The last photos I'll post from Switzerland come from my near infrared camera. Switzerland was an amazing place for infrared photos. A bit of the magic of the bright greens and blues gets lost with the way the infrared reacts to the sunlight. However the mountains and valleys take on a whole different perspective.
The second half of our trip took use through the mountains through some of the most spectacular points in central Switzerland and back to Zurich Airport.
With many of the mountain passes still closed, we took a path through the mountains on the Lotschberg Car Train from Goppenstein to Kandersteg. After disembarking and continuing the drive towards Interlaken, we made a quick stop at Blausee.
Even though the day was cloudy, this place was magical. The green water surrounded by trees and the idyllic inn was completely unique.
After stopping off in Spiez for lunch right on Thunersee, we headed straight for our hotel in Interlaken. The gorgeous little town between the lake was a great base to experience the valley containing Lauterbrunnen. Called the "Valley of 72 Waterfalls," its the place that inspired JRR Tolkien in his initial watercolors for Rivendale. This place was simply magical.
We started by taking the train up to the car-free town on Wengen and walked the 1,500 foot drop back down to Lauterbrunnen. We caught the morning just as the sun was breaking over the mountains. The beautiful green meadows were just beginning to bloom with their alpine flowers.
Before we left Interlaken for Lucerne, we took one more morning in the valley. Waking up early was incredibly rewarding to get this one shot. As the sun broke through the clouds, it lit up just a few points in Lauterbrunnen. This day is one of the most uncomfortable times making a photo. For whatever reason, my allergies were in overdrive. I was in tears because my eyes were so bombarded from all the pollen in the air. Somehow out of all that, I managed to come away with a photo of this amazing place that captures what it was like to be there.
On the way to our final stop of the trip, we paused at two amazing places: Reichenbach Falls and the Aareschlucht. The views along the falls were amazing, but the walk through the Aare Gorge was one of the highlights of the trip. The 20 minute walk out and back felt like something out of a movie. The blue water looked like ice in motion. I can't recommend this experience enough.
Our last stop was Lucerne. This beautiful city by the lake of the same name offered everything we could have asked for. Sitting along the river having dinner at a beer garden, walking the medieval city wall, and a boat ride across the lake were the highlights. The old chapel bridge made for some beautiful photos as rain and summer storms came in. The first photo caught me a little longer than I should have stayed out. It started pouring about 60 seconds after the photo was captured.
We took the morning in Lucerne and headed across the lake up to Klewenalp via cable car. We had lunch at a beautiful little restaurant on the mountain. After hopping back on the boat and returning to Lucerne, we climb the old city wall for some amazing views over the city.
This trip was one of the most relaxing vacations I've taken. We didn't overload ourselves with too many things to do, but we saw some really amazing things. Wrapping the trip up with the photo of the summer storms brewing in the hills above Lucerne was a fitting way for the trip to end. Stay tuned for the final post from the Trip: Infrared Photos.
To say that I was excited for an eight-night trip through Switzerland would have been an understatement. We'd been planning this trip since January and had a google map filled with pins of amazing locations and restaurants. After the overnight flight to Zurich we hit the ground running. Aareburg was a little town halfway between the airport and our first destination in Bern.
Luckily I scouted ahead for parking because there was very little to be found. This little town looked like something straight out of a Disney movie. The Church, Castle, and River create a place worth the stop.
With our first stop in Bern, I had to stop and make a pilgrimage to a building by one of my favorite architects. the RPBW designed Zentrum Paul Klee tucks itself into the landscape with flowing structure punctuated by glass boxes.
We caught Bern on a very warm day and walking uphill from the public parking to the hotel with our bags in tow required a good break before setting off for dinner. We found a place in the Altes Tramdepot Brauerei that overlooked the Aare River, the Bear Garden (yes Bears) and the old town center of Bern.
Walking back across Bern's old town to the hotel was a beautiful experience in a quintessential European city. We even caught a few classic cars along the way that transported you back to another time. We took this as a short day to help nurse our jet lag with some extra sleep.
To kick off Day 2, we left Bern and headed for the little village of Gruyeres. We arrived to an event taking place that meant we parked rather far from the village. We later found out that a wedding was happening at the Castle that day and all the special musicians and people we there to lead the wedding party in a parade to the castle. It was very fun to hear the Alphorns played in the charming town square.
After making our way back down the path to the car, we headed into the heart of Geneva stopping off along the Swiss Riviera in Vevey for lunch.
I was rather underwhelmed with Geneva. The weather wasn't that great the day we were there and the skyline of the city was pretty underwhelming. Walking into the old town we stopped off for Fondue at the Restaurant Les Armures and had a wonderful meal sitting along the street.
We headed back along the shores of Lake Geneva towards Chillon Castle. Wandering the maze of rooms and passages that have been constructed since the Twelfth Century felt a bit like I was in something right out of Game of Thrones.
We spent most of the third day in the car. Leaving the French-speaking part and heading up into the Alps for the German-speaking cantons. We stopped off in Les Hauderes at a wonderful little cafe for lunch. After we got back on the road, we parked and unpacked the car to take the train up to car free Zermatt.
We were a bit disappointed as all the trails for hike we planned for the next day were closed due to the risk of avalanches. We took the opportunity to head up into the peaks via cable car. We first visited the Matterhorn Glacier paradise. The highest viewing platform in Europe (12,739 ft) was completely shrouded in dense cloud cover and snow but the walk down into the glacier was very fun.
We hopped the cable car back down to Zermatt and climbed aboard the mountain rack railway up to Gornergrat. The hotel and observatory would normally boast amazing views of the Matterhorn but the low cloud cover completely obscured the view from 10,134 ft. The surrounding mountains and clouds did make for some beautiful abstract images of the peaks we could see.
Come back later this week for the second part of the trip including Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, the Aare Gorge, and Lucerne.
Weather on the weekends has been so disappointing recently, I was happy to catch a break with nice sunrise Saturday. A wonderful mist set in a made the scene even more serene and picturesque.