Le Tour des Alpes 08: Neuchatel – Interlaken – Airolo

Our first road trip together saw us on the Alpine trail, covering four different countries within a span of six days – Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. We rented a car – again from Autoeurope (because they have the best deals around – and camped (in a tent with sleeping bags & mats) under the stars. Yes, late summer/early winter and we’re camping along mountain passes at temperatures of around 2.5 to 5 C. I’m brave, aren’t I?

Anyway, verdict? The entire trip was amazing – great views, good food, and plenty of bonding time and no, I don’t mean sex but really bonding! Oh, if you can, stock up on baby wipes and fruits/snacks in the car plus plenty of CDs. And don’t forget a lantern if you’re camping, otherwise, it’s lights out after 8pm. 😀

Day 1: Neuchâtel – Interlaken – Airolo
The highlight for this day would be the Interlaken region, specifically around the small town of Kleiner Scheidegg which is the take-off station for those heading to the Jungfraujoch. If you’re heading there by car, it’s best to stop at Grindelwald and take the train up to the Scheidegg. There, you can opt to take another train to the Jungfraujoch or go for the many hiking trails around the area. Either way, you’ll have a spectacular view of the three famous Interlaken mountains – Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau.

It took us about two and half hours to get from Neuchâtel to the Interlaken, longer if you’re taking the train. The view gets better as you’re nearing the region so don’t despair if the countryside, farms and dots of cows don’t tickle your fancy at first.

Eiger---Monsch---Jungfrau

Anyway, at the Scheidegg, we chose the latter and took a 45 minute walk up the slope facing the centre and those three gorgeous mountains. The weather was amazingly good with clear blue skies and warm sunshine; great weather in fact for a picnic which was what we did. Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather. Even though it was a clear day with ample sunshine, the winds make things rather chilly for unsuspecting/unknowing visitors so a good fleece jacket plus a thin scarf is good for trips during the late summer/early autumn season.

Grimsel-pass-2

After spending about two hours or so at the Scheinegg, we took the train back down to Grindelwald and headed off in the direction of Airolo, choosing to use the mountain pass road. Being in the Alpine region means that many countries have mountain passes offering shelter and food not to mention great opportunities for a picture postcard view to visitors, travellers and tourists. Located at an altitude of 2165 metres, the Grimsel Pass is between the valley of the Rhone River in the canton of Valais and the Haslital (upper valley of the Aar river) in the canton of Bern. The Rhone river starts nearby at the Rhone Glacier and flows down through Geneva and heads pass Lyon before ending in the Mediterranean Sea. A long trip, if you ask me!

Grimsel-pass-1

After the pass, we tend proceeded to head off to Airolo via the Nufenen Pass (2478 m) and at the time, it would probably interest you to know that we’ve actually crossed over from the French speaking area to the German and finally to the Italian side of Switzerland. Airolo is a small-ski resort during the winter but most of the time, it is a pretty quiet Italian town that is characterised by colourful houses which are not quite as arranged as compared to the German villages/town. It was here that we camped for the night.

To be continued…

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