Kandersteg and the Swiss Alps

Aug 28, 2016 | 12 comments


Didja miss me? I missed waffling away to you over the past week. We’ve been away again and I’ve agreed not to talk about it whilst away, but I really don’t like it! We’ve been on a fabulous walking holiday in the Swiss Alps. We went with Great Rail Journeys, by train, as the name says. Mike really dislikes flying, so we thought we’d give this a go, and it was fantastic, we loved it. We met some lovely people and had a right laugh all week. We were breathing the purest mountain air and drinking tap water that was straight from the glacier, it was delicious. The view from the front door of the hotel was this And this, from the back of the hotel, is the view from our room image   So this was our week.


we got a taxi, that turned out to be expensive, to Tunbridge Wells to catch the train to Charing Cross. Then a black cab to the hotel, with a name that seemed sort of seedy, Comfort Inn, and in Kings Cross too! Room very cramped, and hot. Dinner at Mamma Casa’s, Italian. Very good, and all served with a delicious Italian accent 😍


To St. Pancras to meet the group and catch the Eurostar. We’ve been on the Eurostar in a car, but not as a passenger. The procedure was much like an airport, train seats pretty cramped. Changed at Paris de Nord to Paris Est for Mezt, on the TGV. Metz has some lovely buildings and I would love to go back and explore it properly. Because of the region we were in, the delicious dinner included a little slice of quiche Lorraine that was exquisite. Pudding included the most gorgeous chocolate tart. I can’t eat chocolate, especially that dark and intense, but tried a tiny forkful. Oh me oh my, be still my beating heart!


Not hungry after that delectable dinner, so didn’t do justice to the buffet. Really nice hotel, nice big room, lovely bed, big, and not bouncy. Had the huge window open, which was lovely as it was pretty hot. Went to boulangerie and had fun asking for, and getting, a pate filled baquette for lunch on the train, and a raisin Danish. Every time I moved my bag it breathed delicious wafts of garlic at me, and when it was lunchtime, the pate was seriously good. Lots of train journeys today, finally arriving at the little Swiss village of Kandersteg where we are based for the next 6 days at the family run hotel Bernerhoff.


Our first walk. The heat was intense as we walked up a mountainside to a viewing point, and what a viewpoint! That’s us up there in the picture at the top of the post, you can just about see how high we are I think. Then we went  to Blausee, the Blue Sea. There is a river going through Kandersteg, the Kander, that looks white as it tumbles past, and at the Blausee, it makes the most beautiful blue lake. It comes from minerals in the rock apparently. Kander   Blausee .


We went off by train to Interlaken and up the cog railway to Schynige Platte. Fantastic views all the way up to the Platte at 2400 metres above sea level. This one, with and without us, is of the famous north face of the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau. We haven’t got a selfie stick, and it makes me look weird holding the phone at arms length! Gorgeous walk around the Platte, although rather too hot. Eiger . image


Mike and I decided to have a day in Kandersteg today, but ended up going with the easy group. It was just what we wanted. A nice easy stroll with lots of stops to enjoy the view, chat and enjoy the local flowers. image We went up the cable car which was a new experience. Then we ambled down to Oeschinensee, another beautiful lake fed from the glacier. Oeschinensee We walked back up and stopped for a bit of lunch. The restaurant charged 5 Swiss francs for a jug of tap water and our lovely guide was outraged and kept on about it! Listened to a flugelhorn performance in the evening which was rather wonderful. Flugelhorn


Today we took the Allmenalp cable car, a most impressive one, a bit ooooooh as it dropped precipitously on the  way back, like a roller coaster! We walked a round trip, looking at two pretty little lakes and very high, 3000 metres this time. Wasn’t really aware of the height in our breathing, although we did tire quite quickly. Still very hot. At one point I sat on a rock trying to soak up the memory. Looking at beautiful mountains, set in a flawless blue sky, breathing the purest mountain air, listening to the cow bells and my new friends gently chatting. Cable car . Cable car


Feet a bit battered now. Left foot has loose nail where I contacted a rock, right has two large blisters. Very hot again. Mooched around the village. Shopped for chocolate to bring back and looked for a cow bell as a keepsake. I like to bring something typical back from a region I visit. First shop was shut. Next one only had bright metal ones painted gaudily, didn’t like those at all. Third shop was perfect. Found a bell that looked old, but isn’t and without gaudiness. Perfect, not cheap, nothing is in Switzerland, and with a great bong to it. Then we went off for a coffee with a couple of new friends and when we were about to move off, another came by and joined us. After another while, we went to the station for lunch where I had a giant ‘fitness’ plate of salad from the buffet.  The buffet included what I think is sauerkraut, I haven’t had it before, so wasn’t sure. We had eaten there once before where it was white, this time it was red. I really liked it and wanted to find out if it was indeed sauerkraut, so I asked the waitress. No, she said, most emphatically, sauerkraut is white! And before I could ask if the white one we had had on the other day was sauerkraut, she hurried off to serve some one else. It is a very popular place and the salad plate was wonderful. Took some pictures of groceries in the little supermarket to show you the very high price of things there. image . image . image . image .


Time to go home. A train from Kandersteg to Bern, change and train to Basel. Then a TGV to Paris Gare de Lyon, across Paris to Paris Nord and the Eurostar arriving at St Pancras at 21:40. A black cab to Charing Cross, only to discover that there were no trains until Monday, damn. Straight back out again to get another cab to London Bridge, with the cabbie complaining all the way about the state of the traffic, to catch a train to Tunbridge Wells, and yet another cab to home. Finally back home at 1:30am, shattered, what a long day. Could barely push the door open for the huge pile of post. Still, nice to sleep in our own bed.

And now……

I have several recipes to explore that I enjoyed whilst we were away. Tomatoen Schnitzel and its variations using spinach and leek, and maybe anything else that inspires. The villagers seemed very keen on leeks, most gardens seemed to have some growing. I bought a tomato one from the baker, managing to ask for it in German (proud face). When the baker explained what was in the other ones, she had to ask a fellow Swiss in the shop what was the English word for leek. They were basically a puff pastry turnover filled with a tasty tomato filling. I’m going to try and make puff pastry with oil to make them and see what happens, if the pastry works. If not, I’ll try making some butter pastry. Tomato schnitzel That authentic quiche Lorraine we sampled in Metz is a must, probably need some cream for that to reproduce the flavour.  And I’ll have to see if I can reproduce the chocolate tart. And there’s the sauerkraut too. So lots to explore. .



  1. Lesley

    Ooh, I don’t think it was those. I’m going to make some when I have a minute. Very busy week coming up. And apparently some shops locally sell it, so I’ll try that too.

  2. Judith

    I think your white sauerkraut was probably celeriac salad and the red was beetroot. These are often served with the salad platters in Switzerland. They are grated into fine long slivers that can look like shredded cabbage.

  3. Lesley

    Thanks Rebecca. It might have been rotkraut, I’m really working in the dark as I haven’t had sauerkraut before, so not sure what it tastes like. I’m going to make some and see

  4. Rebecca

    Perhaps the reddish sauerkraut was something like rotkraut (literally red cabbage). It’s generally a bit sweeter than the white and I think uses apple cider vinegar and other spices. I have a dear Germanfriend who makes it. Your trip looked wonderful and I’m so glad you both had a great time.

  5. Lesley

    Mike and I are already talking about when we would go again!

  6. smallholderwannabe

    I’m glad you had a good holiday. I have happy memories of a holiday in Switzerland some years ago. Maybe it is time to go again.

  7. Lesley

    Hello Sheila and Brian (waves). We had a lovely restful day yesterday, pottering about. Walked down to the town today to a French market, I’ll be writing about it in a bit. I’ve adjusted my Fitbit walking target to 12,000 steps from 10,000 on the strength of Kandersteg!

  8. Lesley

    Sally – ooh, Catalonia sounds good, hope you have a fab time

  9. Lesley

    Olivia – we enjoyed it hugely and are already talking about going again!

  10. Sheila

    We have just enjoyed reading your blog about Kandersteg. I am going to print it off as a keepsake. So sorry to hear you were later home than anticipated, as you know we stayed in London, not quite the standard we were used to in Kandersteg!!!
    We got home mid day on Sunday so it was to the pub for a Sunday roast in the evening. Hope Mike managed to enjoy his favourite pint on Sunday.
    Stay well and happy. Sheila and Brian.

  11. Sally

    I too hate flying so we’re going on a rail trip to Catalonia in October with the sister firm of Great Rail Journeys. Sounds as if you had a great trip.

  12. Olivia

    I’ve lived in Switzerland for over 10 years and the supermarkets are expensive but you get used to it eventually. Where I live, its cheaper for me to nip over the boarder to France or Germany for a family shop. Although there are restrictions to the amount of meat and diary I can bring across the boarder.

    Switzerland is a fantastic country to explore by train, glad you enjoyed it.

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