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Hiking along the River Aare in Switzerland

Today I would like to take you on a walk along the River Aare. We start our tour in Switzerland’s capital, in Bern. On the Marzili train, the shortest cable railway in Switzerland, we ride from the city centre down to the Marzili district (The rail track is only 105 metres long).

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My name is Hans Schmid and I've been working at Küschall AG Invacare for 26 years. I am in charge of administration in production. My hobbies include hiking and photography, which provide me with an optimal balance to my often demanding daily life.

The first leg of our hike begins there. It leads us along the River Aare, upriver to Thun. Soon we reach the Bern Zoological Garden Dählhölzli, and the Elfenau nature reserve. We encounter many protected species of fauna in the Elfenau reserve, such as the Kingfisher, the Crested Newt and the Grass Snake.

Further upstream we reach the Bodenacker ferry, the only ferry between Bern and Thun. The walk takes us through a beautiful river landscape, lined with small biotopes, ponds and far reaching riverside plains and woodlands.

Elfenau Aare

In Thun, the second leg of our journey begins. We board the “MS Berner Oberland”. With a capacity of 1,000 people, it is the biggest ship on Lake Thun (Thunersee). While we enjoy a snack in the ship’s restaurant, our gaze travels over the beautiful backdrop provided by the Bernese Alps. Past Castle Oberhofen, we arrive in the idyllic bay of Spiez and reach Interlaken after about 2 hours. Travelling across Lake Brienz (Brienzersee) onboard the “Ms Jungfrau” to Brienz only takes an hour and is hence much shorter. It is interesting to know that the two lakes were formed out of what was once one lake, the Wendelsee. About 1000 years ago, that lake was divided by the banked river deltas of the Rivers Luetschine and Lombach, forming what is today Interlaken.

Aare Guttannen

We now move on to the third and thus final leg of our hike. Shortly after Brienz, the Aare roars through a narrow canyon called ‘Aareschlucht’, an impressive experience. Continuing through the upper Aare valley, we arrive via Guttannen at Hotel Handeck. And we are in need of a little refreshment again. Then, using the legendary trader’s mule paths (Saeumerpfade) with their old stone bridges, we climb up to the Grimsel Pass. These paths were used in olden days by traders transporting cheese and other goods across the Grimsel Pass into the Valais with their mules. The path takes us through the wild beauty of the Grimsel landscape, through narrow passages flanked by high granite cliffs and along the shore of the Raeterichbodensee, one of the three large reservoir lakes in the Grimsel Pass. We’re at our destination! We’ve arrived at the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz. From here, we have a lovely view of the Grimselsee reservoir.

I hope you found my tour a little bit to your liking. Those who’ve not yet had enough can climb up to Oberaarsee, the third Grimsel reservoir lake (Grimselstausee) and take a look at the small fens, the shallow marshlands with their Cotton Grass mats.

February 19, 2016