Brienzersee – An Exploration

19 – 21 July 2019

We woke to what was to become a familiar call, “Annn-a!”, usually in tones of comand and control, sometimes in sheer exasperation. We barely knew the names of our neighbours 2 other daughters but the youngest one was a real character. 4 or 5 years old, her favourite pose was hands on hips and flouncing was an art she was busy perfecting – as well as dominating her siblings and the older children in the site. How her parents kept their cool we will never know, but she provided a week of great entertainment. We would often catch her watching us with a serious expression, and she would quickly look away and pretend complete disinterest.

The site is lovely, set between mountains and with excellent facilities. But it is in Switzerland and this was our first exposure to Swiss prices. A visit to the supemarket in Brienz drove us back to our store-cupboard, freshly stocked in Italy – we were going to have to make it last as long as possible in a country where 2 small chicken breasts cost £9. But salaries here are high – as an example we are told the average salary for a cop here is £84,000 and the minimum wage for unskilled workers is around £35,000 – all with a maximum tax rate 11.5%. No wonder they can afford to eat chicken!!

Our priority was to sort a problem with our pantry door – on the way over the mountain passes we it flew open despite being locked and we had to finish the journey by wedging it closed with a pole. On examination we found that all the rattling over the months had done some real damge – screws had pulled out completely and others were driven into places they really shouldn’t be.  A hot and sweaty 3 to 4 hours with a lot of team-work gave a temporary repair  – to be reinforced when a proper DIY store is located – outside of Switzerland, obviously. 

For our first exploration we decided we would cycle round the lake. Danny had looked at cycle routes on the map and was sure we could manage it without difficulty. We set off after lunch going across the foot of the lake where people were sunbathing, taking a dip, and in one case practicing the Alpenhorn! Sadly the route then took a sharp turn uphil and eventually Kate quit, despite the batteries, and resorted to pushing. Maybe 34°C wasn’t the best time for our first bit of real exercise in months?

Finally it levelled out and a rough track took us to the picturesque Giessbach Falls

Which rewarded us with another climb, although the height did give us lovely views across the lake until we dropped down to the lakeside and  picturesque Iselberg.  ]

We carried on past lots of people enjoying their Sunday sunbathing and picnicing on rocks or grass at the lakeside, all the way up to Interlaken which as the name suggests, is between 2 lakes – the Brienzersee and the Thunersee. There were even more people out here enjoying the lake.

We crossed the railway bridge over the river between the 2 lakes and climbed up the other side of the lake through the village of Ringgenberg where Kate’s legs cramped up with the unfamiliar exercise and onto a rough cycleway along the hillside. Only to find it appeared to be blocked.

Kate nearly went into meltdown at the thought of going back but once she had got her breath back we took it slow and headed back down to the road along the lake and stayed on it all the way back. A killer 4-hour round trip of 25 miles, with hills, in 34°C – we had earned that cold beer. 

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