Sunday, June 3, 2018

Three Alpine Valleys

Leaving Montreux this morning, our train climbed the mountain wall to its east and crossed a divide via a long tunnel.  Exiting that tunnel, we were in the broad watershed of the Saane River (or Sarine River in French).  Descending along one of its tributaries, we enjoyed fabulous views of the high Alps to our south.  At Montbovon, we joined the main channel of the Sanne and followed it upstream as far as Gstaad, which sits in a beautiful alpine valley.  The Saane itself flows NNW from this area, eventually passing through Fribourg and entering the Aare River northwest of Bern.  Of interest, the Saane (or Sarine) roughly marks the border between the French and German linguistic regions of Switzerland.

From Gstaad, the train climbed northward, leaving the watershed of the Saane and entering that of the Simme River.  After lunch and a change of trains in Zweisimmen, we followed the Simme down to the broad Valley of the Aare River, were it joins the Kander River before entering Lake Thun, just west of Spiez.

A short journey up the Aare Valley brought us to Interlaken West, a resort town that sits north of a high wall of peaks; among these is the famous Eiger, 13,026 feet in elevation.  Tomorrow, we plan to ascend to higher terrain via a train, bus and cable car to enjoy views of those mountains and of the Aare Valley far below.