Continuation of my grandfather’s 1928 trip to Europe…
After about twenty minutes to stretch our legs we were off for Grimsel Pass and then down toward Interlaken. This part of the ride was quite high too and in one place the road tunneled under a drift of snow for at least two hundred feet and the cut on either side was very long too.
At Meringen we took a train for Brienz where the boat crossed to Interlaken. At Meringen we were told that we would not be able to cross the lake by boat because it would be gone. Consequently we were slow to ask about asking at Brienz about the boat.
George, however, did ask and we got off the train just as it started, in fact I threw one of my bags off and jumped with the other. We rushed for the boat and as George rushed by me he tripped and fell but before he could pick himself up the boat sounded its whistle and started off without us. We finally got George dusted off a little and found he was not even scratched although there was a little three-cornered tear in his right pants leg.
The hotel porters came up and stood off a little and wanted to know if anyone was hurt. For once they did not mention hotels although both the last train and the last boat had gone.
I asked one fellow who had offered us assistance where his hotel was and what price he could give us a room for and we took up his offer as the hotel was near the water and only about five minutes walk away. He put our bags on top of a cart with four beer kegs and off we went with him and the cart in the lead.
The hotel was right on the water’s edge and the lake looked so inviting that I couldn’t resist asking about having a swim. I soon had the required bathing tights on and was in the lovely cool water of Lake Brienz. There were a few swans about and George looked on the scene as he does not know how to swim.
I felt like a new man after the hot, dusty ride over the passes, from the refreshing swim and most as soon as we were out the supper was ready and I made a hole in it right away,in fact I ate enough for two people. The little out-door beer garden was prettily surrounded with greens and trees here and there. After eating we strolled along the waterfront and watched the lights across the lake and on the mountains, and listened to the roar of waterfalls in the distance.
With the stars overhead and little breeze from off the lake we soon were all over the disappointment of missing the boat and had decided to spend all the next day (Sunday) right in the town and then we went back to the hotel and to bed.
Sunday, July 15th.
We arose about eight and had the regulation continental breakfast of rolls, butter, jam and cocoa. Then we wrote on our diaries and I wrote some postal cards and two letters.
After dinner we were told of a series of 13 waterfalls, one after the other, which is just across the lake and we found there was a boat leaving at five and returning about seven twenty.However, just before time to start a storm came up which lasted all the time we would have been gone from the hotel, so we decided not to go. However, we could hear the falls from our room even though they were more than three kilometers away.
When the storm let up we took a stroll through the town and took a few pictures on George’s camera. The Swiss houses are all very pretty and we noticed that they, as wall as the English people, love to have flowers about and in their houses.
Near the station we saw a shop with lots of wood carving in it and I decided to have an eagle with spread wings cut from larch wood I believe. Before we left I had made several other purchases including a maid carrying two buckets of milk.
The mistress of the shop said that the men whom we saw the day before carrying large wooden buckets on their backs were carrying milk in these and that they make two trips a day with the milk down the steep mountainsides to the villages. After supper we listened to the Edison and then retired.
Monday, July 16th.
We arose early and took the seven fifteen boat from Brienz to Interlaken, crossed the town by train and then crossed to Spiez on the other lake by boat.
While crossing the Interlaken we saw the snow capped peak of Jungfrau in the morning sunlight. At 10.56 we left Spiez by train for Montreux where we arrived about 14 o’ clock.
We had lunch and then took the 15.50 boat for Geneva where we arrived about 20.30. Of all the Swiss lakes Geneva is the largest I think has the ugliest mounton surroundings. One naturally is looking for high mountains in Switzerland but Lake Geneva has no range of high peaks anywhere near it.
However the shoreline was interesting with its array of beautiful English Poplar trees and pretty houses. We reached Geneva about sundown and found a hotel which had hot and cold running water and soon after retired. Forgot to mention that George and I looked up his Geneva friends but they were out.
Tuesday, July 17th.
We arose about eight and after breakfast I went down to the station and found the time of trains to Pisa and Rome and then got some Swiss money to pay our bill with and some Italian money to use when we arrived there. While I did these things and called up the Y.M.C.A. office George called on his friends whom he had gotten in touch with in the meantime.