Hello Forum folks, here is part 4 of my trip to Switzerland,
Day 8: After sleeping in a bit, due to cloudy weather on the hotel’s webcam. (the whole region was socked in with clouds) I decided to walk around the town of Wengen. The cable car to Mannlichen was about a 5 minute walk from the hotel, but all one had to do was look up and see that the cables themselves went right into the clouds. So I just basically took my time on a very relaxed pace and walked through the town, taking photos. Looking at menu’s at various places trying to decide on where to eat later on in the day. Even being overcast the whole day, it was/is a beautiful, charming and typically Swiss town. That much more so when the sun is out. I had wanted to go to the Cliff Walk at Grindelwald First and do some hiking, but Grindelwald was socked in with the clouds the whole three days I was there, so I never made it down there. I could have taken a couple trains into Interlaken, but I had done that the previous night. I ended up eating dinner at the hotel restaurant that I had originally booked, (Hotel Bernerhof) in the Taverne Bernerhof. Food was very good, restaurant was very nice, good service, very happy with the sausage and potatoes. After just walking around most of the day and having dinner I went back to my hotel to drop off the go-everywhere bag and then off to Crystal’s bar right down from my hotel. Then tried Rocks bar, which was around the corner from the hotel, even closer. Rocks bar is a very young crowd, with very loud music. Not a bad place, but a lot of younger folks. The bartender in Crystal told me that the two bars are more of a touristy type crowds. Then he said that the Hasenstalll bar is a mix of locals and tourists. So, I went in for a few beers there as well. I enjoyed the regional beer from Interlaken called Rugen Brau. Very nice beer. After the taverns I called it a night.
Day 9: Well, this day couldn’t have gone any better. Two excursions today. The hike from Grutschalp to Murren, and Harder Kulm.
After breakfast at the hotel, I took the train down to Lauterbrunnen. This is a stunning ride all the way down, as I didn’t see it the night before. At one stretch one can look right into the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and the view is virtually unmatched. Just stunning. One can see the Staubach Falls on the other side of the valley, the whole valley itself, and it just keeps on getting better as the train enters the station. What a sight to behold. The weather was very sunny with just a tad bit of haziness to it. A complete opposite from the day before. Directly across the street from the station is the Gondola Lift Lauterbrunnen BLM. Also refered to as the Grutschalp, but the same thing. (Free with the Swiss Travel Pass).
Up this side of the valley in the cable car, and again the views are stunning, seeing Wengen from here is awesome. From the top, there are two routes to hike down to Murren. After the first gate (to keep any cows from wandering) we headed towards the left and up a hill for the climb to the path heading to Murren. The one to the right is a bit more difficult of a hike, as we were told by a man coming down from there. As I was closing the gate, a young lady was walking up and she joined me for the hike. I highly recommend this hike to anyone going to Switzerland. The Jungfrau was in front of us for the whole two and and half hours. Just breathtaking. The Monch was in and out of the clouds and the Eiger’s top just didn’t want to come out of a cloud that seemed to be attached the whole day. I had intended to walk to the (approx.) half way point of Winteregg, but since I had company, I hiked the whole way. I’m glad I did as it wasn’t difficult at all. We stopped at Winteregg for about a half hour for a piece of apricot pie, and a beer. (not at the same time). To see pictures, to read about the Jungfrau, to hear people talk about it, it’s just not possible to describe the majestic beauty of actually being there. Very similar to seeing the Matterhorn. I have a picture of myself on a ridge with the Jungfrau behind me that I am going to have blown up and frame. Just amazing. As the hike progresses, the lower part of the Jungfrau is directly on the other side of the valley, creating basically a wall of sheer rock, and it’s hard to tell just how far away it actually is. And then to see people para-gliding out there above the valley, is awesome. It is so vast across, one doesn’t realize there are people para-gliding until one happens to see some sort of movement, almost like a bug, and then focus in on what is usually a bright, vivid color of the glider’s canopy. And they seem to be hardly moving, like bring suspended in the air. What a sight to see. I almost forgot that we were in Murren at this point, another car-less village that is just as beautiful as Wengen on the other side of the same valley and back behind us. Wow!!! After all my photo taking and walking through Murren, I ended up missing the last cable car up to the Schilthorn by ten minutes. Not to worry, as there was a bar/restaurant at the cable station. So, I waited for the next cable car down to Gimmelwald, and the connection to Stechelberg to take down to the bottom of the valley. These two cable cars were pretty crowded, but the scenery here was also stunning as we were now going down the sheer rock walls that we could see from up in Murren. Just stunning.. (The cost is free on these cable cars with the STP, but one does need to get a ticket to board). From the bottom, I boarded the bus and rode it into Lauterbrunnen. What a beautiful ride that was. Talk about some typically Swiss country side, I loved going through the village. I was torn between going back to Wengen, or into Interlaken here.
I decided to go into Interlaken and make my way up to Harder Kulm. On the train to Interlaken (Ost), a man and his wife asked me questions about the area and we chatted a bit. Turns out they decided, after our conversation to head up there also. We pretty much hung out together and ultimately had dinner together on the outdoor patio of the restaurant, up at the Harder Kulm high above Interlaken, looking at the two lakes, Lake Breinz on the left, and Lake Thun on the right. At this point it was mostly cloudy so we couldn’t see into the Lauterbrunnen Valley at all. But the skies toward the right had some spots of sun peeking in and out, making for an absolutely gorgeous sunset with the mountains in the forefront as well as the in the background. Definitely recommend the Harder Kulm to anyone going to the Bernese Oberland region. It was nice to chat with this couple who were on holiday from Australia. After riding back down to Interlaken Ost, we parted ways and I took train back to Lauterbrunnen and back up to Wengen. I dropped off my go-everywhere- bag at the hotel and went to the Crystal bar where I ended what was just a phenominal day. The cog railway to the Harder Kulm I believe cost 18 Fr with my STP. From the train station at Interlaken Ost, the walk is along the river to, I guess it would be east, and over the river to the cog railway station. About an 8-10 minute walk.
I have to say, the STP is a beautiful thing. The whole of the Swiss train system is also. This whole day I used it about 6,7, times. Not once was I lost, confused or worried about transportation. Everything ran like clock-work, and I felt as if I knew my way around as well as I do when I am at home. It’s that easy to get around in Switzerland with the rail system.
More to come in part 5.