the hotel. It made a series of zig zags across the lake to stop at small locations that are pretty much isolated. One place Geissbachfalle claimed to have the oldest funicular in Europe, opened in 1879. It runs between the jetty and a hotel.  We zig zagged across the lake calling in at several small points, some of which would have been difficult to reach by land.
The boat docked at Bodensee, close to the hotel.  The boats are run with as much precision as the trains and you can set your watch by them.

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