Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Adventures in Ticino...by which I mean Brienz?!

Our final day in the Ticino and we had to be up bright and early. Our shuttle to the train station left our hotel at 820 am and we had a six hour train journey ahead of us.

But we arrived far too early for our train, and managed to jump on one that changed the whole course of events. Instead of routing through Bern and Luzern home, we came through a beautiful mountain and valleyway and exited our train in Brienz. If you've never heard of Brienz, it's the woodworking capital of Switzerland and I know this because my mum watches shows like Swiss Rail Journeys.

Brienz is beautiful - a village set right on the lake. If you've heard of Interlaken, that town likes in the middle of this lake (Brienzersee) and the Thunersee.

As it is famous for it's wood carving, there are a great many wooden objects littered about the town.

Which meant there was lots of opportunity to take pictures like this one.

Note not only the date this chalet was built, but also who has stayed in it! Where my feet have walked, so have theirs!

Brienz is located in a beautiful spot on the base of the mountains here. It's so peaceful and serene. But as we walked dad told me about the big flood of 2005.

Several days of rain washed all sorts of debris into the lakes, blocking the sluice gates in the lakes. Water levels rose in both the Thun and Brienz lakes. There was heavy flooding in several of the villages but in Brienz the rain caused a mud slide.

This chalet here had to be rebuilt. You can see how they built ditches for the water to run down the mountain and put cement walls to guide it. Here's another article about the flooding.

Even though dad told me those stories, I had no idea of the severity. I guess unless you know where you're looking, you don't see the destruction.

We were on the hunt for some souvenirs to bring home. I had it in my head that this would be the place to buy them. Boy do I really miss the old wood store in Lenk!

"Excuse me sir, would it be possible to snap a picture?"

"Much obliged, I'm sure."

She's such a tourist!

We finally found the town wood store. Where Elisabeth met this little girl.

Unfortunately, even though their carvings were beautiful, their prices were way beyond me. So we kept walking.

How do they do the carvings right on the houses?

Saw another fancy car....

And then walked back towards the train station, but along the water this time.

Unfortunately, we had to rush in order to catch our BOAT. Which meant no looking or playing. Unless you could run ahead of the parents and then play until they caught you up.

Just look at the colour of the water. It was incredible. Though Elisabeth and I really wanted to go for a swim.

So we managed to get to the boat on time, and used our Swiss Rail passes to ride from Brienz.

You can see why these three like taking the boat...

Whereas I love the views, the sun, the fresh air, the photo ops...

There are so many boat rides and lakes here. It's such a lovely way to get from town to town, if you're not on a rushed schedule.

And it's a good way to discover all the places you need to visit next time you're in the country.

Which incidentally, Elisabeth has already pledged all future birthday and Christmas money towards coming back. And I would like to spend a lot more time hiking and visiting family and seeing more of Switzerland.

So I told Andrew I think we should both do work exchanges here and come for a few years.

He didn't argue.