Friday, April 30, 2010

Trip to Switzerland 2010 - Locarno to Interlaken

Saturday 24 April

Funicular to the Sanctuary and return
14:12 Locarno to Domodossola (FART) 15:55
16:07 Domodossola to Brig 16:37
16:49 Brig to Spiez 17:24
17:33 Spiez to Interlaken Ost 17:57
18:05 Interlaken Ost, bus to Bonigen See 18:10

Click above for a slide show of pictures from Locarno
The day started off easily with a leisurely breakfast followed by a saunter around town arriving at the funicular. The weather was great and the views wonderful. There are many flowering plants and trees, wisteria, tulips, pansies etc. We watched a pair of grebes flirting. The funicular was good but the cable car to the next level was expensive and the top was in cloud so we decided to stay at the top of the funicular where we saw the monastery and then rode down from an intermediate platform. After a capucino we found a good restaurant for lunch. Their menu del dia was veal marsala with risotto ticino and the waitress was able to entice us in. We started with a salad and also had a bottle of Ticino Merlot which was passable although not great. We were the only people in the restaurant at first, a loony guy loped in and tried to engage someone in the kitchen in conversation but nobody looked at home and he eventually went away. He was evidently well known to the restaurant staff.
The outdoor space was shielded from the road by a couple of large vines, both having very thick trunks.

We had some time to spare before the departure so we went to the front and watched the people walking past. Saw a family of coots (four youngsters) but no ducklings in evidence.

The tramway to Domodossola was spectacular with many tall viaducts. We climbed up into the valley through small villages and the valley sides became steeper and the valley narrower. There were many vinyards and we saw several private cable cars or platforms used to transport materials to habitations high in the hills on the other side of the valley.

There were four meets and I saw 52, 53, 57, 58, 64 and 17 at Domodossola

The train managed to be over five minutes late for no apparent reason – typical Italian operating – and there was a mad scramble for the train to Brig. On this journey we went through both the Simplon and the Lotschberg tunnels. Our reserved car in the train to Spiez had no air conditioning and the train to Interlaken Ost was a couple of minutes late so the train crew hurried us to get in (it was on time into Interlaken Ost, the terminus).
 View from our room at Interlaken

While everybody was milling around I went up to the bus stop and found out the details of the bus to Bodensee and it was a short ride to the hotel which seems very good indeed. Our room has a balcony which looks right on to the lake.