This trip we went to Germany and Switzerland for 2 weeks and essentially 2 additional days, but we really only got one additional day out of it. I wish we would have spent an additional day exploring the towns around Interlaken, but we will go back at some point to explore the places we didn’t get a chance to.
Trains, Trains, Trains.
Part of the reason I wanted to go to Switzerland were the trains and all the connections we would make in a short period of time. Elliott has always been so fascinated by trains that I wanted to go on a trip with him while he was still so enamored with trains and I noticed a few years ago that the Alp trains and trams were quite unique. Our journey from Koln would have us taking the ICE express to Switzerland– the ICE got up to 290km per hour headed back and forth from Frankfurt– pretty impressive. At the Swiss Border we switched to the Swiss Bahn trains, finally arriving in Interlaken. Interlaken is a the big train town, since a number of the Alpine trains depart from Interlaken.
I booked us a hotel in nearby Winderswil, which turned out to be a perfect choice. Winderswil is the next train stop from Interlaken West, which is where they Jungfrau Railway, or Top Of Europe train departs from. We took the intercity bus from Interlaken to Winderswil and it took about 10 minutes to get from the train station to our hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Baren. Winderswil is a small town outside of Interlaken, with a few hotels and some restaurants– we found it to the perfect town to stay in while we explored the region.
The weather was perfect on our first day of touring. There were some clouds in the high alpine area, but it was set to clear up for the remainder of our trip.
As you can see, the views from town are impressive. The north face of the Eiger peeking out over the valley.
We arrived late in the day and you could quickly tell that Winderswil doesnt have a lot of restaurants, so we decided to go back into town and get a bite to eat.
Side note: I also wanted to get back into Interlaken because I had lost my pair of Chaco sandals at the Koln train station. They were in the stroller we brought in the bottom webbing and they slipped out while boarding the train, falling onto the train tracks– never to be seen again. RIP Chaco. So, I was anxious to get to town and buy a pair of sandals since the only shoes I brought with me were the hiking boots on my feet– although it was better to have Hiking boots than the other way around.
Once we arrived back in Interlaken, we were just blown away at how beautiful the city is. It is SUPER touristy, don’t get me wrong, but the city is designed around a massive park in the city center, the city folds like a horseshoe around the park, with the East train station on one side of the town and the West one on the other side of the park– pretty cool. The park is used by the multiple groups that have para sailing from various points in the Alps as a landing spot, so at any moment there are multiple people landing in the park– we had a great time just hanging out and relaxing at this point during several points on our trip.
Here are some of the best pictures of Interlaken:
Paragliders landing in Interlaken Park
After walking around Interlaken looking for something to eat, we finally gave up trying to find the perfect place for dinner and settled on an street corner with an Italian pizza joint that had outside seating and cold beer. It gave us enough time to catch our breath and plan the next days that we would be in this wonderful country. Pizza is pizza, so nothing special to note– and the beer in Switzerland is always the same brand on tap– and its a decent one.
Our biggest reason for deciding to come to Switzerland was to take the train to the Top Of Europe– The Jungfrau tour takes you on a train to the “Top of Europe”, 12,000 feet onto the Glacier that ties the Jungfrau range together. To give it a little perspective, Wilderswil is at 2200 feet and this train goes to nearly 12k in elevation in just under 2 hours! Lili’s parents were travelling with us and they decided that they didn’t have any interest in going to the top, so we decided to have the next day to hang out as a group and Saturday we would split up, Lili and I taking Elliott on the train while Liam stayed below with Oma and Opa.
Next: Day 2 Schynige Platte