Interlaken; Sunday, 03 August, 2008

I only had a couple of hours between checking out and catching the train through the mountains to Geneva, so I didn’t want to stray too far from town.

After dropping my bags off at West station I had a short wander around the town centre, and then took the funicular railway up from behind West station to Heimwehfluh.

From up here, on a sunny day, the views were spectacular. Laid out before you is the town centre, with the Aare River running between the Brienzersee and the Thunersee. In some of the photos I took it almost looked like it was a model rather than a real place.

I spent quite a bit of time taking in the views, and then decided to stop for a drink. Time passed quite quickly and I soon realised that I should be starting to make a move back down to the city.

As it was such a nice morning I walked back down into town rather than taking the funicular, the walk only took about 30 minutes, and by the time I got back to West station it was time to collect my luggage to make my train.

The Golden Pass Panorama route runs from Luzern to Montreux, but in reality is three separate railways. There is the section from Luzern to Interlaken, which I had already taken to get to Interlaken. The next two stages I would do today.

The middle section runs from Interlaken to the town of Zweisimmen which is a very pretty ride, if not particularly noteworthy. At Zweisimmen you change onto the final train to Montreux. This is supposed to be the extra special leg. The train is formed slightly differently. Instead of there being an engine at the front and then carriages behind there are a couple of carriages, then the engine then some more carriages. People sitting at the front and back of the train get the same view the driver would normally have, and I had booked a seat at the very front.

Unfortunately “Ce train est défectueux” the air conditioning in the front carriage had broken down and it had never left Montreux that morning. So instead I had to make do with a refund, and a seat at the back, taking in the view from the rear, which is still something special.

The ride is spectacular winding through the mountain, climbing up steep gradients and in places doubling back on itself. In particular the final descent into Montreux station is very steep and twisty, it would probably have been even more interesting from the front than it was from the rear!

At Montreux I made a quick change and boarded a normal Swiss train for the ride back along the edge of Lake Geneva to my final stop of the trip, Geneva.


Sunny Sunny
Very Hot (30-40C, 86-104F)