Romans took over Interlaken from the Celts in 58BC. They gave it the Latin name "Interlacus" meaning "between the lakes". The Germans took over Switzerland and the Alemanni tribe moved into the valley in 260AD. The name was mutated to "Inderlappen". The Franks ruled the country during the 6th C, but they had little effect on the German language and culture in the valley.
In 1133, Augustinian monks founded the "Interlacus" monastery. The monks gained power by buying up all the surrounding lands, during the next few centuries eventually becoming the biggest landowners in all of Bernese Oberland.
Around 1280, Count Berchtold of Eschenbach built a town on the land rented from the monastery and named it "Unterseen" -- "between the lakes"
"Kursaal" (spa) was opened in 1859. By the mid 1800s, the town was already a popular spa. One source also speaks of "goat milk cure" but it does not specify whether people drank the milk or wallowed in it :).
In 1860, a group of 37 hotel owners bought the huge central park known as the Höhematte (high field). They wanted to keep the area open, so that tourists could always have a view of the snow capped Jungfrau.
You can spend a few minutes outside the Interlaken OST train station enjoying the snow capped mountains. A walk from the station to the town center is sure to remind you of at least one of the numerous Bollywood movies shot in Interlaken.
In almost the three hours that we spent walking in the town we saw just two cars. The cool breeze, the unpolluted air and the snow mountains sure make you wish you lived in this beautiful town!
Prior to 20th C, Italy, Germany, France, Englad and the Netherlands were the pioneers in clock and watch development. Clocks in these countries were in demand either as luxury items for wealthy monarchs and aristocrats or as precision instruments for scientific purposes, first and foremost for determining longitude at sea. The Swiss had neither aristocracy nor ships for exploring seas. By the beginning of 17th C, Jean Calvin banned ostentatious shows of wealth, forcing jewellers to turn their skills to watchmaking.
The Swiss were good at commerce and were backed by their good banking systems. They were innovative and their productions were export oriented. Initially the watchmakers pirated French and English designs and produce them cheaply by their efficient production methods. As the industry flourished, they created their own designs.
On February 19th, 2001, Longines celebrated the 30 Millionth Longines Watch with a commemorative collection of 990 pieces featuring an L.990 caliber mouvement. The company was started in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz who moved to the tiny Swiss town of Saint-Imier and found work at the Comptoir horloger Raiguel Jeune, a watch parts trader.
Based in the small Swiss Jura town of Le Locle for over 150 years, the Tissot company has never ceased to create innovative timepieces.
The first Ebel watch was launched in 1912.
Louis Brandt 13''', 1892 -- 1st minute-repeater wristwatch in the world was launched by Omega. GURZELEN PATENT 19''' 1885 -- Lépine calibre, digital display of hour/minute, analogue display of seconds (small or large hand). Time-setting button.
We sure had walked a lot! We were now starting to feel hungry. We had chapatis and chutney powder and we only needed curd to have our dinner. Interlaken is a sleepy town. Not many shops are open during the weekend. We walked into the only shop that was open on the main street. There was yogurt that came in all flavors, but there was no plain yogurt :(. After much discussion we bought the Aloe Vera flavored yogurt. Oh Sweet Lord! I used Aloe Vera as a face moisturiser and now I had to eat it? YUCK! But did I have a choice?!
A trip to Switzerland is incomplete if you don't buy the Swiss bells and Swiss knife. Buying a Swiss Knife was out of question as I would have to check in my baggage to board the flight. I didn't have a cabin baggage that I could safely lock and checkin. The backpack that I had wasn't locked and I didn't have a spare lock with me :(. So checking in the baggage wasn't a good idea. The only other option that I had was to buy only the cow bells and forget about the knife :(. I bought one bell for my sis and another one for the volunteer back in India who had been helpful in suggesting a visit to Jungfraujuch. Wish I had bought a cow bell for myself :(. But I had only 200CHF with me and I needed it to buy watche for my dad. Never mind! I shall tell Darshan to buy one for me when he goes there sometime next year :). I also bought three key chains -- one for myself, another for my sister and the third one for my fellow volunteer who had specifically requested for it.
We returned to the hostel to dine and retire for the night. We were to go to Jungfraugh the next morning. Needless to add, I dreamt of snow the whole night :)