Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ballenberg and Meiringen

On Tuesday, we opted to visit three places nearby that have been high on our list of things to see in Switzerland. It has become a very short list after five months of intense exploring.

Our choices were the Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg near Brienz and the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Reichenbach Falls both in Meiringen.

This trip would involve a train ride to first Interlaken which was no problem. Once their, we needed to catch another train to Brienz.


For the second time in less than a week, the Swiss train system had a SNAFU. It seems that a train had broken down on the tracks blocking the tracks from Interlaken to Brienz so we would miss the 12:04 train we were hoping to catch.

Not to worry, the Swiss train system comandeered two city busses and we pushed off for the 15 minute ride to Brienz only five minutes tardy!

Brienz Bus Station 

The bus station and the train station next door both do sit on the shore of Lake Brienz.

They love their goats in Brienz! 

The Freilichtmuseum Ballenberg 

Ballenberg, for short, is a 660 acre, open air complex that houses over 100 original buildings from all over Switzerland.

These buildings were dismantled, transported to Ballenberg and then reassembled section by section thus saving them from demolition.

The museum provided us with a feel for rural life throughout the various cantons of Switzerland, complete with farm animals and demonstrations of various rural crafts.

Laurie loved Ballenberg's gardens

Traditional Clothing 

Dinner for Ten 

I would look SO good in this 

On the balcony 

Can you say

These instruments were
more to my musical tastes 

That's a BIG bell!

Unknown Pagan Symbol

Swiss archeologists still have not been able to figure out what it is or why the ancients may have worshipped it.

Got to love a good Alp Horn!

Traditional Swiss Dress

Laurie's Favorite

A Swiss Saint? 

Peaceful Ballenberg 

I'm a sucker for zucker

Old stoves were smokey

Glorious farmhouse
that is now a bakery 

A baker stoking his oven fire

Cutting the dough

Cooling Off 

Visiting school kids had already
laid claims to the baked goods

Rustic Chairs and a
Milking Stool

I don't think so!

The rebuilt houses even
had the right little touches

Mating snails? 


In a stunning upset, reminiscent of Italy's 2-0 semi-final win over Germany in last week's EURO2012 soccer tournament, I did not ram my head into a low beam or doorway even once today! 

Feisty Cow

For some unknown reason this cow started chasing this hen all over this small pasture.

It may have been something she said. That is how these things usually start.


There were a number of school kids on a field trip to Ballenberg with us today. Many of them were taking part in traditional Swiss games and crafts.

Here a young lad embarks on a promising career in one of Switzerland's unique sports, Steintossen.

Steintossen literally translates as "Stone Tossing." Great fun I'm sure!

Would somebody, anybody,
PLEASE milk her!  

How serene is this? 

Laurie liked this calf 

Tying up loose ends

This is the underneath view of the eaves of a thached roof.

It was NOT easy to restrain
Laurie from some petty larceny

Or is it a big hen?

HUGE hat in a hat makers shop

Laurie and a Raclette Pretzel

Waterfalls were all around us 

A closer look at those two chimneys

You know you've been in
Switzerland a long time when . . . 

You sit down at a little restaurant serving mostly traditional Swiss fare in Ballenberg and, without batting an eye, ask for a side order of pommes frites, a.k.a. French fries, for 8.50 Swiss Francs which equals $8.91 USD!!!

One of the truly amazing things to see at Ballenberg was simply Swiss nature at its finest.

Rainy buds

Moss in Switzerland? 

Time to pollinate

Moss, moss, moss


More buds

Mother Nature takes Art Classes

We had a great time at Ballenberg and highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.

Now it was time to get back to the Brienz bahnhof for the short train ride to Meiringen.

A lake boat docking 

Boats, trains or busses, you have a wide variety of travel choices at the Brienz Transportation Center!

We made it smoothly to this
wonderful village known for . . .

It was open this time!

I had actually tried to gain access to this old English church that was now a Holmes Museum months ago but it was closed that day.

But first . . .

Laurie pondered her next move

Why a Sherlock Holmes Museum in a small Swiss Alpine village you ask?

Elementary . . .

Holmes and Moriarty
having at it!

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had tired of writing the Sherlock Holmes series, so in the December 1893 edition of the Strand Magazine, in what he thought would be the end of his beloved character,  he published The Final Problem.

In it, Holmes and Professor James Moriarty, "The Napoleon of Crime," wresteled to their deaths at Reichenbach Falls on the outskirts of Meiringen.

The reading public would have none of it and their outrage would eventually force Doyle's hand and miraculously bring Holmes back to life.

The museum is small but well worth the visit if you love Sherlock Holmes and it just so happens that I do!

Basil Rathbone is #1 in my book!!!

Still, Jeremy Brett was very, very good in the role too.

And yes, I also like what Robert Downey, Jr. has brought to the table as well.

Typical 1890's uniform

Blackheath Rugby Club Jersey

This was the rugby club that Dr. John Watson played for in his youth.

Only one man ever looked good
in one of these deerslayer hats 

It was, of course,
Sherlock Holmes

Holmes' re-created
221-B Baker St. digs

Holmes' trademarks

After visiting his museum, I felt that it was important to . . .

Discuss a few items with the
Great Detective

Laurie was just another
Holmes' Groupie 

This is the hotel where Holmes
was staying on his fateful
Swiss vacation

We decided to take the 15 minute walk to the funicular up to the Reichenbach Falls.

Not Reichenbach Falls
but nice just the same

We made it in no time!

This too was closed on my previous visit to Meiringen.

Reichenbach Falls 

The view of the Funicular Rail line

The view of the valley below
the Reichenbach Falls

It was not foggy today.  That is the mist/rain from the falls and we got soaked!

Rank Tourist!

Reichenbach Falls
Up close and POWERFUL!!!

Sorry Sherlock

Under no circumstance, including a scenario with one of them new fangled underwater breathing devices, would any human being survive the fall from this treacherous waterfall.

But, who ever said that Sherlock Holmes was a mere mortal?

Reading is FUNdamental!

A Solid Read

If you are going to be spending a lot of time on a train and want a book to read to while away the time, then this is the book for you.

It is neither great nor bad, but it does entertain.


David said...

I'm relieved Laurie didn't reenact the story by throwing you over the falls.

George said...


Not that she didn't try!