jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 57 [27 Mar 09] – Interlaken

Posted in Interlaken by jn82 on March 27, 2009

After a pretty decent day of rest, we bade farewell to Geneva. We would have liked to just laze around in the hostel at Geneva for a few more days doing zero sightseeing and watching more CSI, but that would be wasting time and the train pass. The itinerary for today was just to get on the Golden Pass Panoramic train (henceforth GPP) at 1.45pm which would bring us to Interlaken, our next stop. In order to get on the GPP, we would first have to take a train from Geneva to Montreux, a city to the east of Geneva and Lusanne and one hour by train away from Geneva. The good thing about inter-city trains in Switzerland is they do not require reservation fees for Eurail pass holders, which saved us a couple of Francs. This is probably because the train was not a high speed one, and stops at quite a few stops before finally reaching Montreux.

Exterior of a SBB inter-city first class carriage.

Interior of an older SBB inter-city first class carriage.

A bit of background on the GPP. It is just a scenic train ride which brings you from Montreux to Lucerne via Interlaken, going through the Swiss alps and passing many small villages which appear to cater to winter sports. There is a more direct train from Montreux to Lucerne I am sure, but this one shows you more scenery and thus takes a different route and is longer. We will be doing the Interlaken to Lucerne leg on Monday.

The difference between the GPP train carriage and a normal one is that it is supposedly “panoramic”. All this means in this case is that the windows are slightly larger than usual and part of the roof of the carriage has a window also. The windows on the roof were pretty useless because you will not really need to look so high up to see anything, and the reflections on the windows made it very hard to take good photographs. I would recommend the Golden Pass Classic train instead to others who are interested to take this same route as you will get to experience a olden times train carriage which looks more quaint.

At Montreux, beside the GPP carriage.

The panoramic interior of the GPP carriage.

As you can see, there was no one else in our carriage for the entire GPP train ride for the first part of the ride from Montreux to Zweissmann (Zweissmann – Interlaken was on another train)! There were only two seats which were marked as reserved which were for us. Pretty cool as this meant we had the entire carriage to ourselves and could jump around from window to window for the best view and photographic opportunity. There were three other GPP carriages in the front (we had the last carriage), which had old people in them, so we were pretty lucky to have this one all to ourselves.

The next few shots are just some examples of the view on this train ride. It was really something different as the train climbs quite high above sea level and you get a very good view of towns below and beside you, as well as the large lakes and snow capped mountain ranges. What a scenic ride!

Three hours and one change of trains at Zweissmann later, we arrived at Interlaken West station, where we would have a very short walk to the hostel which would be our base for the next three nights. Interlaken is best known for its winter and extreme sports, things I am not particularly interested in. Instead, we will probably just focus on walking around this small city and soaking in as much of the scenery as we can. This is an amazingly scenic city, as the next picture will show you.

View from the train station. This has to be the scenic train station we have been at so far!

Today’s pictures here.

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