Sixteen months after I was last here I am back in Wengen, Switzerland. Last time I was on my own in the middle of winter. This time it isn’t my holiday but Nigel’s, the man with learning difficulties I help with. Nige loves travel and good food, so this is an ideal place to bring him.
Nige seemed to know we were somewhere very different as soon as we left the plane in Zurich. As he is elective mute it is difficult to know exactly what he is thinking, but I suspect he heard the different language. He has been to foreign parts before so this was not the first time he has heard everyone speak a language other than English.
On the train from Zurich we went upstairs to get a better view. Nige watched intently…
The journey as far as Bern is relatively flat, but once we changed trains there the scenery became more photogenic. This is the Lake of Thun with the Alps behind:…
… and a bit further on the same lake looking north:
We left the main lines at Interlaken Ost, and joined the meter gauge line to Lauterbrunen. The trains are colour coded here, and this one is yellow and blue!
As we travelled up the narrow valley, it looked very different to last time. Then there was snow and ice, and no leaves on the trees. This time the river was flowing, not frozen, and the trees are in full leaf:
Once we got to the hotel, the Alpenrose, and Steve opened the doors to their balcony, Nige took up a seat and clearly approved!
He looked straight out on to a field with sheep, complete with bells:
My room faces the other way, across the valley, and I, too, have sheep – but ‘mine’ looke to be a wool breed and unshorn:
The animals have bells which vary in size depending on the amount of milk they provide. This means they all differ in sound. The lambs have tiny bells which tinkle and the adult sheep have larger ones with lower notes.
My balcony also has a window box. At this time of year the plants are just starting flowering, but the trailing geraniums are looking good!
I was on my balcony when I heard a cacophony of bells, in lower notes than the sheep. I looked across and saw a group of cows careering across a field nearby. They were cows and calves, looking like beef animals not dairy. They galloped to and fro, and from their behaviour this morning (cow-like) and comparison with the case at home, my guess is that they had just been let out of their winter sheds for pasture for the first time this spring! Later in the evening I took pix from my balcony of them in the landscape, with the Jungfrau range behind:
And to prove they are beef cattle, a close up: