“Swiss Army knives and riding the World’s steepest funicular 🇨🇭…”
Emma & Nathan’s Travels
After a blissful nights sleep, we were up and ready to seize the day. Every morning began with the thirty second walk to the tram station and then the thirty minute ride into town, and today was no different. The only difference was that Nathan had booked a ‘Victorinox’ knife making experience for the morning and we still hadn’t quite figured out how on earth to get around on public transport. So, we got off at the main station and headed in to find the trains and purchase a ticket as we were going out of the area the Zurich Pass covered. The ticket machines were very confusing so we went into the tourist information, where they sent us back to the machines and told us to type in where we want to go, which was Brunnen. Eventually we managed to figure it out but stupidly only did one ticket so had to fumble our way back through to get second ticket.
Then it was a quick sprint (or fast walk in my case) to the train line before a forty five minute journey ended with us in Brunnen. The houses here were beautiful.It was about a fifteen minute walk down to the shop/factory but it was so pretty in Brunnen!Nothing actually looked open but it was so colourful and so peacefully quiet. There are over 1200 fountains in Zurich which have drinking water flowing from them so you don’t need to worry about carrying bottles around with you. We had arrived at the Victorinox shop/factory. Inside there is a shop for the knives and apparel as well as kitchen equipment and then down on the bottom floor is the history of the Victorinox.There was a timeline of how the knives came to be as well as stories of how they have come in useful from a car accident to mountain climbing accidents where the knives had pretty much been a factor in saving someone’s life. Founded in 1884 by Karl Elsener, Victorinox was named after his mother, Victoria and the French abbreviation for “stainless steal.” It is now the largest manufacturer of Swiss Army knives in the world and the sole supplier to the actual Swiss army. The first stage was to assemble all the parts of the knife. There are seven parts to Nathan’s creation and when asked if he’d rather a screwdriver or a corkscrew, the answer was obvious. Once it was all assembled and attached together it was on to the next part. The engraving and the cover.It wasn’t a particularly long process but it needed an hour to dry at the end. We went to look around the rest of the shop.There are so many different kinds of Swiss Army knife it’s crazy! All different colours, different parts to it, some were huge with the amount it had in it! I liked the limited edition ones because they’re so colourful. Each year they have a different theme and this year it was places around the world where 878 entries were submitted from 62 countries producing 10 winners as shown above! They were so pretty so we bought two of them. Once we had finished in the shop it was time to figure out how to get to the Schwyz-Stoos Funicular.It was back to the train station where we had to get a train to Schwyz and then a bus to Stoos. The bus didn’t take card so we had to change some money in order to buy a bus ticket and then wait for another bus. Luckily they came every 15 minutes or so and the journey to Stoos took about half an hour. We were debating whether or not to actually go to the funicular because it was so foggy and we didn’t want to waste a journey not to see anything. We would have been mortified if we didn’t go as it was breathtaking. We got off the bus at Stoosbahn and then went inside to get tickets. With our Zurich Pass we could ride it at a discounted price. The funicular is the worlds steepest at a gradient of 110 degrees. It runs for 1.7km and reaches a height of 1306 metres. The ride up, for some reason, I found terrifying. Whilst most of it was in the fog/clouds or the tunnels we passed through, I felt like I was on a rollercoaster, despite staying flat the whole time.The journey took a few minutes and then we had reached the top. People has actually brought cases with them as there is a mountain village called Stoos at the top which even has a spa!We were in the clouds. It was absolutely beautiful, the photos just don’t do it justice at all. It was so warm too as we broke through the cloud! There were sign posts pointing towards part of the town but we decided to casually saunter up to a viewpoint to overlook it all.The sky was a perfect blue and the higher we climbed the more picturesque it became. We had no idea where we were going, we just kept on walking. It was very much worth doing in the end! We wandered back down to the station after a while to catch the funicular back down to Stoosbahn. The funicular runs every half an hour and if I recall correctly it was at 20 past and 10 to each hour. Going down was much busier than coming up where people had spent the day hiking or walking their dogs up there.The descent down took us back into the clouds and at one point I couldn’t see Nathan up ahead! Perhaps he was trying to lose me on purpose!The journey back down was just as terrifying as it was going up. I’m not quite sure why I had become such a wimp all of a sudden and I was frustrating the hell out of myself! Nevertheless, we’d reached the bottom and then came the challenge of finding a way back to Schwyz. Not easy when you forget to check the bus time table before you leave. After watching the funicular actually go up the mountain, and checking the “souvenir shop” for the glass I said to Nathan to buy when we get to the bottom as “of course they’d have it in there,” (they didn’t), I then proceeded to step in freshly laid concrete and got shouted at by the grumpy Swiss guy laying it. In my defence there was no barrier round it and I was totally not looking where I was going.Then came the wait for the bus. It was absolutely freezing and I mean freezing sat on a wooden bench waiting for a bus that we didn’t know whether was actually going to arrive. We then went to sit inside the “souvenir shop” and got asked to move to the corner for some reason and finally we gave in and actually managed to locate an Uber to come and get us! What a result. 10 minutes later we were in a nice warm car heading back to Schwyz. Out we got to wait for the train back to Zurich and treated ourselves to a delicious Starbucks.Imagine our annoyance when about five minutes later bus number 1 pulls up with all the passengers who were waiting at Stoosbahn 🤦🏽♀️. Never mind. It was too cold to have patience. The journey back to Zurich on the train was so pretty. I did take photos out the window but they all just look like a blur. One day I’ll master the art of taking photos in a moving vehicle. We had got back to the city at rush hour and the train station was heaving! We got lost trying to exit yet again but did stumble across some delicious looking shops! Full of chocolate and macaroons! We tried to go back to Sam’s Pizza for dinner but there was an hour wait so in true traveller fashion, we grabbed a McDonald’s, which was delicious, and then caught the tram back to our hotel for a few drinks before embarking on another day of exploration.The only downside to the tram station as with any main station I’d imagine, was that there were some very strange people so you did really have to keep an eye on your bags and pockets!