Interlaken | Swiss Tour 2020
Updated: Jan 16
We set off for Interlaken a few weeks ago feeling both extremely excited for our trip and also a little sad that it was the last of our visits for our tour as Expat Ambassadors for Swiss tourism.
It was pouring with rain when we arrived but fortunately we were able to park not far away from our first activity which was a workshop at The Funky Chocolate Club. It’s hard to describe how excited the children (and us adults) were about this activity and the feeling was only heightened when we arrived to be greeted by the delicious smell of chocolate and the glorious display of treats in the shop counter.
The workshop was conducted by Richard who runs the Funky Chocolate Club with his wife. We were all given hats and aprons with Elio installed in his pushchair next to us as we ogled at the bowls of chocolate on the tables. The first part of the workshop was a bit about the production process of chocolate with lots of very important chocolate tasting as we went along. Elio especially enjoyed this part and shouted if I didn’t keep him supplied with a steady stream of chocolate to munch on. It always amazes me that little Elio can’t feed himself or manage solid food but somehow he always makes a big exception if there is chocolate on offer :-)
We chose our chocolate base (milk or dark) and set about tempering our chocolate before pouring it into the tablet moulds and decorating them. My favourite was the edible transfer which we could add to one of the bar moulds but the children clearly enjoyed adorning their bars with everything they could get their hands on including fudge pieces, smarties, sprinkles and more chocolate! We were all delighted with the end results which needed to set properly before we could collect them later in the day. The workshop was easily one of the best family activities we have ever done and was a great mix of learning and fun with lots of laughter and joy. It was also nice to find something that Elio loved so much and he came out covered in chocolate and happy. We all made a bar for him so he has a good stock now to keep him going for a while!
Having bought a few extra bits from the shop, we headed back out into the rain and drove to Ballenberg Open Air Museum. We have heard a lot about this place and have wanted to visit for a long time so it was a real treat to see it on our itinerary.
If you haven’t heard of it, Ballenberg is a 66 hectare site where you can visit over 100 magnificent farmhouses, humble workers’ quarters, alpine huts and stalls, barns, store-houses, wash-houses and much more alongside a large number of animals and exhibitions.
Our first stop was lunch so we went to the Bären restaurant and tucked into sausages in the cosy restaurant before we set off to explore.
Even though the weather was wet, we really loved this place. It’s so engrossing that you forget about the world outside. There is so much to see and discover, it’s a wonderful place for children who can enter the buildings to discover what life was like in the past and learn more about different trades with lots of displays and demonstrations to watch.
We loved the farm part where we could watch the chickens and Alba particularly loved watching the pigs enjoying the mud.
We only had a few hours for our visit during this trip so we weren’t able to see everything so I would definitely suggest setting aside at least a day to cover the whole park. We really learnt so much and each path leads you to another exciting part of the park so it was fun for the children to discover what lies ahead as we walked around. Towards the end of the visit we discovered a building housing bees which we found really fascinating and Jude spent some time trying to find the queen.
As the evening approached, it was time for us to head back into the centre of Interlaken to collect our chocolate and check into our accommodation before dinner.
We were sleeping at the backpackers Villa which has a central location in the town. There is handy parking just outside and we were so impressed with the friendly welcome we received which included an explanation of the facilities and things we might need. There are a number of different kinds of rooms available for different budgets and with the children, we had been given a large private room with bunk beds and twin beds, plus a private toilet and shower. The room was spotlessly clean and comfortable and once the children had settled in and chosen which beds they wanted to sleep in, we were ready to head to a nearby restaurant for dinner.
Back in the room a little later and we had a bit of a job getting Elio to settle down but he eventually fell asleep along with the other two children and we all woke up feeling refreshed and ready for breakfast the following morning.
The Backpackers Villa offers a simple breakfast following which we packed up the car and set off for the next part of our adventure.
The weather had been surprisingly cold in some parts of Switzerland around the time of our visit but we hadn’t considered the exciting possibility of eating lunch surrounded by snow, but that’s exactly what happened!
We drove to Interlaken Ost and parked the car before boarding the cog train to Schynige Platte. The journey takes about 1h but it’s really beautiful as the train climbs the mountain through forest land and we could gradually see the presence of snow as we got higher, to the point that there was a good covering on the ground when we reached the top. As we got off the train we were greeted by the sound of alpine horns being played which was just magical and added a really wintery, festive feel to the place.
We took some time to look at our surroundings before we went up to the restaurant for lunch. We had a great table in the corner where we could just about make out the mountains in front of us through the fog. We had a lovely hearty lunch before we went to get the train back down. This was a fantastic trip and really beautiful. We were sad that the viability wasn’t great so we’ll try and make another trip.
We took the train back down again and got back in the car before driving to Neuhaus where we had a little time to kill before we were due to catch a boat. We spent some time walking around the lake and enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate before heading down to the port and embarking on the boat.
We weren't sure what to expect but we certainly hadn't prepared for the enormous and impressive boat which appeared in front of us. We deviated from the original plan here as Elio wasn't very happy so I got on the boat with Alba and Jude, while Jean and Elio drove to meet us back in Interlaken.
The boat was incredible and we had been given tickets for the top deck so we climbed the steps and went outside to wave to Jean and Elio who were watching as we pulled away from the jetty. Inside, the boat was very impressive and we found a nice spot to sit and watch the scenery pass on the journey back to Interlaken Ost which took about 25 minutes - we loved every minute of it. Jude and Alba we really excited and enjoyed watching out of the windows and they even found some sheep to wave at on the banks as we passed.
Back on dry land and it was time for us to return home. We really love Interlaken. In fact it was one of the places Jean and I visited together before the children arrived and it's always a great place for a visit with plenty to do and lots to see. We couldn't have asked for a better trip to end our wonderful tour of Switzerland.
Interlaken Tourismus Marktgasse 1 3800 Interlaken Schweiz
Tel. +41 33 826 53 00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Funky Chocolate Club
3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum
CH-3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz
+41 33 952 10 30
Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof
Alpenstrasse 16 CH-3800 Interlaken phone: +41 33 826 7171 local: 033 826 7171 Email: email@example.com
Rail Info Interlaken for Schynige Platte
Téléphone: +41 33 828 72 33
BLS AG - Interlaken Lake Cruises
Lachenweg 19, CH-3604 Thun
+41 58 327 48 11