Schynige Platte, Switzerland
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Every morning when I look out the window at Sunny Day, the first things I see are Schynige Platte and The Mönch and Jungfrau. For the twenty years I have been coming here, I never once have gone up to see what Schynige Platte was like. Today, as it was another beautiful day in the Berner Oberland, I decided to change that.
View from Schynige Platte looking down on Interlaken between Lake Brienz (right side of the picture ) and Lake Thun (left side of picture) . The word Interlaken means between two lakes.
I took the train from the West station to the East station. Then, I hopped on the train heading to Lauterbrunnen. I got off on the first stop which is Wilderswil and took the cog wheel train up to Schynige Platte.
Schynige Platte certainly is the gem in the Berner Oberland.
Schynige Platte is a small mountain ridge and a viewpoint. The mountain range consists of three peaks: Gumihorn (2,099 m (6,886 ft)), Tuba (2,076 m (6,811 ft)), and the closest summit next to the viewpoint, Geiss (2,067 meters (6,781 ft)). The viewpoint lies at an altitude of about 2,000 meters (7,000 ft), at the western end of a prominent ridge of the Schwarzhorn group, which separates the valley of the Schwarze Lütschine from Lake Brienz.
"One does not travel in order to arrive, but for the sake of travel itself", wrote Wolfgang von Goethe of one of his journeys. People traveled up
to Schynige Platte on foot, were carried or were on the saddle of a mule.
Over 200 years ago as the first visitors traveled to the Berner Oberland, Schynige Platte was already a favorite with the wealthy upper classes from all over the world. Visitors were well looked after in Interlaken's grand hotels, inns and guest houses.The maxim at that time was up in the mountains to the summits. The hike from Schynige Platte to the Faulhorn and on to Grosse Scheidegg was considered a classic- moonlight and sunshine included.
It is notable for its hotel and, since 1893, its mountain railway, one of the highest in Switzerland. In good weather conditions, there are views to many surrounding mountains, including the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, and others giants of the Bernese Alps. Also, the town of Interlaken and the two great lakes of Thun and Brienz are visible to the north, 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) lower.
The railway reaches a height of 1,967 meters (6,453 ft) at the end station, on the south-facing slopes of Geiss summit. Southwest of the station is a hotel and mountain restaurant, at a height of 1,983 meters (6,506 ft). Northeast of the station is the Schynige Platte alpine botanical garden, specializing in the display of, and research into, the high altitude flora of Switzerland.
In between Wilderswil and the terminus station there are 72 kilometers of cogwheel railway track surrounded by incredible natural diversity and beauty. On May 15, 1893, a train carrying invited guests made the first journey. up to the vantage point high above Interlaken.
Construction work began in 1891. In an impressive feat, unique structures, retaining walls and tunnel portals were built from hewn limestone in the two short mountain summers of 1891 and 1892. Tracks were laid, telegraph lines strung and all buildings from toilet facilities to the loft summit station were constructed. Locomotive No 1, a Hg 2/3 from the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works SLM also played its part as a tireless transport machine that ferried workers and materials to the construction sites.
Railway construction, structural and civil engineering, locomotives and carriages and even equipping the stations were all included in the flat rate quotation of 2.85 million francs. In the end, the SPB was actually a little more expensive. With the purchase of the inns on Breitlauenen and Schynige Platte, the cost finally rose to 3.5 million francs.
The Schynige Platte Railway converted from steam to electricity in 1914. Four electric driven locomotives were bought and from 1964 on more were purchased from the Wengernalp. Steam locomotive H 2/3 No. 5 is still in service for work trains and special trips.
Upon arrival at the top of Schynige Platte, every train was greeted by alpen horn players.
Sound echos around the valley.
The Schynige Platte Alpine Garden is a botanical garden located at an altitude of about 2,000 meters (7,000 ft), near the summit of the Schynige Platte mountain. It specializes in research into the high altitude flora of Switzerland, and has a display of over 650 species of plants native to the Swiss Alps. The garden is run by the Schynige Platte Alpine Garden Society, working closely with the Botanical Garden of Bern and the Institute for Plant Sciences at the University of Bern.
The garden was created in 1928, when an area of over 8,000 square meters (86,000 sq ft) was fenced off, ending centuries of use as alpine pasture, and it was opened to the public the following year. Since 1932, an alpine-botanical course has been held at the gardens, under the direction of the Institute of Plant Sciences at the University of Bern.
The garden is accessed directly from the platform of the Schynige Platte station.
Both garden and railway are open from late May to late October, and admission charges are included in the train ticket. A shop run by the garden society at the entrance sells guides to the garden and other related merchandise, and an adjacent exhibition contains information on the geology, botany and zoology of the Schynige Platte.
Everything is labeled. Descriptions are written in German and in English.
Even though most flowers have gone to seed. There were still some I could photograph.
My favorites! Alpen Mannstreu
The village of Bönigen to the right
I could actually see the pool by the lake in Bönigen.
The Mystery Park in the foreground
I can see the hospital so I can figure out somewhat where Sunny Days is located!
Lake Thun. You should be able to distinguish the pyramid shaped mountain of Niesen.
Amazing rock formations
The path was rocky to walk on and I had the watch my step but the scenery was breathtaking.
Gorgeous scenery every where I looked
The Harder Kulm on top.
Part of the Eiger, The Mönch and the Jungfrau
Looking down the Lauterbrunnen Valley
Looking toward to . First!
Interesting place to have a barn and cows
The tinkling of the bells bounced off the rocks. The only other sounds were the jets flying out from Meiringen.
Had to make sure I reattached the wire after I passed through
There are 67 bends and 4 tunnels you need to pass through each way.
Good night Schynige Platte. I always thought the formation looked like a man lying down sleeping. Can't you make out his mouth and huge tummy?
As I write tonight's blog, I can hear thunder rolling and echoing off the mountains and I can see lightning flashing overhead so I will say good night until tomorrow.