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Swiss Holiday Diary 1908..
by Margaret Wilson McNee (born 1881 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire)

Part 9 "Moving On"



Friday July 31st

7 o’clock was our rising hour this morning. I had a wretched night’s sleep, thanks to the goat and the blacksmith’s shop.  I had no appetite for breakfast.  After that meal, we brought down our luggage, and got it put on the cart.  This performance we watched with great care, having no desire to get our boxes, in the state in which Attie Phemie got hers.  They had got her box mended for her, but she had to pay 2 francs.  We were at the station in time to see it taken off the cart.  We bade goodbye to all those who were not going to Lucerne, just as the train came in.  For some time afterwards there was great excitement.  The guard was running about seizing our luggage – shouting “This must be paid for, this must be paid for.”  We were electrified, and did our little best to ‘jink’ him, as the youngsters say.  We had serious objections to paying, not so much from the money point of view, but for the nuisance of going to get the boxes weighed.  He could not grab us all, & while he was attacking some, the others ran, then he left those he was at, to make a dash after those in flight.  Those he left, immediately took advantage of his absence, and dashed into the train somewhere.  We got in somehow, and got our luggage stowed in the rack or under the seat.  We were loud in our groans to Mr Thomas, but he said, that we might be compelled to pay, for it, as very little luggage was allowed on the mountain railways.  He had a talk with the guard, in which he explained that our luggage was not so heavy as bulky – we did not want to crush our blouses etc; but what was more effective, he gave him a tip.  The guard gave us no further trouble, but we were nervous about that blessed luggage, for the rest of the day.

I was done out – the heat was troublesome, especially with luggage to carry.  At Interlaken we had to wait for about an hour.  I elected to stay with those who were looking after the luggage; the others went into the town.  When the steamer arrived, we claimed our luggage and got on board.  We clapped it down in the first available place.  We were ‘fair seek’ of luggage.  Beery carried hers up on to the deck, but we ran the risk of having to pay and left it below. 

Lake Brienz steamer
Lake Brienz steamer. Early1900s

We had rather a nice sail along Lake Brienz.  We bought some lemonade on board and had our lunch.  A heavy shower came on, and we had to crowd a little to get out of the wet.  It had cleared again by the time we got to Brienz.  Here, the ‘luggage’ labour began again!!  To quote Phys, “Oh … the lot”!!!!!  Everyone seemed to be trying to run, and I was not able.  When we got to the train, the guard took hold of my luggage and said something.  I immediately took fright, and held on to it, making it feel as light as possible, while he held it.  He did not take it from me, so I proceeded.  It did not soothe me, to find as I was going up the steps, that he was still at my back.  He followed me into the carriage and right up to the top thereof, where he once more laid hold of it.  I was so tired out, that I let him have it.  I believe if he had seized me too, I should not have objected.  Great was my astonishment, when he calmly lifted it aloft and placed it in the rack, then smiled benignly and departed.  I was ‘speechless’.  We secured seats, and then a number of Americans came in.  They had two ‘Wienstmanner’ handing in their luggage through the window.  There seemed to be no end to that luggage.  The Guard stood watching operations, but latterly he seemed to think they were going over the score, and made the porter take the remainder away to have it weighed.

Brunig Pass
Brunig Pass journey

Oh the heat of that journey!!!  Spifflication.  Even when the train was moving and with the windows all open there was not a breath of air.  At Meiringen the train was halved.  We were in the first part, and went off first up the famous Brunig Pass.  The scenery was lovely and we passed over some very interesting, but more ‘scarey’ bridges.  On the right, there were quite a number of (bridges) waterfalls.  We went very slowly.  At Brunig we stopped and were joined by the other half of our train. 

Brunig Station
Brunig Station

The way from here to Lucerne was down-hill.  The scenery around was very beautiful and we shortly came to a lake which we took to be Lucerne, but it was not.  The sky began to get overcast, and as we were nearing Lucerne, the storm broke.  There was a good deal of thunder & lightning and very heavy rain.  At Alpnachstad some people changed from the train to the steamer and sailed to Lucerne.  The hills do not rise so steeply out of the water at this part of the Lake.  There are flat marshy parts with bulrushes and waterlilies, which is rather a contrast to the other Swiss Lakes we have seen.  When we got to Lucerne, the worst of the storm was over, so that, we did not need to unpack our waterproofs.  The station was flooded with water and the men were busy sweeping it out.  We had to take our luggage out of the way of a nice little river of water, that was making for it.  The Chalet Wallis porter appeared, and we left our luggage in his care.  We said Goodbye to Mrs Smith and the others, who were going home, before setting out for the Chalet Wallis.  The tram cars were full, so we decided to walk. 

Lucerne Tram
A Tram in Lucerne

We followed the river Reuss, till we could go no further, then followed the car line.  This took us to the Gutsch Bahn, where Mr Thomas procured us our Abomremend tickets.  We stepped into the car and had our first ride in the shortest railway in the world. 



At the top we met Mr Allan, who told us that we would be disappointed in our accommodation.  His prophecy was fulfilled.T and I were put into the ‘outhouse’ with Miss Donaldson.  We wanted a room to ourselves, so were a trifle discontented at this arrangement.  There was no wardrobe or pegs on which to hang our things, and we were next door to the laundry.  Altogether we were far from content.  Dinner was at 8 o’clock for us as we had to wait for our luggage.  My box arrived with the handle broken.  Beery and Jeanie have been the most lucky.  They have a lovely bedroom with a little drawing room off it.  Most of the others are fairly snug.  They want us to speak to Mr Thomas and get other arrangements made, which shall be more to our comfort.  We’ll see!

At dinner we had not quite the usual number of courses, and things were not so daintily served.  We had time to digest one course before the next came around.  We wandered round the grounds after dinner, and being very high up, we had a splendid view of the town of Lucerne.  We are surrounded with beautiful pinewoods, which we mean to explore some day.  We retired soon, being very tired with so much travelling, heat and luggage carrying.  Our beds are none of the softest & so to bed in hope that something better will turn up tomorrow.


"Lucerne from above" postcard of around 1908


* ‘Jink’ trick or prank


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© Winamop 1908