Swiss Bliss Day 9 (Part 1)

I have been gushing about the Swiss Transport System since Day 1 itself and it’s already nine days into the current trip.

“I think we have enough of the superlatives,” said the wife.

“Yeah.” echoed the rest of the family.

What can I say? It is really that convenient. Any decent, respectable country should have a good train system. With multiple trains at different times going through some of the same routes or even through different routes to get to the same place. So you will never take the same journey twice. How great would that be?

Train ride in Switzerland

Train ride in Switzerland

We woke up early as usual just to catch the earliest direct train with the least amount of stops to Lucerne from Interlaken. The beauty with the trains is that if you missed one, there will be another that follows shortly. Not more than an hour’s wait. So you can be very punctual with your traveling or you could go with the flow and see what the day’s trains will take you.

The Swiss trains are very comfortable and more often then not, quite quiet. Most people would just get a book out and read or get some sleep, but my suggestion — Keep your eyes open!

Keep your eyes open while on the train. Look out the windows!

“Where do we have to sit?”

“On the RIGHT side of the train, please.”

“Why?”

“That’s where most of the views are.”

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Restaurant Bären

We came back to Interlaken for dinner as we couldn’t find anything decent in Wengen, the restaurants there were mainly co-owned by the hotels, so the prices are slightly expensive for us, although we did have a few good recommendations. Another reason for coming back to Interlaken was because our hotel recommended a restaurant for good fondue.

Need to apologize that I mentioned raclette in the previous post, my mistake, it was fondue that I was talking about. We missed a chance to grab fondue back in Geneva, so this will be our first try at this traditional Swiss dish, usually eaten during winter. But since it was raining and it felt cold, we thought the weather would be better enjoyed if we had a warm meal.

Restuarant Bären

Restuarant Bären

We didn’t have reservations and we were quite lucky, they had an empty table for us. Look at the place, it was packed full of locals and some tourists. I still need to get used to getting reservations for dinner. Twice in Europe and I haven’t had it down yet. Just not the typical thing that I do back home.

“We’re lucky.”

The restaurant is located in Unterseen and is quite some distance from the usual tourist areas. But with the Swiss Pass, we could just hop on any bus and be there in a few minutes. The wonders of the all-encompassing ticket.

Tip: Despite what you’ve read so far, please make reservations for dinner if you intend on eating at the place that you want. I’m just lucky.

“I read online that we needed some wine, so that the fondue doesn’t stick,” I said.

Grape wine?

Grape wine?

I think we ordered some non-alcoholic grape wine to go with the food. The fondue is really melted cheese in a pot, and we would dip bread into it to soak up the cheese. You need to be a cheese lover in order to enjoy fondue. And it’s best to just order enough for two. We were a group of six and we found it just nice, with regards to the rest of the dishes we ordered. Fondue is meant to be a side dish and they come in servings of two. I think the perfect equation would be to order two servings less than the number of people eating.

Tip: You need to eat till the end, and scrape the final piece at the bottom of the pot.

This is fondue.

This is fondue.

Look at the cheese coated bread.

Look at the cheese coated bread.

The last crust

The last crust

Actually, fondue reminded me of a certain Chinese dish called steamboat. Except that with clear soup, it is replaced with cheese. The Swiss have the Chinese steamboat version too but it’s not a traditional dish. The last crust is especially tasty and in certain areas, they even share it with each other! It tastes like dried pork skin.

We also had a couple of their other dishes including rice and noodles. With chicken and veal. Veal seems to be part of their meal here. Most restaurants offer veal in various dishes.

Omelette

Omelette

Veal with sauce

Veal with sauce

Swiss version of chicken rice?

Swiss version of chicken rice?

Since the restaurant is packed with locals and tourists alike, I feel that it’s a great place to have your dinner here. Just make sure you have your reservations. The ambiance is quite cosy and most of the tables are bunched up together, with only a certain amount of elbow space in between. But don’t worry, you will feel welcomed here and please do try their fondue. Even though there might be some other places in Switzerland that offers a much better version, but in Unterseen, this is one of the best.

 

Goldener Anker

What do you do after a day of traveling around, no proper lunch and drenched in rainwater? You seek out a nice cosy restaurant, warm and hopefully, some good food. That’s what I did, or rather, the whole family did. I read about this restaurant online and since we were in the area, we should drop by for a visit.

 

Goldener Anker

Goldener Anker

The restaurant is located below the Hotel Anker. I think they are part of the same establishment. No reservations needed. At least we didn’t have one. The place was big enough to entertain a lot of guests and they even have a pool table and a bar. I would say, a typical hotel-owned restaurant. It was warm. The staff were friendly and the menu came in two languages.

Veal with morel sauce

Veal with morel sauce

This dish was recommended by the online reviews that I read. Despite the looks, it wasn’t that spicy at all. The veal was well cooked and the sauce was something different. Creamy with a tinge of spice. No wonder it was the recommended dish.

I think this is the lamb fillet.

I think this is the lamb fillet.

Since there were six of us, we get to order and try out five dishes, but one was a repeat of the veal with morel sauce. This, if I’m not mistaken, is the lamb fillet and a side dish of vegetables, legumes and other leafy things.

Mom just can't eat without rice.

Mom just can’t eat without rice.

This is perched fish from the lakes. I’m not sure which lake they meant, it could have been Lake Thun or Lake Brienz. Anyway, Mom just have to eat with rice. She can’t go a day without rice so she got what she wished. The fish tasted fresh, I guess it was just caught in the morning and since it came fillet style, you don’t have to worry about the tiny fish bones.

Steak

Steak

I like my steak well done and this didn’t disappoint. The portion was huge and the sauce was juicy enough to match the tenderized beef. Overall, I think the restaurant delivered what we wanted. Whenever I go on tours, all I wanted was to have a nice warm meal, without paying through the nose and satisfying on the stomach. This place did just that. We were able to kick back, enjoy the food, talked for awhile in a nice and quiet environment. The place is not too far from the town center so it’s within walking distance.

Goldener Anker

Marktgasse 57, Interlaken

Swiss Bliss Day 7 (Part 5)

While we were waiting for the train to Spiez, rain began to fall. The Bern train station could be considered as a major hub for the railways in Switzerland. So be sure to get your platform correct, otherwise it would be a hell of journey to find your right platform, especially when the trains are on time, ALL the time. The family were looking at me, I just shrugged my shoulders. Rain was predicted by the weather forecast but our remaining journey will be in the boat, so it wouldn’t do much harm, except that we might not get to see everything clearly.

Looking at the picture will tell you how bad the rain was. This was a deluge, it was like the skies opened and rain just came down in torrents. We had a boat to catch. Unfortunately, it is about 1km away from us. Time to adorn ourselves with our raincoats and step out into the rain.

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Swiss Bliss Day 6 (Part 3)

The small hamlet — Kleine Scheidegg, is actually a last stop before the ascent into the Jungfrau mountains. You get your tour groups milling around waiting for the next train, and some who have already seen the Jungfrau, on their way down. The weather is cold up here and everyone was in their jackets and layers of warm clothing for those doing the Jungfrau.

“Why aren’t we going up?” asked QS.

“Haven’t you seen the amount of fog surrounding the mountains?” I replied.

“It’s a pity.”

“Sure is.”

Weather will play a major role when you’re in the Bernese Oberland. Because most of the activities here involves the outdoors and not a lot of alternatives for indoors.

If you’re planning on visiting the Jungfrau, if the ticket price doesn’t put you off, I would recommend that you at least give yourself three days here. They must be really flexible days because if the weather is good, you can head off to see the mountains. We were on a tight schedule so that means we would have to give that a skip.

“Where are we going next?” asked Dad.

“Grindelwald.”

 

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Swiss Bliss Day 6 (Part 2)

If you want to know how healthy you are, just take a look around you when you go around the hikes in Switzerland. Most of the people you will meet are around the late 40s to the early 60s. Not to mention a few other older age groups.

“That’s how healthy the Swiss are,” I said.

“Something to aspire to when we get back home,” said Dad.

I chose this particular hike because of its relative ease, all downhill and also for the view. Although we would find out more about the latter as we go along.

This is a reminder how high we are. (click to enlarge)

This is a reminder how high we are. (click to enlarge)

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Swiss Bliss Day 6 (Part 1)

Interlaken

Just like what you have read in the books. It is a tourist-orientated place. Most people would suggest that you stay high up in the mountains (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen) to avoid the tourist scene. If peace of mind and natural beauty is what you seek, then you should stay in the mountains.

My itinerary on the other hand, required a day trip to Berne and also some shopping, furthermore, I had to try out a few recommendations for eating out in the area, so Interlaken was where we chose to stay.

As the name suggest, the town itself lies in between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. I would suggest at least a boat trip on either lake if you have the time.

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