Exploring Interlaken: Harder Kulm, Funky Chocolate Club, Old Town Excursion And More

This is a continuation from the post on Zurich here. 

Good morning, Zurich. Switzerland, you're so beautiful. 

Stayed one night at Hotel St. Gotthard and this was their buffet area. Had breakfast here before we left for - you guessed it (lol, the title of this post gave it away I know) - Interlaken. 





The most western kinda breakfast you can get. Bacon, pancakes and cold cuts. Also took some still water from here cause (it's probably from the tap anyways) but ya, psychologically it helps. Lol. It was still kinda dark when we bid goodbye to Zurich. 




I mentioned in my first post of this Switzerland travel series that we were gonna hop on and off train a lot during the whole trip. And so, more trains photos to share with you guys. Pretty cool for me cause I've never taken long-haul train before. The trip from Zurich to Interlaken took us about two hours. 









Most trains that we took were pretty empty most of the time. With our Swiss Travel Pass courtesy of Swiss Tourism, we had access to First Class coaches too. But most of the time we didn't bother cause sometimes, it's all the way at the other end. Anyway, when we were taking the rides we didn't have to always take in and out our tickets/pass and only had to produce them when the PIC asked for it, something like random spot checks. Lol.

And here's a photo of the makan area in the train. Pretty cool huh. 


When we arrived at Interlaken, it was already drizzling, and it was quite a walk from the station to the hotel. Still, it was quite an experience walking under the rain with our luggage(s) and thankfully our winter jackets and the hoodie was enough to shelter us temporarily.



That's not our hotel. We stayed in Hotel Metropole. 

Also, my first time seeing a Hooters restaurant lol. I never knew about the hoo-ha surrounding it until there was news that apparently Hooters was gonna open outlets in Malaysia but... seems like that plan did not materialise. Anyway, I digress. Oh yes, those blue umbrellas you see were courtesy of Hotel Metropole for us (pinjam je).



This whole area looks a bit like I was in another place... like Japan? If you can see the writing on the image, it's a casino! Casino Kursaal - the latter being a German word apparently.




It was quite easy to walk around Interlaken, mainly cause the main pathway is like a long straight road. We were walking quite a bit from our hotel to another rail - a funicular rail to be exact, just like the UBS Polybahn in Zurich. Though I must say I thought it was what I'm more familiar with a cable car. I asked my best friend for some explanation (thanks, Google) and found out that the differences lie in the technicalities of the mechanism of the funicular rail vs cable car. Interesting. TIL. 


Up we goooo. To Harder Kulm. And my, when we reach the peak it was like I was in a different place altogether. S.n.o.w.! 





Can't remember what this was but I googled it. Apparently it's found at a few different places (not just in Switzerland) and the plaque is also similar in design and font. It's the German translation of Psalm 66:5 talking about God's awesome deeds for mankind.







The snow was great. It wasn't my first time experiencing winter with snow but it's my first time witnessing snow over a long period (like more than a few minutes) so that was great. But the thick snow meant that we couldn't get to enjoy that spectacular view from this Two Lakes Bridge. Well, on a good clear day, everyone should be able to see Thun Lake and Brienz Lake and the three mounts - Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. We saw none of those as everything was just white in snow lol. 

Anyway once we had enough of the snow and even our winter jackets was heavy from carrying all the snow on it, we went inside the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant for lunch. 




As you can see from the two photos above, my camera was fogging up from the change of temperature. All is well though. My camera survived without any mishaps. 




We were served this drink called Rivella in a cup with Valser stamped on it lol. Our guide for the day told us that this is kinda the staple carbonated drink for Switzerlanders. Also, here, we had a more exciting meal here cause we had... cheese fondue! All the cameras were out and you can see on everyone's faces we were happy to have this hot, satisfying dish while it was still snowing outside. 






Andddd, another signature dish here: raclette. It's my first time having raclette - prior to this I've never even heard of the dish before #kurangexposure. Basically, it's a traditional Swiss dish where usually someone would take a big chunk of raclette (yeah, it's the name of the type of cheese) and scrape the melting cheese on vegetables. 



One last glimpse of the snowy area and then back to the wet Interlaken town at the bottom.









I had to take this photo to show you how clear the water was. Amazing sight.




Wenger is a super popular brand in Switzerland, if not as popular as Victorinox. 




Next, we went to this little shop called Funky Chocolate Club, for an activity! We learned about chocolates. One of the things shared to us was the history of Swiss chocolate. Switzerland has never produced a single cocoa bean, yet Swiss chocolate is famous around the world. But why?! It's all thanks to its milk production. 





There were chocolates in front of us - we could eat any of them any time and we could take as many photos as we wanted too (without disrupting the class of course). 




 And each of us took back 3 bars of chocolate with us. We got to decorate and personalise our own bars - choose the type of chocolate and the toppings - how ever much we wanted! 



Great reviews even on TripAdvisor. I guess the hosts conducting the lessons have really great personalities and that's why people had a great experience. Back then it cost 65 CHF adults for a 60-minute workshop (Funky Chocolate Club suggests allocating about 75 minutes for the whole trip). 


We went back to our hotel to check in after that. Seems like a long day already but it's not over yet.




This was the view from my room. Insane! 


Not long after, we headed out again for a ground tour around Interlaken.


Interlaken's main street - Höheweg, literally "high path" in Swiss German - is where all the action happens. Usually in mid-December up till February, the field just opposite would be transformed into an ice field, which the whole event is known as Top of Europe ICE MAGIC. I saw some videos, it's like a whole carnival, festive-like event where there are activities and food stalls. 

The photo below is the view from my hotel room actually. Beautiful isn't it? Also wanted to show you that this was the field area I was referring to. 


Anyway, back to photos from the ground tour:



We've come to see the Casino Kursaal again lol


According to the guides, Interlaken was quite quiet during that week cause it's a low peak season and a few businesses chose to take a break. It's usually quite happening, especially during summer when people come around for activities such as skydiving or bungee jumping, among others. 








Spotted this car as I was amused. I've only known this car as Perodua Kembara all my life. Then I googled and found out that it's a Daihatsu Terios, with many different names - depending on where the car was assembled. Not really a car person so these kinda information is new to me. 

Towards the end of the day I was super tired. From all the walking, and also cause it was raining almost all day, plus the wind in the winter. No joke. 







Got this voucher to redeem a free gift from Bucherer 1888. Kinda shy at first to just walk in into the shop and redeem something without buying anything. But we're Malaysians and who doesn't love free gifts? We went in together (the next day actually), feasted our eyes on some really luxurious timepieces and went out with a... Rolex spoon! I've kept it unused until today. Haha.



Dinner was then served at Top o’Met, which is a panoramic restaurant at the hotel. Not really suprising since Metropole seems to be the tallest building in town. 

I had wine again. Lol. 





IMO, it was not the best food I had, but it was alright. 

That was it!

It was a long day with lots of walking around Interlaken and we ended up with almost 20,000 steps. Phew!

Goodnight, Interlaken.


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