TRAVEL JOURNAL

The Spontaneous Traveler-Auf Wiedersehen

My Final Day- Switzerland 🇨🇭

Saturday to Wednesday- 5 Amazing Days

Anyone that says you have to spend at least two weeks or more in Europe to fully benefit from what it has to offer, in this very unique case, I have to disagree. I’m aware that this opportunity to stay with a friend who had searched and pre-visited some of the areas that she brought us to is rare, and that is why I consider it such an enormous blessing.

While some may be cautious about the sites that are for international house sitting, in this particular case my friend had the most amazing experiences with the friendliest homeowners in both Oxford, England and Nimburg, Germany. If you are retired for example, and you have the freedom to go to Europe or other places in the world for a month – this is a thrifty way to defray some of the (hotel) cost of travel and live like a local, rather than the absorbing cost of a hotel. We spent two nights in a hotel Mürren, but the rest of our nights were spent in the little cottage in Germany chosen by our friend for its close proximity to France and Switzerland.

As we descended from Mürren, we surveyed the beauty around us for the last time and walked across a small bridge to get a closer look at a nearby waterfall. I decided to climb down the boulders of the nearby creek to touch the cold rushing clear alpine water.

Overhead multiple parasailers soared from over the edge of the cliffs swaying from side to side, circling in the air until they finally glided down into an open grassy area near the gondola station. Finally it was time to get into the car and depart.

For my final day, our friend suggested visiting a castle or a Swiss chocolate factory, but knowing I had to prepare for my morning flight and the drive that we had ahead of us to return to the home in Germany, I asked if we could stop at the beautiful lake we saw on the drive toward Murren and just have a relaxing lunch.

As we said auf wiedersehen to the Swiss Alps, we were also about to say goodbye to one of our traveling companions who boarded a train in Interlaken, for Zurich where she would meet her husband for another week’s stay in Switzerland.

Lake Brienz is a lake just north of the Alps, in the canton of Berne in Switzerland. It has a length of about 14 kilometres, a width of 2.8 kilometres (8.5 miles) and a maximum depth of 260 metres. Its area is 29.8 square kilometres (18.5 miles), and the surface is 564 metres above the sea-level. (according to Wikipedia). It’s unique turquoise water is formed my the glacier mineral run off.

In search of a good spot to have lunch, now a party of two, we found our way to Iseltwald where with the help of some other travelers, we were gifted enough Swiss francs to feed the parking meter and then walked down the hill toward the lake (where my friend realized was the same place she and her husband had stopped a year ago on their honeymoon.) The tallest building in the distance is the Strandhotel, where we found a great table on the water to unwind and enjoy the view. We watched paddle boats sail across both ends of the large lake as we browsed the restaurant menu and a couple of beautiful swans elegantly gliding across its turquoise surface.

My friend chose a rösti formed into cups and filled with a creamy mushroom sauce and I chose the lake fish (also in a mushroom sauce). A while after ordering I noticed a young man with an apron, scooping something out of a tank that we passed on the way to our table. As we stretched to try to figure out what he was doing, we saw a fish flopping around in the hand net he was scooping into the tank. “He’s getting your fish from the tank!” my friend said. “Fresh lake fish!”. But I think we may have been dooped. According to what I’ve read the lake is poor in nutrients, and consequently fishing is not very important. Nevertheless, in 2001 10,000 kg fish were caught (according to Wikipedia).

Starting with the home we were staying in (Germany), to the cottages in the village of Mürren -full use of any land a small homestead has, is usually filled with a beautiful, colorful garden, with a mixture of flowers, herbs and vegetables. We saw gardens planted on sloping hillsides, flowers tucked into a variety of interesting containers, cracks and crevices; but of all the versions we saw this little garden was most beautiful and healthy I had seen. It is jam packed with hot house tomatoes in the back, a variety of beautiful lettuces, herbs, flowers, beans and other vegetables.

We saw so many beautiful vibrant colored flowers on this trip, but this variegated fuchsia and pink zinnia was so unique I wished we had seeds to bring home.

What a beautiful image to have in my memory for a long time to come. While I have much more of Europe and these countries to see in the future, I can mark a big fat check on my bucket list due to this wonderful, spontaneous, last minute vacation!

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