... to Giswil 'Space Mountain'
Early rise as we need to be out of here by 7am otherwise it's 1 euro per hour...but mind you we haven't really seen the main town area so at 7am once we are up with the van is ready to go and breakfast eaten we put in a euro so we could head away from the van without having a surprise visitor of a ticket inspector. It's 7.30am when we depart the van for our walk and as we do i hear a noise that i thought a dog was making by grumbling when i went to get the ticket originally. Turns out it was a man snoring from one of the motorhomes...loudest snore ever!
It was so peaceful and quiet walking around the lake and town with not so many people unless you looked out upon the lake as that was busy with men fishing. There were about 15 boats out there with men standing with their rods out! Then at the harbour i nearly got knocked over...not by a car or a bike, but by a man in his 50s riding on a scooter with a motor on it!
8.30am and we are off to Bern which is only an hour and a 1/2 away from here and its one in which i didn't think much of...until i went into the old part of town. I did a U turn to drive back over the bridge as i saw a parking spot there where i could use my free parking permit, coming in very useful this one as i don't have to pay. The symbol states where i can park but i didn't understand the German wording underneath on the sign as usually it tells you how long you can stay there. This had no maximum length at all which made me question if i could use the permit at all...but the symbol on the sign normally means i can use my permit. Oh well, i'll see if i can download the translator app i had on my old phone to work it out of which i can do by taking a picture of it so it can read it for me, and read it for me offline...very clever app!
So here we are at Bern, the capital of Switzerland, yes the Capital and that's another geography lesson learnt by me on this trip. I'm sure there are others reading this which were like me thinking it was Zurich, if not then definitely Geneva...Bern wasn't in my head as a city in Switzerland, well the World actually! The strange thing for a capital is that it's only the 4th most populous city in the country. In 1983 the historic old town in the centre became a UNESCO World Heritage site and ranked among the world's top ten cities for the best quality of life...who knew?!
As i cross over the bridge i can see why it is and best of all...there is free internet and i'm loving Switzerland as it seems so far that a lot of the cities and towns give it out for free and why not! As i walk around the town i see a huge crowd gathering around a clock tower and staring on up. Fingers were pointing as the clock began to chime and i raced towards it hoping to see a cuckoo springing on out and I didn't want to miss that if it only does so on the hour and i wasn't around for the next. Disappointment is an understatement as all it was that i could see is a wooden man carved into the side, sat down, waving a stick in his hand. Why haven't i seen a cuckoo coming out of a clock as yet...i am in Switzerland am i not?!
So i walk head off and see on the side of the streets shutters that open that look like the cellars doors for bars to be able to open and place their stock underneath but instead its quirky coffee shops, barbers, night bar, sandwich shops etc. Old town is full of bratwurst sausages, swiss ice cream and chocolate shops to spend my money on but i manage to walk on by...just as the smell was so immense! Near to getting back to the car i remember that i need to download the translator app and i load up the picture to see what it says...well it told me exactly what i could see in German. Well that helped!! After swapping things around i see that i could park there unlimited apparently so i'll remember that for next time!
Next onto Interlaken which is in the Jungfrau Region and what a scenic view it was as we drove by the lake, right on the very edge and through the sides of mountains that were blown up to allow the cars on through. This region is located in the Bernese Oberland and named after the famous mountain Jungfrau, meaning Virgin. Poor thing, and all this time! At each tiny bit of space where you could park the van there were people doing just that, with picnics and their swimming costumes on to jump into the lake. You couldn't find a free space anywhere, they were all taken up. Also all you could see around this lake was a sign at each area you could park at saying no motorhomes where allowed in these spots from 10pm til 7am...and i can see why as you'd just love to be able to park on here and wake up to that view. You could basically wake up and jump from the side of your van and into the lake as your morning bath!
We stopped in Interlaken after passing through some really lovely, old and charming villages of which tour buses around here were of a plenty, and you can quite clearly see why. Interlaken was an old town also to come and visit and we headed down to the lake but it was quite restricted as it was a private one, well a private part of the lake in which you needed to pay to get right by and into the lake. Being with Ellie this wasn't the right part so that she could have a swim and it was too busy around here with no place for her to shake coming on out without getting someone wet who's dry and getting a tan on their dry towel. We had a walk around part of the lake and there were just so many activities here for children to have fun whilst the adults enjoyed socialising with other friends or having a rest as from the children as they were so very happy with the water sports and slides that were just set in the lake.
We were going to stay here for the night but the cost of the campsites was too much and also there were parachutes all around us which made good views for Ellie to take in...not!! As she was barking away i'm not sure those above were enjoying the quietness up their to soak in the view and want to land where they were close to heading to! So next onto Giswell as there was a place where we could rest our head for free, a place where you only needed to get to at the end of the day as it was just a space by a main road, that was it, nothing special, not even in a town the guide suggests to visit.
On route to here was a different matter. As we climbed the mountains looking over the lake to the other side, you could see waterfalls cascading down. Suddenly TomTom looked like something from a theme ride i remember when i was a child, Space Mountain in Disneyland. The road went into a tight circle ascending on up and up and up and up, all very slowly with the sharp decent and sharp corner. Not only that but all this through a tunnel, so exactly like it was on the ride! I'm glad to say that on the other side i wasn't flung around in the darkness not knowing how or where these tracks were taking me! Instead i was following a tour bus to make the descent back down the mountain, very slowly.
Saw a lot of people parked on up as the mountain started to descend so i quickly pulled into there, as when you see tourists it normally means there's a photo opportunity here somewhere! And there it was, a photo opportunity of a lake surrounded by the mountains with a tiny village being the only one built by this beautiful scenery.
Arriving at Giwell and we set ourselves down for the night, looking to see where tomorrow will take us...and another day not having a shower as my hair is getting that little bit scratchy right about now!