Schynige Platte to Bern

Schynige Platte to Bern

Dispatch and Photos by Robert Brodey

Our final night in the mountains was spent in Schynige Platte (2068m), an amazing hotel/restaurant with almost a 360 degree view of the surrounding valleys, peaks, and rivers (it also has a botanical garden dedicated to alpine plants). We arrived by a slow and steady cog railway which made its way up from Wilderswil on the valley floor. Hikers can also reach there on foot from First, a station sitting above Grindelwald. As the sun journeyed toward the horizon, masked by a curtain of dark clouds, the lakes and hillsides took on a preposterously painterly light. Then the rain came, which cooled things down until morning.

Schynige Platte to Bern
A preposterously painterly light

The sun made its presence felt when we arrived down below in Interlaken, a vibrant town sitting between the Thun and Brienzersee Lakes. We took a short tour of the town, which is considered the gateway not only to the high Alps but also Italy and France. Hence, this region has seen its share of human visitors passing through over the last few millennia.

To get a different perspective on the region, we took a two hour boat ride across Lake Thun. It was a welcome respite from our ambitious schedule in the mountains, and I found myself sitting back a long while taking in the views. When the boat pulled into the town of Thun, we followed a footpath along the edge of the turquoise glacial waters of the River Aare. We soon came across a small group of young men and women using a water ski rope tied to an ancient covered bridge to “surf” the churning waters on short boards. As our photographer Jimmy would say, “It was rad.”

Schynige Platte to Bern
Schynige Platte to Bern
Thun and bridge surfing

Wandering Thun, it quickly became apparent that the Aare was a big part of the summer scene here, with people walking up and down the riverside in bathing suits, jumping off bridges, and playing in the water. Delano and Jimmy took the opportunity to swim several bridge lengths of the river, while the rest of us stayed dry but hot (the region is currently experiencing an unusually hot summer). We had just enough time to visit the Old Town and the 12thcentury castle that stands above it, before we had to make our way to the station to catch a train to Bern, Switzerland’s capital.

Old Town
Old Town's 12thcentury castle

In just the first few hours, Bern gave us strong impressions, with its amazing architecture, new and old, including the train station, the Clock Tower (Zytglogge) and the Parliament Building. Like Thun, the River Aare has helped shape and define the city.

Tomorrow, it’s my turn to jump in and cool off in the Aare! 

Schynige Platte to Bern
Beautiful Bern

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