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Swiss trip report/photos 3 of 3 - Sept 3-17


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kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Sep 30, 2018 - 8:22 PM

Final segment...

Photos: www.amazon.com/photos/ share/lStTZINNV6M6Gb0W l6rUwmWUo8EPUbCxvcdo7e tiTpS

Harder Kulm – We got back to Lauterbrunnen mid-day and decided to make a dinner reservation for that evening at Harder Kulm via Interlaken. I know Swiss purists hate touristy Interlaken, but if you are in fact a tourist, it is a good place to do some souvenir and chocolate shopping (and a Coke with ice at McDonald’s :-)). I’d recommend at some point getting out of the gauntlet of shops and wandering across the river to old Interlaken and then walking down along the impossibly turquoise-colored river to Harder Kulm, and up the funicular for an amazing dinner spot – most cable cars/funiculars in the valley stop by 5pm, so Harder Kulm is a great evening option if you want to be up higher. It was fairly warm so we were comfortable sitting outside at our reserved table right at the railing overlooking Interlaken and the valley, watching the mountains turn yellow/orange/red/purple as the sun went down. Add the alpenhorn and traditional Swiss music, and it was quite the special evening. Photo tip: as you face the hotel, look for a path that goes up to the right for an overlook that gives you a great shot of the very cool hotel with the mountains (or sunset) in the background. Wait on the sunset – it only gets better if you wait.

Schilthorn / Birg / Allmendhubel – I’ve listed these 3 together because it would be a shame to only do Schilthorn. Schilthorn was our favorite experience the first time we came because it was a really clear day and we were above the clouds that were covering the valley – while we didn’t get the same perfect weather this time, it’s still a great view. I’d say afternoon is better for lighting on the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch, but morning seemed to be better weather generally. The revolving restaurant is cool, though service is not great and mediocre food is overpriced, but you’re paying for the view, which is hard to beat for a restaurant. The 007 bit is overdone, but overall Schilthorn a really worthwhile excursion for the price. Photo tip: there are 2 money shots at Schilthorn – go out of the building and to the right (away from the 3 peaks, and you’ll see some covered sitting areas (great place to relax). The first shot (especially in the afternoon) is the shot of Birg sitting there in the shadow of the 3 peaks, and the second shot (if you have even a moderate zoom lens) is of the cable car going up/down in the shadow of the peaks – these shots really give perspective to the massive mountains. Finally, watch the Schilthorn webcam even if the valley is in clouds - sometimes Schilthorn is clear above the clouds which gives you a magical view.

Birg – this was a pleasant surprise to us, since the first time we went to Birg there was nothing here, and now they’ve added a cliff walk, an overlook and a restaurant. I would dare say that the views of the 3 peaks here rival Schilthorn’s views, with the added benefit of being about to sit outside and enjoy some food/drink with the views. The cliff walk (Thrill Walk) is worth the time and a lot of fun with lots of photo ops. Photo tip: as you go down the cliff walk, stop before you get to the glass floor section and wait for the cable car to come up or go down – you’ll get a great photo op especially in the afternoon - one of my favorite photos of the trip. Remember if you see the cable car going down, that means another one is coming up at the same time, so wait for a few minutes and you’ll get a another chance at it.

Allmendhubel – this is the forgotten site, and we were the only ones on the funicular going up this afternoon, which is a shame, because it is a really nice little spot, with a restaurant, an amazing playground for the kids, and some lounge chairs to chill out and relax. The views on a clear afternoon are terrific and the value is great as well (7CHF roundtrip). Definitely worth a visit.

Murren/Gimmelwald – we loved staying in Murren last time – just a cool mountain village vibe, though bigger and busier than we expected. We shopped a bit and then took the easy and beautiful walk down to Gimmelwald, the quintessential little Swiss village, stopping at an honesty shop along the way to buy a handmade scarf and some cheese, and taking the cable car down to Stechelberg and bus back to Lauterbrunnen. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, last time we did the Via Ferrata from Murren down to Gimmelwald, which was the highlight of the trip for me (not so much for my wife, though she’s glad she did it) – Google it and you’ll probably find my video, which gives you a better idea of what to expect if you’re a bit more adventurous (fyi, at one point you’ll be on a cliff face looking down almost 1000 meters / 3000 feet between your toes, so it’s not for everyone :-)) – and the store in Murren where you rent the Via Ferrata gear sells the T-shirt to tell everyone you did it!

Wengen – after some busy days, we decided to go slower today and explore Wengen a bit and shop/eat there. The last time we stayed in Wengen it was mostly rainy, so it was great to see it on a decent weather day. The views are so different than Murren, where the mountains are right on top of you – in Wengen you have some distance, so it’s easier to get a sense of the scale of the mountains (and easier to capture that scale in photos). Photo tips: when you are riding the train up from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, sit on the right side, pull down the window and wait for 2 great photo/video ops – about a minute after beginning the ascent, you’ll go across a bridge and have a great shot of the church and waterfall with the valley (especially late morning / early afternoon), then when you are near the top, you will have another shot of the entire valley. So be ready and fire away! Another photo tip in Wengen is to walk up to the north part of the town to the church where you have a great view of the valley and a good spot to take people shots with the valley as the backdrop.

Thun – the valley had clouds moving in for the afternoon, but the weather nearby looked good so we hopped on a train over to Thun, which has a really good old town area to explore with cool bridges and riverfront, along with a castle that you can tour for free with the Swiss Travel Pass. The old town is great for shopping and restaurants – a really unique two-level street that is very picturesque, and ends in a great courtyard with the castle looming above. Climb up to the castle and take the tour – very interesting history of the town and it culminates all the way at the top where you can even go up into the turrets for some great views over the town. Well worth the visit.

Gelmersee—we finally had a washout day in the valley, but the weather toward Meirengen looked better, so we took a chance and headed over to the Gelmerbahn up to Gelmersee (the steepest open-air funicular in Switzerland). Took the train to Interlaken and to Meirengen and Innertkirchen, and finally the bus to Handegg/Gelmerbahn – a fun and scenic trip. The valley was in and out of clouds, so not perfect weather but very interesting and dramatic. The ride up hit the clouds about halfway up which limited the views but was cool – and yes, this is ridiculously steep – being in front is the best if you can swing it. The lake itself is beautiful, though the clouds obscured the mountains – this would be spectacular on a clear day, so worth the trip in good weather. The ride down was cloud-free and crazy steep – great if you like that sort of thing, and scary if you don’t (we loved it!). Photo tip: to give your photos/video perspective, sit one row higher than the other person(s) in your group and get them in the shot. Hard to capture the steepness, but fun to try! There’s also a cool suspension bridge and waterfalls to explore. In the busy times, you are supposed to reserve a spot on the bus for the trip back – ask the person at the ticket counter and they can help you (we didn’t need one).

Kandersteg/Oeschinensee – for our last full day in the valley, we had the good fortune of having the cattle descent/parade come through Lauterbrunnen late morning (see video), which was great fun! We then had to decide between the last 2 things on our list – Schynige Platte (which was one of our favorite hikes/views last time) or Oeschinensee, which we had not seen but seemed like one of the best lake views in the Alps. We chose Oeschinensee, leaving SP for our next trip. So we took the train to Interlaken and Spiez and on to Kandersteg, walking through this very cool town (great scenic walk!) to the continuous cable car up to Oeschinensee, which was a beautiful ride up. Once to the top of the cable car, you still have a 20 minute walk down to the lake, which is as beautiful as advertised on a clear day. But to really experience the color and scale of this lake and its setting, you have to climb, which I chose to do, splitting off from the path down to the lake is a path that climbs higher – about 300 meters/900 feet in a few kilometers, which is pretty relentless and tiring with no great views till you reach the overlook (you reach a spot about 2/3 of the way up where you get a glimpse, but keep going to the overlook where there are benches and a wide open view). The climb is well worth it and tailor-made for drone video if you have one. This may have been my favorite view of the week - hard to capture the scale here with photos – too big even for a single iPhone panorama. If you are able to take several photos and stitch them together in Photoshop, this would be the place to do that (see photos). Our only regret is that we ran out of time since the last cable car left at 5:00pm we didn’t get as much time to just relax and soak it all in – I’d recommend getting there late morning on a good weather day – the views and lighting get better throughout the afternoon. Take some time to mozy back through Kandersteg and shop or eat before heading back – this would be another good area to base in for a few days.

Back to Zurich – we took one last excursion back up to Mannlichen for the morning to soak in our final mountain views before heading back to Zurich… well worth exploring the Zurich old town for a few hours if you have time.

Photos: www.amazon.com/photos/ share/lStTZINNV6M6Gb0W l6rUwmWUo8EPUbCxvcdo7e tiTpS
Video: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/some-additional-non-drone-video#ik-kFKDW9mqS6v8AAFcRTQ

Last modified on Oct 2, 2018 - 12:45 PM by Lucas
maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
701 posts
top member
Sep 30, 2018 - 11:49 PM

Hi there

I have really enjoyed reading your reports and looking at your great photos. Thank you so much for the details and particularly for your photo tips which I shall make a note of for our next trip (hopefully in 2019). You certainly made the most of your opportunities and visited some of our favourite places as well as some we have not yet experienced ourselves. Glad you had such a wonderful time and thank you again for sharing with us here.

Maggie

Arno
Arno
15667 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 1, 2018 - 7:10 AM

Awesome images again! You worked with the light real well even if it it wasn't clear skies only. Good advertisement for the Bernese Oberland I'd say :-)

kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Oct 25, 2018 - 8:21 PM

Adding Google Maps link for the Wengen church/overlook...

goo.gl/maps/SfqMS9KiSU k

wanderdiva
wanderdiva
36 posts
active member
Oct 29, 2018 - 9:20 AM

Thanks for sharing the detailed report. The photos are absolutely amazing! Saving your trip report for my Lucerne trip for 2019.

I was also there at the Cattle descent at Lauterbrunnen this year. It was an unique experience.

Cheers!

Nimesh
Nimesh
8 posts
new member
Mar 15, 2019 - 2:47 AM in reply to kshingleton

Wow what a photographs. I really loved it. I am curious to know which camera you used?

Your detailed report is very useful. It will help us when we visov in coming May.

Thanks

JarvisHK
JarvisHK
22 posts
new member
Mar 15, 2019 - 8:49 AM in reply to Nimesh

Great report and tips kshingleton. Photos taken are amazing. It made me mark some photo tips in my plan.

Nimesh, his photos are with Canon EOS 80D. BTW, hello from a fellow Mumbaikar!

Sharpl
Sharpl
50 posts
active member
Mar 15, 2019 - 4:01 PM

Thank you so much for posting this report and these pictures. We are headed to Switzerland in June and this just increased my excitement 10 fold!!!!! Awesome pictures. Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

Nimesh
Nimesh
8 posts
new member
Mar 15, 2019 - 4:45 PM in reply to JarvisHK

Thanks Got it Mr. Mumbaikar.

bear2019
bear2019
50 posts
active member
Apr 27, 2019 - 7:26 AM

I saw your video posted in youtube, at minute 5:45 to 5:55 where is the location? The ride looks very nice and steep. Is it in early June this place can be reached? Thank you

kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Apr 27, 2019 - 5:33 PM

That's Gelmerbahn - It is crazy steep and a lot of fun - obviously the video is sped up for time reasons - it's not nearly that fast! It's a bit of a journey to get there (by bus/rail, easier by car), but if you get a clear day, it's worth a visit (see my notes in the trip report above). It would be fine in June. Have a great trip!

bear2019
bear2019
50 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2019 - 7:16 AM in reply to kshingleton

Dear @kshingleton, thank you will definitely add this to our itinerary!

I love your photos and im using your itinerary as our guideline. With photos and videos it is lot more easier to imagine and decide which place to go :D

We only have 6 days plan in June, from your trip report I will skip the Jungfraujoch and plan to go Kandersteg area instead. Thanks again for your details report and photos shared.

bear2019
bear2019
50 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2019 - 7:50 AM

one more question? is it drone is allowed in canton of bern? if yes, where can we fly in lauturbrunen valley and of course not to disturb all the paragliders and jumpers.

Meemskirk
Meemskirk
84 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2019 - 3:17 PM

Thanks so much for sharing so well.

I really really appreciate the photo tips!!! And I enjoyed seeing the t-shirt plus jacket weather you demonstrate.

We are going in September for 15 days with 7 in the Bernese Oberland. I could squeeze in one more night in that region by reducing our Chamonix stay to two nights. That's a little risky for catching Mont Blanc if the weather doesn't cooperate obviously.

Any input on that would be great! Thanks.

Arno
Arno
15667 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 28, 2019 - 3:55 PM in reply to bear2019

Hi Bear2019,

Drone usage is quite restricted and you need to be aware of a lot of rules (but perhaps that's not different in your home country). You can read all about it here: www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl /en/home/good-to-know/drones-and-aircraft-models/allgemeine-fragen-zu-drohnen.html. Do check the maps carefully, there are quite some areas around Lauterbrunnen where drones are not allowed or where restrictions apply, because of a nearby helicopter base and natural reserves.

kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Apr 28, 2019 - 5:06 PM in reply to Meemskirk

Meemskirk-- Regarding Chamonix - going to the top of Mont Blanc is really spectacular (and one of my favorite cable car rides) and would hate to miss it (including the hike to Lac Blanc and the cable car to Helbronner!)... see some photos below... as much as I love the BO area and I would definitely spend the most time there, I'd keep the 3 nights in Chamonix if it was me since you're already making the effort to get there (and if you've never been there) - what is the rest of your itinerary?

Link below to a few Mont Blanc/Lac Blanc/Helbronner photos (you can at least see Switzerland from here so it's ok to post it here in a Swiss Forum, right? :-))...

www.amazon.com/photos/ shared/biXe1nqJRYOsPnw UK-CZkg.HC8XWtf9FcqGBNFII or-yx

kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Apr 28, 2019 - 5:08 PM in reply to bear2019

Bear2019-- happy to help! curious as to what is the rest of your itinerary? --Kevin

Meemskirk
Meemskirk
84 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2019 - 5:12 PM in reply to kshingleton

kshingleton: I like your firm response! I've got so much time I keep second guessing myself.

Iceland-Milan-Varenna-Tirano-St. Moritz over 2 weeks.

Then:

  • Zermatt, 3 days
  • Chamonix, 3
  • Wengen, 4
  • Murren, 3
  • Luzerne, 1
  • Bern, 1
  • Geneva, 2

I could squeeze one more day in BO with 2 nights in Chamonix or giving up Luzerne/Titlus. (Bern is prepaid, so can't change it, darn.)

Thoughts welcomed!

kshingleton
kshingleton
17 posts
new member
Apr 28, 2019 - 7:20 PM in reply to Meemskirk

Sounds like quite the trip! A couple comments... Luzern is a beautiful town and a nice base for several days (and the Luzern area really needs a few days to explore) but tough to just do for one day since you'll be traveling from Murren and then to Bern the next day... your time may be better used to just stay in Murren for another day rather than spend a day traveling a lot - I'm guessing that by the end of your long trip you'll be glad to just stay put in Murren for another day... you can always day-trip to Luzern from BO for a day if you want (especially if you're driving). I'd recommend dropping a day in Geneva instead, but if Bern is locked in then you're stuck there... I really think Zermatt and Chamonix are worth 3 days if you like to hike/explore... the hike from Gornergrat to Riffelsee near Zermatt is fairly easy and spectacular... some photos below...

Are you driving or taking the rail/bus? If you're driving, and the weather isn't great in Chamonix, I'd recommend a day-trip over to Annecy...

Zermatt photos: www.amazon.com/photos/ shared/F3OxUjERSt-pZfPbbUw6bg.-7it0K0sUgOeI5XBz_J7Mo

Meemskirk
Meemskirk
84 posts
active member
Apr 28, 2019 - 7:31 PM in reply to kshingleton

All trains! (Our first time ever. Gulp.)

You're right of course, but I hate to give up the highest suspension bridge in the world...(yes I know I can wait till next time but patience is not my virtue.)

I was thinking: train to Luzern and explore the city PM into night.

Next day: Early train to Mt. Titlis; Then onto Bern in the PM.

Third day: Bern AM explore before train to Geneva.

You take great photos, which is my passion! this is my website with a lot of travel stuff should you be interested. meimeikirk.com

The latest blog was on 3 perfect weeks to South Africa.

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