When I think of Switzerland I think of cable cars, chair lifts and mountain railways, however what I failed to consider was what happens when the snow on the Alps begins to melt in the springtime. Much of that snow ends up in the large lakes creating a wonderful network of more than 100 boats on 14 lakes. I doubt that there are many lakes around the world that can boast the impressive panoramas offered throughout Switzerland. You are in for such a treat as you travel by boat across the pristine and spectacular Lake Brienz, shimmering with the reflection of the mighty Alps.
Typically a Swiss lake steamer is either a modern diesel-driven boat or a traditional steam-driven sidewheeler. A few of the older steamers date back to the early part of the century. Be on the lookout for the red Swiss Flag whipping above the wakes of these immaculate white vessels as they make their way across the sparkling water.
But that’s only the tip of your travel experience!! You will be boarding rail trains, cog-rails, funiculars, scenic intermountain cable cars and a Postbus. Not to mention, strolling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. No jumping into an automobile to go somewhere…here you will experience firsthand all modes of travel – delectably un-American in concept.
PostBus is the leading bus company in Switzerland’s public transport network. It incorporates more than 2,000 vehicles at its disposal. Its trademark – the three-tone horn and the yellow Postbuses – are part of Switzerland’s cultural identity. The PostBus brand embodies the values of reliability, security and trust. You might want to include this as a great Trivia question for your friends when you return from this awe-inspiring Interlude.
Also included in this tour is an adventurous sojourn aboard cog railways. Cog railways were an important part of the Swiss Alps infrastructure meant to help even non-climbers access the high alpine environment and enjoy the breath-taking scenery of the highest peaks of Switzerland. These cog railways are among the first of the many mountain railways and cable cars in the European Alps. Some of these cog railways belong to the most visited tourist attractions in Europe and you will share this sightseeing adventure with people from all over the world. And…have your camera at the ready for some of the most delicious vistas your eyes will ever feast upon.
One of the most unique and daring means of travel in Switzerland is via a funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway. Not being familiar with the word, I had to investigate and find out how these work.
The basic principle of funicular operation is that two cars are permanently attached to each other by a cable, which runs through a pulley at the top. at the top of the incline. Counterbalancing of the two cars, with one ascending and one descending, minimizes the energy needed to lift the ascending car. Winching is normally done by an electric drive which turns the pulley. Sheave wheels guide the cable to and from the drive mechanism and the incline cars. Now we know. Sounds wondrously fascinating!
Part of this marvelous travel package includes a 7-day travel pass called the Berner Oberland Pass. The Bernese Oberland is one of the most famous regions inSwitzerland, having been discovered by British tourists in the nineteenth century. You will surely notice the strong British influence still felt in many of the old habits and manners which occur in this part of Switzerland. Many of the hotels in Wengen and Grindelwald boast of a particular art noveau style that is a reminder of a former era. The landscape in the Bernese Oberland is characterized by an intriguing mix of lakes, pristine alpine meadows and huge, wild mountains – all waiting to be captured by you and your camera.
Whether you are walking through an alpine forest, strolling through picturesque villages and hamlets, riding the scenic Swiss rail train, enjoying the Cog rail, sightseeing from a Cable Car or chugging across shimmering waters on a Lake Steamer, your Interlude to Switzerland will be overflowing with awe inspiring landscapes and fun-filled adventures. Just breathing the clear mountain air will fill you with a sense of well-being. There is so much to see and do on this escorted vacation and it is just waiting there for you. Please check out the full itinerary and call soon to reserve your Swiss Sojourn…two itineraries are offered.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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