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Talking Location With… author Daniella Bernett – SWITZERLAND

10th October 2023

#TalkingLocationWith…  Daniella Bernett, author of Betrayed By The Truth – SWITZERLAND

Humans are a complex melding of unique stories. By the same token, every nook and cranny in the world tells its own story. In fact, “story” is at the heart of the word “history,” a vibrant record of the past that sets us on the path to the present and future. As an author, stories are my raison d’etre. A book is as much about the journey because it can take you anywhere. An enchanting haven is Switzerland, where I have partially set Betrayed By The Truth, the ninth novel in my mystery series about journalist Emmeline Kirby and her jewel thief/insurance investigator husband Gregory Longdon. The book deals with a man who has no qualms about treason, a fortune in red diamonds and a Fabergé egg that men are willing to kill to possess.

Perhaps, I was a wandering minstrel in another life. Travelling quenches a thirst in my soul to discover new places and cultures, as well as kindles the embers of my imagination. I had the opportunity to visit Interlaken, while on a trip of Alpine villages. I felt like I was stepping into a fairy-tale landscape. Shadows chased one another deep into lustrous, emerald valleys carved out long ago by glaciers. Charming chalets were perched on steep mountain slopes, where cows grazed and sheep roamed. Interlaken means “between the lakes.” The town sits on the narrow strip of land separating Lake Thun from Lake Brienz. I stayed at Hotel Chalet Swiss, which is set several streets back and up a slight slope from Hoheweg Boulevard, the main thoroughfare in the center of the town. A small garden flanks the entrance on either side where roses were in bloom. A cascade of geraniums and petunias in hues of scarlet, pink, white and magenta dripped from the flower boxes on the three balconies above the door. From the window in my room, my senses were mesmerized by the snow-capped grandeur of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, a vast limestone mountain wall where glaciers and frozen lakes cling to the ridged slopes.

Daniella Bernett

Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau

Imbibe in a bit of wanderlust by taking a two-hour boat ride from Interlaken to Thun. You can catch the boat from the docks in Interlaken West. If you’re like me and love the sea as much as the mountains, I suggest lingering on the outer deck for the entire journey up Lake Thun, whose crystalline cobalt waters capture the white-gold strands of sunlight spilling from the cerulean sky. Idyllic fishing villages and historic castles are scattered along the banks, while the bay of Spiez coaxes seductively. As these images steep in your mind, I’d like to share an interesting nugget about Lake Thun. Although Switzerland was neutral during the World War II, it accumulated munitions, artillery shells, hand grenades, bullets and other ordnance in the event of an invasion by Germany or Fascist Italy. Thankfully, this never came to pass. Some caches included matériel seized from trains crossing from Germany into Italy in violation of neutrality agreements. Until 1964, the Swiss disposed of the munitions by dumping them into at least four Alpine lakes. Lake Thun is 700 feet deep in places and provides a watery grave for over 9,000 tons of munitions. I find this a fascinating slice of history.

Daniella Bernett

Lake Thun

But I mustn’t deprive you of the charms of Thun, which is located at the north-western end of the lake. It is the 11th-largest city in Switzerland. As one approaches by boat, the first thing one sees is the keep and lake tower of Oberhofen Castle. The impressive castle sits right at the shore and was built in the 13th century. One of the towers is literally in the water. Some of the rooms in the castle are in the Gothic and Baroque styles. The castle is a museum today. Part of the city is on an island in the middle of the Aare River. The waterfront, where there are outdoor restaurants and one can view the covered wooden bridge, is perfect for a leisurely ramble. Beyond the island on the north side of the river is the heart of the Old Town, which has a romantic cachet. Its pedestrianized cobblestone street becomes the Obere Hauptgasse, which has two levels. You can walk on the upper one, which serves as the roof of the ground-floor shops, or on the street below. If you continue on the Obere Hauptgasse, you will reach Rathausplatz, the main square. A fountain resides in the center. It is encircled by the town hall, guildhalls, and a former hospital which today is a police station. In the summer, outdoor concerts and other events are held in the square. It’s a delight to explore the dozens of lanes with bridges across them leading from the waterfront. However, your visit would not be complete without a jaunt up the hill to Thun Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. With its four white towers, the castle looms over the town. You get a marvelous panoramic view from the promenades.

Rathaus, Thun

Meanwhile on a tour of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, often called the Valley of 72 Waterfalls, I was able to appreciate one of Mother Nature’s secret treasures. The Trümmelbach Falls, an UNESCO World Heritage site and Europe’s largest subterranean falls, left me spellbound. Ten waterfalls twist and roar inside a mountain. The waterfalls are accessed through an ingenious network of walkways, tunnels, galleries and overlooks. They are the only waterfalls in the world that can be viewed this way. Meltwater from the glaciers atop the Jungfrau, Mönck and the Eiger mountains rushes onwards into the valley below. At some points, the waterfalls form an underground river. The violent crashing and sluicing of water has chiseled away layers of stone, creating breathtaking rock formations. I urge you to close your eyes. Perhaps, you’ll feel the tremendous force of the water and droplets of froth on your cheeks.

Have I tempted you with this whirlwind glimpse of Interlaken and the surrounding region? I hope so. But there’s so much of its story left to tell. I think I’ll leave that adventure up to you.

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Daniella BernettDaniella Bernett is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and the Crime Writers Association. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy, From Beyond The Grave, A Checkered Past, When Blood Runs Cold, Old Sins Never Die, Viper’s Nest of Lies and A Mind To Murder are the other books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure. Visit her website or follow her on Facebook or on Goodreads.

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Comments

  1. User: Yvonne@FictionBooks

    Posted on: 11/10/2023 at 11:45 am

    OMG! Daniella. What an amazing post!

    We have enjoyed four lovely, two week vacations in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland over the years, each time basing ourselves in beautiful Interlaken. Each time we have stayed somewhere different, as finances have allowed, however, we did begin our love affair with the region by staying in The Chalet Swiss, where the view from our room was exactly as you described.

    So every word you have written evokes so many amazing memories, as we have done all the things you mention and so much more. I could bore you with another post as long if not longer… 🙂

    I checked out the Kirby/Longdon series and I have to get my hands on as many of them as possible, they sound so good.

    Thank you so much for dispelling my ‘hump day’ Wednesday blues 🙂

    Comment

    2 Comments

    • User: Daniella Bernett

      Posted on: 12/10/2023 at 4:06 pm

      Yvonne,

      Thank you for very kind words. I’m happy to find a fellow traveller, who is as passionate as I am about Interlaken and the surrounding region.

      I’m delighted that my essay piqued your interest about my series. I hope you’ll enjoy my books. Setting places an important role in each one. I feel like it’s a character all its own.

      Feel free to drop me a note anytime. There’s nothing I love more than chatting about books and travelling.

      Comment

    • User: Tina Hartas

      Posted on: 12/10/2023 at 10:32 am

      What a lovely and thoughtful response. It is SO beautiful there, isn’t it.

      Comment