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Old 9th December 2011, 18:38   #256
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Default Day 8 #10 - A cruise on the Lake Thun

We have to Go to a town called Thun. Predictably, it sits at the head of a Lake called Thun.
We are going their for a special purpose, to take a ride in a Paddle steamer older than 100 years.
It starts at 1833 from the harbor.

This means, we have to run, if we want to reach thun in time.

Thanks to our pass, this ride is free too

I put the camera in the bag, and we climb the cable car.
Every minute seems like eternity as we head down to Grindelwald.

Its hot, but we have to run, so we wear our jackets instead of carrying them, put the backpacks and start jogging.

Its about a km to the Grindelwald train station, but trust me, jogging with bags on is no joke. However, at that moment, we do not realize, we have much strenous jogs in the late evening.

We reach the station one minute before the train departs.

Catching this train means, we are well in time for our Paddle steamer
Its called the
PS Blümlisalp

Over a hundred years old, it has been chugging along, for more than a century. Every day, hundreds come to take a ride and have dinner in the ship. We had not such plans. All we wanted to do was take a grand ride on the Lake thun.

But it was cloudy and gloomy, and the rain clouds threatened to erupt any moment.

I looked through the images, surprisingly I did not take any picture of the steamer from outside!

Anyways, here go the pics from the boat itself
Another cruise ship parked alongside
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The front of the ship with its bell.
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We start chugging....
Harbor mouth
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Most boats are parked due to the weather
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And soon, we are on the open sea...errr lake
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Far away the clouds let out their Fury
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A lone boat
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On the Mast, swiss flag flies
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Our pass was "second class". Those sitting above are "First Class"
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Fellow Cattle class inhabitants
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The Bernese Oberland mountain range
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Its not a non stop journey. The ship is like a lake cruise, picking up passengers from various stopovers.
A surprising thing is that it was running on time. Everything runs on time in switzlerland! The web page clearly mentioned that in rough weather schedules may not be possible. But I guess the ship did not have an internet connection.

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Some get down, some get on. And we chug again
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A typical swiss village. I forget the name
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Old 10th December 2011, 15:26   #257
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

And it gets better and better, Tanveer! You have really made sensible planning going into this trip.

Did you have a peek inside the Panzermuseum at Thun?
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Old 12th December 2011, 23:22   #258
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Quote:
Originally Posted by aryasanyal View Post
And it gets better and better, Tanveer! You have really made sensible planning going into this trip.

Did you have a peek inside the Panzermuseum at Thun?
No sir! No museums on our agenda in Switzerland. So did not even research such stuff. If only we had known what would the next two days bring.... then we would have looked at museums too!
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Old 14th December 2011, 19:00   #259
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Default Day 8 #11 : To Spiez!

Our destination is still a little while away
We reach Spiez at 1923, and then we have to jog 1.2kms in 10 minutes, as our train to Interlaken comes in at 1933

We can catch a 8pm train, but that will mean reaching Lauterbrunnen at 10pm instead of 8:50.

So the ship being on time is really really crucial

But for now its time to look at the villages and towns we pass
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With their fairytale cathedrals
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The sky gets gloomier, and its drizzling now
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Switzerland has gone Indoors. Anyways, at 6pm, they shut down their shops and offices and go home.
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Dark clouds
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We chug along
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In the west there is still some clarity
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And we start seeing the town of Spiez
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We pass by a small hill
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And approach our stop. One last look back, before I pack the camera
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Old 14th December 2011, 19:09   #260
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Default Day 8 #12 : The run

1923 is the time we reach the Spiez port. As expected. I also switched on my phone GPS for a short while during the trip. Here is the trail
Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days-20110903.jpg
As we get down on Spiez, I realize what is "cutting too close".

Its 1924. 1933 our train comes. We have 1.2kms to cover in 9 minutes.
I have a camera bag, and my wife is also carrying backpack(lighter though).

Now running 1.2kms in 8 minutes(considering 1 minute to go to platform) is not easy. Its not difficult either.
Its impossible. Because......

The ahead of me I can see the road rising.
Our harbor is significantly lower than the train station.

So it means we have to run 1.2kms of steep uphill section in 8 minutes.

Without much further thought, we start running.

Barely halfway through, we are panting. Its clearly no joke.

But we carry on, and at 1938, we are inside the station, and there is no Train.

We have missed it.

And then I see it, coming in.

How is it possible.
without wondering too much we jump in, and realize, that the train is running 7 minutes late.

In Switzerland, the train is running 7 minutes late!!

It was coming from Zurich, and heavy rain on the way delayed it! Talk about luck.
today has been a long day, and we will make it back to our chalet in time.

A train change later at Interlaken, we head to Lauterbrunnen, and then take our car from the multi level park. Its 10Fr for a days parking, but its been a swell day.

We did the Jungfrau, saw an alpine lake, got attacked by dogs, took a river cruze, and jogged uphill.

As we went off to sleep after a heavy meal, little did we realize, that tomorrowwill be quite unpleasant!
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Old 15th December 2011, 10:36   #261
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Trains running late in Switzerland due to rain, God you have luck on your side.
These trains run to so much of precision.
I was travelling from Frankfurt to Strasbourg.I was changing the train at Offenburg station in Germany to go into Strasbourg France.I had 7 mins for the transit.
My train from Frankfurt was 2 mins late and I had to crossover through the subway from
platform 1 to 4 in Offenburg station.The moment I entered the train from the platform
the doors shut from behind me phew very close.
We have to use the subway to cross to the next platform as the trains are high speed and some trains stop and some may not stop at the station.
I was thinking in case I miss this train I could interchange at the next station called Appenweir. But later I
realized that these small stations have only the platform and the car parks
empty with one or two houses far away from the station.

Last edited by gajadonga : 15th December 2011 at 10:42.
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Old 20th December 2011, 19:17   #262
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Looks like Tanveer is away on another vacation! Please come back and finish this travelogue!
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Old 20th December 2011, 23:08   #263
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Default Day 9 #1: Its not a beautiful day

Today is our 4th day in switzerland. Yesterday had given us a trailer of things to come, and now we see it. Its grey and gloomy. Today was to be a day of exploring our valley, or our backyard. The valley of 72 waterfalls.

But weather had other plans.
Nevertheless, we decided to visit our first waterfall. It was never on the plan since it was a "paid" waterfall, but since it was indoors.... we decided what the heck.

So here comes the first destination of the day. The trummelbach falls. These are what you call. Indoor falls. Indoor as not manmade, but inside a mountain. Not one, but 10 glacier falls.

Ticket is about 5Fr/PP (or was it 7... I don't remember).

A lift takes you up in the mountain, and then you begin your journey in the labyrynth

But first, a view from the top point, before you enter the mountain. Its grey, though sun is trying hard to peep out!
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These falls are not really to be seen, they are more of a sound and fury thing. The narrow crevices and the high glaciers ensure that flow of water is really intense. You can't even talk next to these!

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Its 11am now, and we have spent an hour getting drenched.

Time to head out, and decide what to do next. It may even clear out.
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The flowers looked cheerful, but I was not, esp due to this weather. When you pay 455Fr for 6 nights, you want all your days sunny and clear.
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Esp since the Fr was kissing the Euro as far as the exchange rate is concerned!

Nevertheless, we headed towards our "Minivan", and then I saw her.... and all I could do was ogle with mouth open
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Old 21st December 2011, 12:50   #264
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Woah, the falls look more like a milk processing plant! Those tiny hamlets, lush green meadows, glaciers, lakes, awesome.
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Old 18th January 2012, 16:30   #265
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Default Re: Day 9 #1: Its not a beautiful day

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Nevertheless, we headed towards our "Minivan", and then I saw her.... and all I could do was ogle with mouth open
And we have been left ogling since december. TSK, how about an update
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Old 20th January 2012, 21:00   #266
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Default Day 9 #2 A streetcar named Desire

Lotus.
Its a weakness.
Almost an obsession.

It does not cost as much as a ferrari, and as far as exotica goes, its very low on the exotic supercar scale.

But desire cannot be rationalized. If it could, how would you explain somebody loving their car which has a buffaloe's behind.

Or looks like a breadbox on wheels.

I also have a desire.

And this is what made my jaw drop.

No, not an Elise. Don't get me wrong. I desire that too.
But what stood here was the Espirit. Those old enough to remember "Test Drive 2", played on those DOS PCs in 1990s, would remember the Esprit, the best car for a getaway from the pesky 120kmph limited police cars.

And here she was, in the flesh!

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I get up after the shot, and I realize, there is one in red to my right parked net to an antire army of Elise's!
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Their drivers are nowhere to be seen. Why o why would somebody park these beauties, and then vanish...??
I do not care.

Its like a kid in candy store for me.

I decide to shoot almost all of them!
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I have forgotten the gloomy weather, the rain, the dampness. Such is the beauty of this wonderful car.

But now, its time to get back to reality... and decide where to go next!
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Old 21st January 2012, 11:24   #267
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Ah!! Finally!!
An update and what a great one at that.
Love the troops of the lotus army
I want the grey one.
No!! The white one.
Wait!! Yellow would be better!!
Uh!! Ok. Make it grey.
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Old 24th January 2012, 00:43   #268
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Wow....beautifully kept cars. Can imagine the kind of care each of these cars get. We need to appreciate the 'attention to details' that europeans give to their horses & houses.
I wonder how they get time to keep their possessions and surroundings so neat and clean.
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Old 1st February 2012, 12:33   #269
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Default Day 9 #3 : Up and above

Decisions are always problematic. Left or right, top or bottom, up or down, eat or sleep. Some are easy, eg work or play.

We also had a decision to make. To go left or go right.

We decided to go to the end of the road... Stechelberg car parking.

There is a gondola station there, which goes to some lovely villages with lovely names like murren and others.

And maybe, if you "rise", you can see above the fogs.

Parking at the lot at the end of the road is the only expense we need to make.
Thanks to our "free day", everything else is free.

A waterfall at parking lot
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We take the gondola upto Murren
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And arrive at the Schilthorn station. Those with a keen memory would find the name familiar.
Thats because its the station where you take the extremely expensive (though not as much as jungfrau) gondola upto Piz Gloria, the famous James Bond Resturant
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We, however, have absolutely no intention of encroaching upon James Bond. So we take a walk in the village of Murren, hoping to get some "views". All we get is FOG
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Down below, the valley looks lovely, even when foggy
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If you are bored, you can play chess
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Where the streets have no name
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We have to do something. Why not go further up. So its time to head to the "lift" station for Allmendhubel.
ITs a lovely flowering meadow with wonderful views. I know we won't see a thing... but what the heck, its free
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View from inside the "lift" or train or whatever
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Speed
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The village of Murren, down below
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This is what the "lift" looks like
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Its almost 12:30 when we reach the top. And its foggy... with no views

So I decide to shoot cows
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This cow tries to gore me. So we decide to come down. Kung Fu cows of switzerland are not to be messed with

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The journey down
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From Murren we catch gondola back to Stechelberg. It remindes of DTC bus in peak hour
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After 15 minutes of armpit smelling, we are at the parking.

Now what?
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Old 1st February 2012, 12:39   #270
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Default Day 9 #4 To the City

Our neck of the woods is in clouds and rain. What was a drizzle has become steady rain.

I check with the tourist office, and they show me a real gloomy widespread cloud kind of picture on weather site.

So what to do? Only one thing. We will go visit a city. Cities tend to look more or less similar, rain or no rain.

And what city? Well Luzern was decided, as its the least crowded big city of Switzerland.

Views on the way
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Its wet and wild
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Traffic is thick, and its almost 3pm as we reach Luzern. After a herculian task of finding extremely expensive parking... we venture on the streets. Thankfully the rain has stopped
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Lake Luzern is the cities native lake, and it has some swans which are white
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But the lake itself looks just ordinary. "Our" lakes, Thun and Brienz seem to be better
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Ships await passengers
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A Cathedral
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We have no intention of entering any cathedral or biulding. Vienna and Salzburg have been enough to literally last a lifetime. Swiss vacation is supposed to be about outdoors only
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And I am seriously wondering, why are we even here. Its quite boring, and not even beautiful.
The towns main attraction, kappellbruke, however, is quite nice
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If only it was sunny.

Its a bridge over the lake, and you can walk over it
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The town post office
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Arch at the parking station
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We have spent exactly 20 minutes here, and we want to run away.,

And I don't know why?
Maybe it was the pace of the city. Everybody was hurrying. People were rude, and there were very few trees.
Living in a village spoils ya.

But there was one task. We had to get groceries.

We got our eier, and bevereges and bread. I remember the bill 13.37

Its time to run from the city. And do something more meaningful.

Like... drive on one of the best driving roads in switzerland
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