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


Part 5.


Saturday July 25th

We were up today at 6.30 a.m. as we had packing to do. Breakfast at 8. We took the 8.45 boat to Beatenbucht, and then the mountain railway to St Beatenberg. The railway journey lasted about sixteen minutes. Arrived at the top we proceeded along the village street, and bought some P.Cs at a little shop. The charge was very reasonable. The day was splendid and very clear, consequently the view of the snow mountains was grand. Not a cloud intervened between us and the Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn, Eiger, Finsteraashorn, Monch, Jungfrau &c. It seemed to be a fete day of some kind, as a great many children in gala dress came up by the railway to spend the day at this delightful place. We were sorry we had such a very short time to spend there. We took a walk along the village street and then returned to the station, thence to Beatenbucht once more. We took steamer to Gunten, where we had to change and wait for the boat from Thun. We found on board, other members of the party, who had made Thun their place of visitation. We got home in good time for lunch , and immediately after had to make preparations for travelling to Grindelwald. Our luggage was taken to the station by the Hotel bus – a great relief to us. We had a few minutes to spare which were enlivened by music. The songsters were a choir of men, and they sang with great gusto. They were evidently on tramp and had stopped at the Kurhaus for lunch. We enjoyed their singing very much. On the way to the station poor Phys was attacked by a dog. It rushed out from one of the houses, and snapped at her. Fortunately it was only her dress that was torn, and not her flesh. She looked for someone with whom to lodge a complaint, but of course, no one was to be seen. When we got to the station she tackled the porter. Said she, “What do you do with dogs that bite, in this country?” The man looked at her amazed, so she went on: “One bit me as I was going quietly along. We shoot dogs that bite in our country.” (all this in the meekest of voices – so unlike friend Phys). “Oh, so do we”, replied the porter, as serious as an owl. I wanted to laugh muchly.

Our train arrived on the scene, so we grabbed our luggage and endeavoured to run – (no success – the heat was terrible). We got a seat all right , and had a nice run along the lake side to Interlaken, How lovely it looked and how sorry we were to leave it. At Interlaken, we changed to the mountain railway for Grindelwald. The engines are rather peculiar – look as if they were on their knees. We all had a peep at the lock wheel. The scenery was very grand, and we came gradually nearer to the snow capped mountains. On our arrival at Grindelwald, we saw our luggage on to the Hotel cart, & then walked to the Hotel Eiger. We were shown to our rooms, which were mostly in the dipendance. We were greatly disappointed when we saw our rooms. They are by no means so nice as the ones we have just left. Mrs Smith made a great noise about her bedroom, which, truth to tell, is a trifle close. She bombarded Mr Thomas and made her moan, with the result that she has been given another. T and I have a fine view from our windows of – a midden, but we have lodged no complaint. We all went down to claim our luggage, and some of it had been “in the wars”. Attie Phemie received hers with a great hole in the bottom, and another lady’s was in still worse condition. Our boxes were intact, but beautifully peppered with dust. We dressed quickly for dinner and were in good time. We succeeded in finding seats at the same table, but oh: the dining room is not like the Kurhaus one. It is much lower in the roof, and the decorations are not so simple or tasteful. Mr Ball occupies the seat at the head of our table. After dinner we trotted about the verandah, and saw all the little lights, twinkling like stars, among the mountains. The sight was very pretty and interesting. Mr Thomas pointed out to us the lights of the Baregg Hut which we shall perhaps see one of these days. This seems to be a favourite place for mountain climbers, and there are certainly mountains worth climbing to be had, in super-abundance. One continual stream of mountaineers pass this hotel. A small army of boys in uniform passed, and we supposed that they had come from the camp we passed in the train. They raised their melodious voices, and treated us to a song, as they passed. They were evidently enjoying themselves.

We retired early. I had to attend to my arms, which are swollen to about twice their size – the result of being exposed to the sun on Friday last. They are very painful.


Sunday July 26th

I aroused myself several times during the night to wet my bandages. We were up rather early this morning, as I was not quite sure that my watch was keeping good time. It was behaving very well however, and we were up before any of the others were stirring. Some youngsters began to run along the passage, and acted as a rising bell. Phys was getting dressed, and Nan was supposed to be slumbering. All of a sudden, a voice from the blankets said: “Is this a race course?” It did not seem as if the “race course” had been an effectual rising bell, so far as Nan was concerned, for we were all seated at breakfast, before she appeared on the scene. We had breakfast in a sort of morning room, seated at little tables, “grubbery” being much the same as at Spiez.

We took a little walk to the Protestant Church and saw the people going in. Some of our party stayed outside and watched what was going on. Two babies were being baptised. The minister touched them three times on the brow with water. They had their names pinned on as they came out. The mothers wore wreaths of white blossom in their hair and a spray on their breasts. One of them passed the hotel on the way to church, another woman carrying the baby. This we saw from the verandah. “T” as usual, was “grave-ly” inclined and stayed to inspect the tombstones in the churchyard. A very melancholy little place it is. Most of the people there buried have been killed on the mountains around, by lightening, avalanches &c. Two Germans were killed just before we came here, and their bodies are at present lying in the School House. They were staying at this hotel. The accident happened on the Wetterhorn. Some Englishmen had been the last to see them, and had advised them to follow in the steps, which they were cutting. The Germans would not do this, and preferred to go their own way, with the result that they fell over a precipice, and are very badly mutilated. This is rather depressing.

Miss cassels, Miss Bryce and I took a little walk up the valley, returning in time for the service to be held in the Drawing room. Mr Lister preached the sermon and a very good one it was too. We were found by some strangers. Before luncheon, we had another short walk with Phys and Miss Abbot in the station direction. As we were returning, Mr Thomas passed with Miss R. hanging on his arm. He called to us to come and see the Jungfrau, which we did. The hills were beautifully clear, but we only saw a tiny scrap of the Jungfrau, as the Eiger eclipsed the rest.

After lunch, I retired to my room, to doctor my poor arms and write letters. Afterwards I went on to the balcony, where Agnes Miller and I scribbled in company. The others were off for a walk to the Glacier. Unfortunately it began to rain, and there was a short thunderstorm. We rather liked hearing the thunder roll and echo amongst the mountains. We had (had) a view of those same mountains this morning before breakfast, through the telescope, and we could see people climbing quite distinctly, cutting steps with their ice axes, & so on. We now went inside to the reading room (or whatever it is called) to escape the rain, and soon the wanderers returned, some of them rather wet. A band commenced to play over in the Dependance lower flat. – Sousa &c. The shops too are all open, and there is really nothing to suggest that this is the Lord’s Day, unless perhaps, the Salvation Army, which passed down the streets with tambourines &c. They held a meeting further down, and we heard their voices raised in opposition to the strains of the band.

Dinner was much as usual. Nan had a spasm of the “Joke” fever, and perpetrated a good many on poor Mr Ball. We laughed a good deal, and I am sure a certain lady would be of the opinion that our surroundings were having an evil effect, and that we, like them, had forgotten which particular day of the week it was. Aye, we were gey bad! After dinner some good people went to the English Church. Mr Lister was seized upon and made a deacon, much to his amazement. He had to help to take the collection, a new occupation for him. He evidently was not spotted as a parson this time. The service was much the same as Mr Hunters. Phys had to wrestle with an inclination to laugh. We “baduns” got chattering to Mr Thomas about excursions, and continued in our evil ways, till it was too late to go to church. He gave cheek and got as good.

To bed, when the folk returned from church. Marget’s arms very bad – doctored with zinc ointment borrowed from Phys.


Next Part



Notes / Glossary:


Gey bad - Naughty.



To be continued...

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Winamop 1908