Fourteen Months Abroad – Interlaken, Switzerland

May 16.—We left Lucerne this morning. Miss Suter was with us at the station until the train left. She gave me some lilies of the valley, blue myrtle and other flowers from their grounds just as we were leaving. We were sorry to leave Pension Suter and the two sisters who were most kind to us, but now we are far away in Interlaken.

I am sitting in a window of our hotel which looks out upon other and different mountains—the snowy Jungfrau and others which are nearer. I see also beds of beautiful blue forget-me-nots and very double daisies, some pink, some white. The birds sing here as well as in Lucerne and they are the same black birds that we heard there among other trees and flowers and other mountains.

The Suters, Miss Graves, and Mrs. Putnam all hoped it would rain today so that we could not go. It did rain early in the morning and our going seemed doubtful, but the clouds passed away, the air cleared, a carriage was ordered and about ten o’clock we said goodbye to Pension Suter. It seemed like making a visit there with friends. Now we are in a strange hotel. L. has been down to dinner, but I, feeling rather homesick, have written in my journal instead and have begun unpacking.

May 17.—Early, before breakfast.—Our journey yesterday was along the Lake of Lucerne at first, on the bank opposite that on which we came. There we said goodbye to Rhigi, Strauserhorn, Pilatus and Lake Lucerne. Pilatus was capped with clouds. It is a beautiful valley all the way to the Brunig Pass. Apple and pear trees were in bloom. We rode by the side of a river that flowed out of Lake Sarnan; then along the whole length of that lake. The train passed close to the water’s edge. Pussy willows, buttercups and blue flowers were on the lake shore and still the crimson-tipped daisies—carrot blossoms, too. L. says “Switzerland is afflicted with them.” There are many in Lucerne, some with pink blossoms.

We began to rise. It was interesting to notice how the flowers changed with the elevation. Soon we looked down upon another beautiful green lake—Lake Lungern. We saw Swiss log cottages. We were now in the Brunig Pass and had views of the high Alpine villages. We could hear the bells ringing in the valleys below. We looked down on men and women at work in fields which were divided like patch work, some of them yellow with buttercups, others brown or different shades of green. The mountains impressed us greatly as we went up the Pass. It differs from the Brenner Pass and the St. Gothard Pass in having the mountain views mostly on one side—the side the lakes are on. We rode along the very edge of the rocks—the curves giving us fine views of the mountains and the valley. The town (or station) of Brunig is at the top. Here the train waited twenty-five minutes. I went out to gather some of the mountain wild flowers and returned, much pleased, with red orchids, two kinds of yellow primulas and one little blue gentian. A lady and gentleman who had seen how fond I was of flowers came bringing me other wild flowers –one a wild mountain oxalis, the blossom somewhat resembling a very large wood anemone. L. thought “the view of the mountain going down was finer than going up, but it was all very picturesque and beautiful.” We looked down into the valley on a straight river and a road running parallel with it. There were fine mountain cascades and sharp, rocky peaks. When we reached the foot of the pass we went back again through this same valley. At Brienz we took a steamer on Lake Brienz for Interlaken. We passed fine waterfalls. Both of us enjoyed the whole trip ! A delightful day. We are stopping at Hotel du Nord.

I saw a calf and a sheep yesterday walking along in a field together in close companionship.

It rained last night, but today the sun is shining. Early this morning I saw golden clouds above the Jungfrau, and had a clear view of the mountain as it appears from the window. It is the great mountain here.

Afternoon.—About half-past four. We have just re-turned from Schynige Platte mountain which we ascended by cog-wheel railway. This mountain, south of Interlaken, six thousand five hundred feet high, is crowned by shining rocks which give it its name. We are told that this excursion is not surpassed. “It is the only point from which the valleys of Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald are both seen at once through their entire length.”

As we sat outdoors this morning, waiting at the railway station, clouds rested on the mountains, although the air seemed clear. We had grand views going up the mountain. It was a wonderful ride ! Slowly we wound our way up and up and up to the summit. I thought if our friends could see our train creeping and crawling along the perilous edges of those steep, rocky precipices they might be alarmed for our safety. But we had no special fear. Only once I was startled by a great thump underneath the car and wondered what it meant. When we began to approach the top of the mountain looking down produced dizziness. Just as we were reaching the summit we entered a cloud, which somewhat dismayed us, but soon those which hung over the grand range before us began to disappear and we could see the summits of the three gigantic mountains, Eiger, Monch, then Jungfrau, with the Wetterhorn at the left of Eiger. From the Wetterhorn two glaciers lead down to the famous valley of the Grindelwald. We could see them distinctly with the naked eye but our field glass brought the ice more clearly into view. We looked down upon the very high village of Grindelwald. From the hotel we saw the other famous valley, the Lauterbrunnen, and looked across upon other snow-covered mountains. During our whole stay the clouds be-low us kept forming and rising continually. No clouds descended, but all rose from the seemingly bottomless depths beneath us and arrayed the gorges and summits with fleecy apparel which was continually changing in form and texture. We wished to see the mountains more clearly, but at the same time would not have been willing to lose this sub-lime cloud-picture. On the summit of this mountain I gathered white and purple crocuses. There were large places white with these. I also gathered, on a slippery, muddy bank, some reddish-purple violets which resembled pansies in color and form. L. brought me some blue gentians and picked a solitary red flower, beyond my reach and at which I had looked with longing eyes. On the way up I saw many wild forget-me-nots, wild geraniums, orchids, primulas, daisies, dandelions, buttercups and other flowers which I longed for and could not get. Returning, the scenes of the ascent were repeated. Especially fine was the view of the two lakes (Brienz and Thun) with Interlaken lying between. The views of the gorges and ravines were indescribably fine.

Jungfrau was hidden much of the time today. We were sorry.

May 18.-Last evening after dinner we walked past the great hotels and among the stores. We saw the park and beautiful flowers on the grounds of the hotels—beds of enormous pansies, luxuriant forget-me-nots and lavender phlox. This seems to be the home of forget-me-nots. The beds are beautiful.

The jingling of the cow bells is pleasing. Droves of cows go by, each cow having a bell; they are pitched in different keys, thus making a sort of cow-bell chimes.

Interlaken seems to be made up largely of hotels. Mountains surround the place. L. says, “people are fed on mountains here.”

Many excursions are made from here. There is more English spoken than in any place we have visited since leaving England. French, German and perhaps Italian are all used.