To the Emmental area of Berne Canton

So, the guys took the car across them mountains …1 (Oberalp), …2 (Furka), …3 (Grimsel) while the ladies travelled by train from Ilanz to Chur, Zurich, Berne (brief interruption) and finally Oberdiessbach (yess! Google knows where that is).

Here they are in the SBB-CFF-FFS (tri-lingually Swiss federal Railways) and strolling thru Berne. At the bagpipers fountain some refreshing, then meeting the Bernese city police in full regalia, finishing of some icecream cones and finally waiting in Linden for a pick-up.

Brenna took pictures too (the above are from Regula). The chief fun was the water spouts on Bundeshausplatz (square at the Swiss parliament) and that bagpiper fountain. But before they had made it to Berne they visited the restaurant car en route. And then on the way to Linden, place where our B&B is at, it looks like Natalie has a bus to herself.

Meanwhile the boys on a drive. First one to cross, the Oberalp Pass offers great views to the Urseren Tal (valley of the bears) with Andermatt in the foreground below. The Matterhorn Gotthard Railway has a major interchnage there from Vallais Canton to the Grisons or else down to Göschenen in Uri Canton on the old Gotthard line. There is a base tunnel now of some 50 km which avoids all those loops and turns in tunnels and over bridges and cuts the travel time from Lucerne to Lugano by about 1 1/2 hours to 2:20 travelling time. Once across Urseren and climbing Furka there’s a nice look back toward Oberalp.

We lunched using the kids’ booster seats on the cold stones at the long disused Furkablick Hotel (removable balcony floors likely due to avoid unnecessary snow loads) at an altitude of approx. 2450 m. And then we surveyed the west side down to Gletsch in the uppermost Vallais and the old Furka route of the rack & pinnion train. It has been refitted by many a volonteer from across the world and the steam engines chug again to Gletsch at the foot of Furka and Grimselpass, while the modern line goes for 20km into the Furka hole (descriptive for the costs tossing many millions to carve that tunnel).

The closer set of loops we cruise down and the farther one we crawl up to gain Grimsel Pass and the hydro-electric development of the Handegg power station.

The first panorama shot shows the Rhone glacier and in the 60s the ice was still where there is now a small lake. Meanwhile the glacier is 1km father back. The second panorama is at Grimsel with views at the right into the steep descent toward Meiringen and at the right the highlands of Furka where we had come from.

The Aare river has its source up here and before it reaches Meiringen it forces itself thru a gorge some 1 1/2 km long.

Then we headed on toward Linden to pick up them lazy girls and deliver all of us to the choicest Bed & Breakfast we could have booked! Cristin’s Stiller Ort and quiet it is as the name implies.

The following day, Thursday, July 26, we met Dorothée, Didier and Wiwi (Wilma or fuller yet but in diminutive form Wilhelminka) in the Swiss open air museum Ballenberg. It meant an early rise and some train travel. Stay tuned.

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