Travel

Blue as Far as I Can See

The lake is named "Blausee" for a reason.

 

 

Driving down the A6 from Bern and heading towards Zermatt, my cousin pointed out a blue sign on the side of the road, “Blausee – 60m” and started telling me about this little lake we would be driving by. In the span of 3 seconds, he asked me if I was interested, I asked if it was worth it – we had already left home later than we would have liked -, my aunt pitched in that she had never been, and we quickly veered right before missing the exit. 

We pulled into the parking lot and slowly walked up to the currently un-manned ticket machine (during the summer months you would normally be able to enter the gift shop and purchase tickets there), careful to not slip on the ice-capped pavement. The lack of humans at the entrance to sell us our tickets and check them at the turnstile had me equal parts amazed and amused that the system works. I guess that’s part of what a properly functioning society looks like.

In addition to the park’s titular lake, Blausee Naturpark is home to a hotel, restaurant, spa, café, trout farm, picnic area, gift shop/visitor center, and six different paths, out of which the main path is wheelchair accessible.

We took the trail right in front of us, the main path, since we didn’t believe we had time to walk through any of the other trails. In reality, most of the other paths likely wouldn’t take over half an hour, although the snow and lack of proper footwear could slow you down.

It was good to have gone into the park with no knowledge or expectation of what we’d see, as it made that first glimpse of pure turquoise peeking through the snow-coated trees that much more impressive.

For a short while, there was no one else in the park but us. With the perfectly still blue pool and the silence around us, it was as if we had jumped into a painting.

According to legend, a maiden and a shepherd were deeply in love, but separated by accidental death, left the maiden grieving. Blue tears from blue eyes flowed until the maiden and her heartbreak became one with the lake, giving it its signature color. If you walk over the bridge on the far side, you can spot a statue of the maiden at the bottom of the lake.

And speaking of lake bottoms (I know, terrible segue), in the summertime you can take a trip across the lake in a glass-bottomed rowboat. It’s a short ride, but there’s no additional fee, so might as well do it if you’re already here.

And speaking of romantic (last segue, I promise), a little later, a couple showed up to take their wedding pictures. The bride had an assistant who would run up to cover her in a thick fur coat as soon as the shot was done, and back again to take it off before the next, preventing her from freezing to death.

Those pictures are probably as magical as you can imagine. Although the snow was starting to melt off, leaving bits of evergreen exposed here and there, the park was still very much a winter wonderland. Surely, it’s just as magical during every other season, with flowers blooming in spring, sunny days in summer, and dramatic reds and oranges in stark contrast to the blue lake during autumn.

We dropped into the café for some hot chocolate and coffee to warm up before heading back on the road. If time had permitted, and it wasn’t so cold out, I would certainly have made myself comfortable in their outdoor seating and had something a little heartier to eat. Their menu looked quite decent – they even had a few vegan selections – and not too expensive for a café smack in the middle of a tourist spot.

So yeah, if you happen to be traveling through or around the Bernese Oberland, I’d suggest you make it a point to stop by this blue gem, as well as nearby Oeschinensee. 

See means lake in German, by the way.

 

Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time. Barely survived a Master's program in Food Tourism.

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