Tag Archives: Interlaken

Day 17 – Ballenberg Folk Museum

Today, Raul and Lauren took a series of trains from Lausanne to Interlaken along the fourth scenic rail journey, the Golden Pass. For the segment starting in Montreux, they decided to ride in one of the classic Belle Epoque cars since they had enjoyed it so much the previous day on the Chocolate Train. It was a great deal because it was covered by their Swiss Pass, and, unlike other scenic rail journeys, a seat reservation was not compulsory.

At Interlaken, the travellers deposited their bags in a handy train station locker and left for the Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum. It is shameful that in the U.S., luggage lockers have all but disappeared from airports and train stations due to “security risks.”

The Museum is actually 50 acres of over 100 transplanted traditional Swiss buildings. Many of these can be likened to museums in and of themselves, displaying traditional clothing, tools, trades, and crafts: watch-making, farming, hat-making, textiles, etc. So this complex is actually a series of museums in one giant museum. The Museum has physically relocated centuries-old buildings to their property, grouping them according to their region of origin. Visitors can enter into almost all of these buildings, which consist of farm-houses, town-houses, granaries, barns, storage buildings, and those dedicated to handicrafts or other occupations. In addition to the structures and many gardens, the Museum is also home to every kind of native Swiss farm animal and even some endangered breeds. The animals are not corralled off in a separate space but rather are integrated among the farmsteads. This fact, along with the live fires burning in the hearths and the actual production of honey, bread, and other goods made it feel like a truly living community. Raul and Lauren had time to visit only about one quarter of the area, but they may return in the next few days if the weather isn’t conducive to high-mountain excursions.

Their destination for the next several nights was Gimmelwald, a tiny village perched high above Lauterbrunnen Valley on a cliff. To reach it, they took a cable car from the valley floor. After checking in, they socialized with a few Canadians at dinner (they were not as animated about hockey as the other Canadian Raul and Lauren know) and explored for a short time a daring path that leads to what is called a via ferrata–a suspension bridge, exceedingly narrow and precarious, requiring the use of a harness and carabiners to traverse safely. This is beyond the scope of Raul and Lauren’s sojourn.

Confœderatio Helvetica
Coat of Arms

Time Plan Sleep in
Day 17 Friday 1 June Gimmelwald
09:01 Depart Lausanne platform 3 on S1 12123 to Montreux
Duration: 30m
Saved S₣5,20
09:31 Arrive Montreux, transfer to platform 5 on D 3118 to Zweisimmen
09:45 Depart Montreux – Golden Pass, reservation S₣15 front-row VIP seats, S₣5-10 other seats
Duration: 1h 47m
Saved S₣49
11:32 Arrive Zweisimmen, transfer to platform 7 on RE 3118 to Interlaken
11:38 Depart Zweisimmen – Golden Pass
Duration: 1h 11m
12:49 Arrive Interlaken Ost, stow bags, transfer to platform 4 on IR 2223 to Brienz
13:04 Depart Interlaken Ost for ▲▲Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum at Ballenberg
Duration: 45m
Saved S₣5,60
13:22 Arrive Brienz
13:37 Depart Brienz BE, Bahnhof on Bus 215 to Ballenberg West, Museum
13:49 ▲▲Swiss Open-Air Folk Museum at Ballenberg, closes at 17:00
Saved S₣20
17:30 Return to Interlaken and pick up bags from train station
18:05 Depart Interlaken Ost platform 2A on R 181 for Gimmelwald, trains 1/hr
Total duration: 55m
Saved S₣17
18:35 Depart Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof on Bus 14143 for Schilthornbahn cable-car station
18:55 Take Schilthornbahn cable-car to Gimmelwald
19:30 Check in to Olle and Maria’s B&B, S₣130/night (4 nights), cash only, free Wi-Fi, breakfast S₣20
Tel: +41 033-855-3575