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turned it to account, in improving the roads of the canton, and in other public works.
THE BERNESE OBERLAND.
BERNE TO THUN; INTERLACHEN; - LAUTERBRUNNEN: OVER THE WENGERN ALP TO GRINDELWALD; ASCENT OF THE FAULHORN; -OVER THE Scheideck to Meyringen ; AND BY BRIENZ BACK TO THUN.
This agreeable excursion may be made in 3 days, 1 st to Grindelwald, 2nd to Meyringen, and returning to Berne on the evening of the 3rd day. Most persons, however, will feel disposed to devote longer time to it. But it is by no means necessary to return to Berne: the passes of the Gemmi (R. 38), of the Brunig (R. 19), and of the Grimsel (R. 28), connect the Oberland with the general tour of Switzerland.
It was in this magnificent district that Byron "repeopled his mind from nature," and gathered many of the ideas and images which he has so exquisitely interwoven in his tragedy of Manfred, the scene of which lies among the Bernese Alps. He preferred many of the scenes among these mountains and lakes to Chamouni, and calls them " some of the noblest views in the world.
Berne to Thun.
5 1/6 stunden=16 3/4 English miles. An easy 3 hours' drive.
A diligence goes twice a-day.
The road is excellent, and in fine weather the snowy Alps are in sight nearly the whole way. The scenery of the valley of the Aar is most pleasing; laid out in pasture lands, with abundance of villages, and substantial farm-houses, with broad roofs, surrounded by neat gardens. The river itself runs at some distance on the rt., and is rarely visible. The principal village passed on the way is
2 1/2 Münsingen, memorable in recent Swiss annals as the spot where the great public meeting of the men of the canton was held in 1831, which adopted the new constitution, and overthrew the rule of the oligarchy.
The Stockhorn, with its conical peak, and the Niesen two limestone mountains, forming, as it were, the advanced guard of the high Alps, posted on the opposite side of the lake, become conspicuous objects before reaching
2 2/3 Thun-Inns: H. de Bellevue. Outside the town, and beyond it, a new and first-rate hotel, well situated in a
garden commanding a view of the Aar. It is however rather dear.
Dinner, table d'hôte, at 2, 3 fr.; at 5, 4 fr.-tea, 1 fr. 10 sous-waxlights, 1 fr. each, beds, 2 fr.
The Bateau à Vapeur, another inn, a few yards farther, belongs to the same landlord, who is also proprietor of the steam-boat plying on the lake, and is a clever, active, and enterprising person. He is civil withal, and well acquainted with Switzerland, so as to be able to advise travellers on their proposed routes.-Freyenhof, within the town, formerly the chief inn, but now second rate;-Faucon, said to be good.
The Pension Baumgarten is well spoken of, and is usually so full that it is difficult to obtain rooms without long previous application. "The landlady is extremely respectable and civil; the apartments cheerful and pleasant; living good. Charges 5 fr. a-day for each master, and 1/2 for a servant, everything included."-L.
There is not a more picturesque town in Switzerland than Thun, situated about a mile from the lake, upon the river Aar, which here rushes out of it clear as crystal. Pre-eminent above the other buildings rise a venerable church, and a picturesque feudal castle 700 years old. Thun contains 4876 inhabitants; but within its walls there is nothing worth notice. It is however, from its position, and its beautiful environs, one of the most agreeable places of residence in Switzerland, and being the starting place for those who visit the Bernese highlands, it is thronged with a constant succession of travellers through the whole summer.
The view from the Churchyard terrace “along the lake, with its girdle of Alps, fine glaciers, and rocks wooded to the top," is mentioned by Byron. A more extensive prospect is gained from the little Pavilion of St. Jacques; but better than either is the view from the grounds of a pretty Country-house called the Chartreuse, about 1/4 mile below the Hotel Bellevue. The Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eigher arc visible from hence. The Military School of the Swiss confederation is at Thun.
Vehicles of various kinds, and guides may be hired at Thun.
A new carriage-road has been constructed up the Sitomenthal, from the lake of Thun to Vevey. (Route 41.)
Lake of Thun-Thun to Interlachen.
Since 1835 a small iron steam-boat plies on the lake of Thun between Thun (the Hotel du Bateau à Vapeur) and Neuhaus. The voyage takes up about 65 minutes. It starts fromThun at 9 A.M and 2 P.M.; from Neuhaus at 12 and 7
N.B. These were the hours in 1837; but, as they are liable to be altered from year to year, travellers should inquire before hand. A row-boat with 3 oars costs 75 batz= 11 fr. 5 sous. The tarif fixed by the authorities being 3 fr. for each rower, and 2 fr. 5 sous for the boat. The voyage takes up about 3 hours.
The steamer does not take carriages; but a good carriageroad has been made to Interlachen, along the S. shore of the lake. The distance is about 4 stunden-13 English miles. The lake is about 10 miles long.
The banks of the lake near Thun are occupied with neat villas and cheerful gardens : further on, its N. shore is precipitous, and not very interesting. Among its scanty villages and hamlets, the most important is Oberhof, distinguished by the square tower of its castle.
The S. shore is more striking. Here the two remarkable mountains, the Stockhorn, with a sharp peak, projecting like a horn, or thorn, and the pyramidal mass of the Niesen, with its conical top, stand sentinels at the entrance of the Kander and Simmenthal. The river Kander conducted into the lake by an artificial channel formed for it in 1714, has deposited around its mouth, within less than a century and a half, a delta or sand-bank of several hundred acres. The progress and extent of this recent formation, so interesting to geologists, has been ably investigated by Mr. Lyell.
S. At the foot of the Niesen, on a projecting tongue of land stands the picturesque castle of Spietz, founded, according to tradition, by Attila (?), and belonging to the family of Erlach. At Spietzwyler there is a neat inn.
N. When about two-thirds over the lake, a projecting promontory of precipitous rock, called the Nose, is passed, and a fine view is obtained of the Eigher and Mönch, which fill up the extremity of the lake with the white mass of their snow. To the rt. of them appear the Jungfrau and Finster Aarhorn.
In front of the Nose the lake is 720 feet deep.
N. Farther on, in the face of the mountain, is the Cave of St. Beatus, above a small cascade, which may be seen leaping into the lake. St. Beatus, according to tradition, a native of Britain, converted the inhabitants of this part of Helvetia to Christianity. Being minded to take up his residence on the shores of the lake, he fixed his eyes upon a grot well suited to a hermit's abode, which happened at the time to be occupied by a dragon. The monster, however, was easily ejected, without force, and simply by hearing a notice to quit addressed to him by St. Beatus. Among the miracles perfromed by the anchorite, in addition to the above, must be mentioned that of his crossing the lake on his clock, which, when
spread out on the water, served him instead of a boat. A rivulet issues out of the cave, and is subject to sudden rises, which fill the cavern to the roof, and are accompanied by a loud report, like that of a cannon. It may be reached in a quarter of an hour from the shore.
At Neuhaus, a solitary cabaret at the end of the lake, about 10 miles from Thun, and about 2 miles from Unterseen, the passengers are landed. A long array of carriages, porters, guides, and horses, will be found awaiting their disembarkation; also a diligence, which runs to Interlachen; fare, 1 fr. N.B. Travellers bound on the tour of the Oberland generally engage an equipage here for the whole journey, and if they find a good stout pair of horses, there is economy in doing so; since, where the carriage-roads cease, the horses are taken out and used for riding. The owner will provide saddles and act as guide.. Thus, if the same horses are continued during the whole journey, and brought back to Unterseen, one or even 2 days of back fare are saved.
2/3 Unterseen, a thoroughly Swiss village, composed (except the Castle on the market-place, and Rathhaus) of wooden houses. many of them brown from age, being 2 centuries old, contains about 1000 inhabitants.
It is situated about half-way between the lakes of Thun and Brienz, whence its name, and that of Interlachen, both signifying "between the lakes." "There are several pensions here, where the charge is 3 fr. a-day; but they are not so good as those of Interlachen; in fact, they are altogether inferior establishments, chiefly resorted to by Germans and Swiss, and the hours are more primitive, dinner being served at 1."-L.
N. B. Those who wish to make the most of their time, and intend to return to Thun, will turn off at once from Unterseen to Lauterbrunnen, as they must pass through Interla chen (where there is nothing particular to be seen) on their way from Brienz.
3/4 Interlachen. Besides the inn, called Hotel de InterJachen, or Landhaus, and said to be good, there are at least a dozen pensions, or boarding-houses here, where travellers, are now received for one day. Formerly no one was taken in for less than a week. The charges for board and lodging vary between 5 and 6 fr. a-day, exclusive of wine. The principal pensions are Müller's; Seilers; the Cassino (6 fr.); and Hofstetters; the latter is kept by a very obliging landlord, and affords as good accommodation as any in the place. At most of these houses there is a daily table d'hôte, and during the season balls are constantly given at one or other.
Interlachen has few sights or lions for the tourist or passing traveller, who need not stop here, unless be require to rest
himself. Its beautiful position, however, on a little plain between the lakes, in full view of the Jungfrau, whose snowy summit is seen through a gap in the minor chain of Alps, its vicinity to numerous interesting sites, and some of the most pleasing excursions in Switzerland, together with its exceed, ing cheapness as a place of residence, have spread its reputation through Europe, and have literally converted it into an English colony, two-thirds of the summer visitors, on a moderate computation, being of our nation, who have converted the place into a sort of Swiss Margate. The village itself, a collection of staring, white-washed lodging-houses, has nothing Swiss in its character. Still, however, though no longer a place of retirement, Interlachen must not be disparaged; its almost endless walks and rides, its boating parties on the two lakes, its picnics, and balls, would, in the society of friends, afford amusement for a season. In front of the lodging-houses runs a magnificent avenue of walnut-trees, most inviting from its cool shade. The wooded slopes of the Harder, a hill on the opposite bank of the Aar, rendered accessible by easy paths, commanding a delightful view, and the old castle of Unspunnen are within the distance of a walk even for ladies; while the Giesbach Falls, Lauterbrunnen with the Staul bich, and Grindelwald with its glaciers, are within a short morning's row or ride. They are described in the following tour of the Oberland. There is a Subscription Reading-room and Library here, at which "The Times" and "Galignani" are taken in.
The English Church Service is performed every Sunday in the church by an English clergyman, for whom a small stipend is formed by voluntary contributions among his countrymen.
Very good saddle-horses may be hired at Interlachen. As far as Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald there is a good charroad, and the saddle-horses may be used to draw the chars.
From Unterseen, or Interlachen, to Lauterbrunnen, is about 3 1/4 stunden, 10 Eng. miles a drive of nearly 2 hours. The road is practicable for the carriages of the country. After passing a tract of verdant meadowland, on which great wrestling-matches (one of which has been described by Madame de Stael) are periodically held, the road passes on the rt. the Castle of Unspunnen; it is in a very dilapidated state, but a square tower, with a flanking round turret rise picturesquely above the brushwood surrounding them. It is the reputed residence of Manfred, and its position in front of the high Alps renders it not unlikely that Byron may have had it in his eye. The real owners of the castle were the barons of Unspunnen, a noble and ancient race, who were lords of the whole Oberland, from the Grimsel to the