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Tag Archives: cruises

On our first “at-sea” day, we went to one of the “events” which is a tour of the galleys on board the ship. The galley is a compartment of a ship, train or aircraft where the food is cooked and prepared – i.e., the mobile industrial kitchen.

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The German executive chef started with a power point presentation giving all kinds of Guinness book of records type- statistics – 12300 pounds of potatoes and 75000 pounds of fresh fruits …

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The tour is a smart move because it costs the cruise line nothing.

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It afforded the ship’s senior catering staff time to interact with guests, and boasts customer confidence in food hygiene.

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The tour is interesting for those curious people who always want to see behind the scenes. =)

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Instead of having  a centralized galley (like older ships), each of the restaurants on our ship has its own galley. It saves the waitstaff from carrying a tray of hot food and walking to one of the far-flung restaurants.  This is sensible as the cruise ship gets bigger and bigger.

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Apparently, the cruise ship uploaded all the food we needed for the entire 7-day trip in Miami. Somehow they have to keep all the food fresh.

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The staff that took us on the tour have on average 15 years of experience on board a cruise ship. The catering staff wore different color scarfs to indicate their rank.  The senior staff who hosted our tour all wore black scarf (like Karate black belt).

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This is the menu for the main dining room for the entire trip –  7 columns for 7 days.

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Bakery.

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The tour was held just after breakfast so all the workspace was still relatively empty.

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This is the dessert menu for the main dining room.

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Dish-washing area.

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It is really quite an operation !

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While we were visiting Interlaken, we went on a cruise around Thunersee and posted about it here and here. We have so many pictures to post because the cruise took about two hours each way, a total of four hours  round trip. We sat lazily on the top deck, Sue staring into the distance and me snapping these pictures. Quite a carefree way to spend an afternoon.

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The boat has a restaurant that seats 100’s – dinner cruise must be popular here …  but at night, I suspect there is hardly anything around the lake that is lit enough to be seen from the boat.

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The views around Thunersee during the day are stunning – sky, mountain, boats, and water. The boat shown below is powered by steam. Ours run by diesel, I think.

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There were many lake houses – all size and shapes – from huge modern homes to quaint little shacks. This is a beautiful home – lots of glass but no curtains, even the bathroom on the top floor!  It looked more like a furniture showroom. But the boat and canoe launches underneath the house are neat.

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We wondered if some of these houses are only reachable by boat.

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Just imagine spending a stretch of summer days here with a vineyard behind and the lake out in the front.

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A shuttered lakefront hotel – the Hirschen – near one of the cruise stops.  The perfect haunted house – must be spooky at night … a party space for Halloween?

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This is strictly speaking not a lake house because it sits next to the canal in Thun.

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Some looked like toy houses.

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Others are just traditional-looking.

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Heading back home. We moved to the bow to see the entrance into the Interlaken canal. The wind picked up a bit and dark clouds appeared.

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Back in Interlaken – end of cruise. The building on the left has something to do with hydroelectric power.

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Now we want to try cruising on the other lake – Brienzersee. Next time in Interlaken.

Continuing with our cruise from Interlaken to Thun … after Merligen, the boat headed to the south shore.

On the south shore is the town of Spiez. Behind it are three mountains, each having a nick near the top (see photo below). They looked almost artificial ! I bet you can only see the alignment of the three gaps from the lake.  As I am writing this … an explanation came up.  Could they all be a path cut through the forest on the hiiltop (i.e., a fire lane) to prevent forest fire ?

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Spiez is clearly a bigger town.

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Next to Spiez on a headland are a few vineyards on a slope. Very pretty but not as pretty as Lavaux near us – a future post, promised.

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Upon leaving Spiez, the cruise crossed the lake again to Gunten on the North shore.

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Somewhere near the middle of the photo – you will see a grayish sloping straight line. It is the Sigriswil panoramic bridge –  a pedestrian bridge that crosses a valley. There must be quite a few sights –  both the bridge itself as well as the views.

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Near the middle of the lake, a bunch of sail boats quietly slipped past us.

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The rest of the stops are all on the north shore at picture perfect lakeside villages. Oberhofen is next – it has a cute little castle and what looked like a hotel by the lakefront.

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Oberhofen pier.

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Many of the stops are right next to hotels on the lakefront. The guests can stay there and drive/sail into Thun or Interlaken for dinner.

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There is a magnificent house near the entrance of the Thun canal.

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It is probably a hotel or museum as there were lots of public space, including a pier for mooring boats, and swans.

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The Thun canal splits into two channels.

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We took the left one.  The Thun canal is not as green as the canal on the Interlaken end. There is an industrial site for loading sand or rocks by the canal – very unsightly when it is so pristine every where. There is a park on the other bank – kind of compensating for it.

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We spent about 2 hours in Thun and return by the same boat.

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More photo on this boat crusie to come !

If you missed part 1, here it is again.

We spent a long weekend in Interlaken towards the end of summer. The plan was to visit the world famous Jungfrau but for that altitude, it requires a clear and cloudless sky. Otherwise, the visibility is effectively zero. At the tourist office, they told us the weather on the first two days were not good but the last day would be fine. They recommended taking a cruise on Lake Thun on the cloudy days.

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That’s the reason Interlaken is such a popular resort – even if the weather  is not cooperating, the city provides an attractive alternative.

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A ferry service has been operating since 1835. We were on one of their larger and newer ship – MS Bernese Oberland – see pictures of their fleet here. The cruise runs back and forth between Interlaken and Thun.

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We embarked the ship at Interlaken port – right next to the Interlaken West railway station (an international train station – we saw many German trains). A ship canal connects the port to the lake.

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Thunersee (in native Swiss German) takes its name from the town of Thun on its Northern shore. Thunersee was a part of Brienzersee (Lake Brienz) until the deposited silt piled up so much that split the lake into two.

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The cruise made 10 stops on both sides of the lake, before reaching Thun. The first stop was Neuhaus.

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There are sheer cliffs on the north side of the lake near Interlaken. See the road that is really a “bridge” built onto the side of the cliff.

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At a few spots, the winding road becomes a short tunnel.

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There are lots to do (hiking, water-sports) along the rim of the lake, But it is definitely wilder on the Interlaken end of the lake. This stop – Beatenbucht – next to the station of a funicular – Beatenberg – Niederhorn – takes one from the lake shore to the start of many hiking trails at around 2000 m.

thunersee-8It was windy in the afternoon – perfect for this water sport.

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Merligen

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After stopping at Merligen which is half way on the North shore, the cruise crossed the lake and stopped at Faulensee on the South shore. Looking back at Merligen, one can see the steep meadows just behind the town and the mountains on both sides. It might be too small to see it on the photo – next to the clouds, there is a communication tower at the peak of the mountain on the right.

thunersee-11To be continued …