Sunday, July 14, 2019

Swiss Ms. Behaving

Trip date: September 2018

Forest and I met Nicky at Paris' Gare de Lyon, we were heading off to Switzerland for 2 days of hiking in the Swiss Alps followed by a weekend cheese festival. I was beyond excited!

The train ride was long, at 6+ hours, and we had 4 changes to make. But it was also as beautiful as you’d expect and since we watched the scenery with a bottle of bubbles it was also delicious. We passed gorgeous lakes and rolling green hills that turned into craggy mountains. There’s no other word for it other than stunning. And being from Seattle, I'm use to my fair share of gorgeous mountain scenery!

The scenery was dotted with villages, alpine huts, green valleys, glacier-fed lakes and snow-capped peaks. We rode from Paris passing thru Basel and Bern on our way to Interlaken. Here we changed to a smaller train, the Berner Oberland-Bahn, and continued to Lauterbrunnen.

In Lauterbrunnen we walked across the street from the train station and took a cable car up to the town of Grütschalp. Finally we boarded the small BLM train to our last stop, the town of Mürren. Since Mürren is a car-free village at 5,374 ft, this is really the only way to arrive; it was an entire day adventure and I couldn’t have loved it more!

Forest had wanted to do this type of trip for years, she’d been talking about hiking to and staying in the Swiss alpine huts, which is what we originally looked into doing. But then we found this great chalet in pedestrian only Mürran and decided to have a home base and hike the trails around the area.

It was a 60 step climb up from the sidewalk to our Airbnb chalet, a hike in itself with luggage! I had packed light though, just a day sized backpack and a cube in a small suitcase shared with Forest.

Our chalet was 2 levels, Nic and I had twin beds upstairs, and there was a murphy bed, a small kitchen and dining area downstairs. We also had a great deck with views directly of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. We loved everything about it except for the lack of freezer in the fridge!

After unpacking, we set out to explore, which was easy as it is a very small town of 450 people with just 2 main streets. We got some grocery shopping done before finding a wonderful terrace for cocktails at the Hotel Edelweiss.

It was a little surreal to be sitting outside in the shadow of these magnificent peaks! And the weather was so perfect, completely the opposite of the rain and cold that had been forecasted when we all packed.

We moved inside the restaurant for dinner, and only were able to get a table as we had reserved one when we had arrived for drinks. It’s a popular place, and for good reason. My rosti was absolutely amazing!

We stopped on the way home, begged a bag of ice from a nearby bar, and made a few rounds of martinis at home, enjoyed outside on our deck.

The next morning we set out for our first day of hiking on the Mountain View Trail. The hike started with a trip up the Allmendhubel funicular. Until I came here, I didn’t understand how these towns and trails are all connected by a series of gondolas, cable cars, and funiculars. It was pretty amazing! And not cheap at about $10 per ride.

We were starting with a fairly easy 2+ mile hike that would take us to Grütschalp. At the top of the funicular we had a full view of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we only passed a handful of other hikers the entire time.

We passed a lot of Swiss cows wearing huge bells however, hiked thru pretty fields, and had unlimited photo ops of the mountains as they were never out of our view. It was pretty awesome!

As we descended the trail we all decided that hiking in the opposite direction would have been much tougher as it was pretty steep on our last bit, so keep that in mind if you don't love vertical trails.

We ended up having a sad lunch of landjaeger and bread at the train station in Grütscalp; we should have hiked the trail to Winteregg where there was a proper restaurant. Blame our distraction on the views!

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring Lauterbrunnen. We rode the gondola down, which is pretty steep and had poor Nicky terrified! The town, at an elevation of 2,631 feet, has a population of ~2500 and cars are allowed. It's still absolutely adorable!
It also has the impressive Trümmelbach waterfall which can be seen from all around.

We did a little shopping, then stopped for a glass of wine, before riding the gondola and the BLM back to our sweet chalet in Mürren.

Above Mürren is the Schilthorn summit where many scenes in the James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" were filmed. So that night we had 007 martinis while sitting outside at the Eiger Guesthouse, which had kindly provided us with ice for our chalet the night before.

We moved inside for dinner where I excitedly ordered the fondue. As the owner served me she asked if I knew how to go about it, and having impressed her with my answer she also brought me a shot of kirsch (and was happy I knew what to do with that too)!

We had another day of hiking planned for the next morning, so we were off to bed, full and very happy hikers!

All Bernese Oberland photos here.

Other posts from this trip:
Long Weekend, Paris Part 1
Long Weekend, Paris Part 2
Round Two in the Swiss Alps


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