We have just returned from our fourth stay in Wengen, the cliff hanging village on the climb from Lauterbrunnen to Mannlichen. The views, the air, the accessibility of the sites and walks that crisscross the heart of the Berner Oberland have together brought us back time and again like an irresistible magnet.
This trip like the others was centered in the grand Palace Hotel. We came for a week that blended half-board luxury with individual trekking and site-seeing.
Our first day began with a cable car ride and hike up to the top of Mannlichen. The view is unimpeachable...a 360 degree panorama is possible with many of the well-known peaks and summits clearly displayed.
Our second day brought us by train and by foot to the Brienzersee which we crossed by ferry and walked on from Iseltwald to Geissbach. The wooded walk along the lake shore is not to be missed.
Next was the mandatory return to Grindelwald, but this time we walked the Terressenweg and down to the Gletcherschlucht, which even without the occasional bungee jumper is enthralling.
For a change we trained through Speiz and on to Reichanbach in the Kandertal. Then by foot to Kiental. A truly beautiful day was marred by the projected hour and forty minutes walk that took us close to double that time. We also neglected to check bus schedules... the post bus from Kiental in the late afternoon runs at two hour intervals. It is a very nice, and very quiet town.
Friday morning we went back through Grindelwald for some last minute shopping and up through First to the Bachalpsee. The only thing missing from this walk was one or two more 'time to target' posts. Mountains and cowbells filled our senses from end to end of this walk.
Sunday we visited Bern. The Barngraben, the Rosengarten and the many fellow tourists out for a beautiful day (the weather we left behind in the mountains was gray, foggy, damp and worth leaving behind). Interesting here was a sport probably popular throughout middle Europe. Competitors toss rods of wood at chunks of wood set on the grass. This is notably like the sport witnessed in Wengen where ten centimeter (my estimate) diameter steel balls are tossed at others lying in the sand. We watched for a while and moved on. Several comments must be made about Bern:
1. The staff at the tourist bureau at the train station are friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.
2. At the Bern train station as that in other major towns the "00" facilities have been put on a concession basis (pay to use) unlike nearly every other facility we came across. There is one open air facility for men that I came across two years ago and was very happy that urban renewal did not do away with it.
Our final walk on the morning before our departure was from the center of Wengen along the Monchblick a trail though farms and off the track hotels to an unobstructed view of that great mountain.
We look forward to our next return to BOB and WAB and SSB, the mountains, the streams, the air of Switzerland.