On our last day in Switzerland we were planning to go to the top of Pilatus but it was totally socked-in with clouds. There was no point since there would be no views to see. Luckily we had the views from our hike on the 17th.
So we changed our plans and after drinking delicious Italian hot chocolate and eating our croissant for breakfast, we boarded the train to Zurich.
More traffic and people everywhere. We took our luggage to the Lion Lodge and went out to explore the old part of Zurich. I was sure missing the hikes in nature but I did take photos of the buildings and fountains. What a change. Zurich is a lovely city, but it is not the mountains and country. It was transitioning back to city life.
We were not able to take photos inside the church. There were beautiful stained glass windows and a window made out of thin pieces of Agate The door to the church was beautiful.
One of my favorite places was to walk along the river.
Taking photos through the trees is always fun.
We crossed over the river and looked back to the other side.
The top of one of the buildings has a deer sculpture on the top.
After our walk we took the train to Bulach because Shirley great grandparents were married there in 1857. We found our way to the Rathaus because we were told that she would find the information there.
The people there sent us to the Zivilstandsamt where they store the records. The woman was very, very nice but explained that her records only go back to 1879. She told Shirley that she would have to get the records from the office in Zurich but they were closed on Monday. But now Shirley knows where to write for the records. She asked about how old the church was and she is pretty sure that it is where her great grandparents got married. I hope she can get the records when she writes to them. I sure wish that I could get records for my ancestors but they were all destroyed in Russia.
That was the end of our trip to Switzerland.
Our flight to Amsterdam and then Portland was at 7:00 am so we had to be at the airport at 5:00. Shirley ordered a Uber car because the trains didn’t start running until after 5;00. The airport was practically empty when we arrived. I am so happy that I was able to sleep through most of our flights home.
Our wonderful vacation in Switzerland has come to an end. I am so privileged to have been able to travel in Switzerland for the past four weeks. This has been an incredibly beautiful trip. I am so thankful for so many aspects of this trip. We are truly blessed.
I am going back to last Tuesday because of an event that happened that day. Shirley and I were walking through Mürren when we heard a very loud boom. It sounded like an avalanche and Shirley actually grabbed onto my arm. We didn’t know what happened. We talked with some people yesterday and discovered that a Swill army pilot flying a PC-7 had crashed into the Schreckhorn mountain in pretty close to where we were. No wonder the sound was so loud. A guy we were talking with told us that this is not too uncommon. Tragic.
We were lucky this morning to have no rain so we headed to the dock to take the boat to Vitznau so we could go up to Mount Rigi We stopped for hot chocolate and a croissant before heading to the dock I took a couple of photos before the boat arrived.
We took tourist photos on the boat with the Swiss Flag.
I took several photos from the boat. At first Pilatus was in full view but the clouds soon started to cover it.
We arrived in Vitznau…
… and saw them getting a steam engine ready.
Then we boarded the train to Rigi Kulm which is at 1748 meters. I loved our train car because I was able to stand up by the window. I think it was the one for luggage. I took several photos from the train.
I could see the train going down passing us.
We could see the clouds moving in more and more.
We could see the lakes below us.
Then we arrived at the top and walked higher for a better view of the lakes.
I always like taking photos of the churches at the top of the mountains.
Then we headed down to Rigi Klosterli which is at 1316 meters.
These flowers were in the pots at the Restaurant at Klosterli
We had delicious Rosti with fresh tomatoies for lunch.
We met a man named Christain Selle who wanted to take photos of us. He is planning to post them on his website. I think he is a guide.
So I asked Shirley to take a photo of Christian and me.
We asked the waiter and the owner of the restaurant to give us some advice about the next trail we wanted to take. We were planning on walking down to Hintrebergen. They seemed a bit concerned so we showed them the photos of us walking up to Kinhutte. They were pretty amazed and gave us directions about how to find the trail.
On the way down we came pretty close to a cow and Shirley communed with the cow for a few minutes.
She actually got close enough for the cow to smell her hand but I missed that photo.
I have been seeing these purple flowers that are pretty well spent and took a photo.
We could see the rain moving in over the lake…
… and took more photos of the lake.
Shirley took a photo of me.
After walking for a while and going up hill a bit, we found the right trail. One of the trails seemed like a cow trail.
Finally we saw a hand done sign to Hinterergen. We think a farmer put it there so people would stay off his property.
Finally we reached the gondola at Hinterbergen at 1130 meters.
It was really steep.
We took boat form Vitznau back to Luzern. There were a group of mostly young people on the boat and they were drinking a lot. We think they had ridden the boat all the way around and were just returning to Luzern. We noticed a small group of them putting scarves on their head and Shirley realized that they were tapping on the window and basically harassing a Muslim woman. We both spoke up and told them that they were not being funny and it was cruel. They pretty much stopped. How sad to see this.
We stopped on the way home to see the Lion sculpture. This year marks the 225 year anniversary of the when the storming of the Tuileries in Paris on August 1792 was thought to have taken place. At this event the guards of the French King Louis XVI (approximately 200 Swill Guards) lost their lives. These guards, who had been mercenary soldiers for 2 centuries, tried to defend the King’s Palace against a crowd of several thousand furious citizens. 29 years later the Lion Monument was built in Luzern to commemorate this event. It is amazing that this sculpture was created 1831. The 200 year anniversary of the lion Monument will be celebrated in 2021. What a sad event.
We went out for Indian food at a restaurant next to our hostel.
Hoping for good weather in the morning so we can go to Pilatus before leaving for Zurich.
We took the trains to Luzern today. I took a couple of photos of the views (especially Lakes). This is the only lake for which I remember the name. It is Lugerernsee near Lugern. That is a different place than Luzern.
We found our way to the Lion Hostel and put our suitcases in the room with the help of the young girls at the desk. Then we took a walk around Luzern today and took a few of photos around town. I am so overwhelmed with the traffic and being in a city. I sure miss the mountains.
We walked on both the oldest wooden bridge in Luzern and on the chapel bridge.
Here is Shirley with Chapel Bridge in the background.
We also walked along the city wall.
This is the oldest wooden bridge in Luzern.
We took a couple of photos of the Lake Luzern which is also called Vierwaldstattersee.
The weather really started to get cloudy so we just checked out where the dock is for the boat we want to board to Rigi tomorrow morning and then went out to eat at Rothaus. There was no inside seating because of a party so we sat outside and had a delicious chicken dinner and salad. The rains began to absolutely pour down so we were lucky that we were undercover during dinner.
We just relaxed at the hostel tonight while it rained outside but are a but cold because the heat which is supposed to turn on when the temperature drops to 10° C has not on and it is 9° C as I post this journal. We are hoping for decent weather in the morning.
We found out that they were going to bring cows down from the mountains to Lauterbrunnen today so we took the train and tram down this morning. We got there at 9:30 which gave us time to walk to Staubbach Waterfall.
I took a photo before we walked up to the falls.
We were able to walk behind the waterfall and I took photos from the side.
I took a photo of the cemetery below us as we were walking back down. The flowers at almost every grave were beautiful.
After we walked down, Shirley took a photo of the waterfall with the clouds forming above it. The clouds were moving across sky.
Then we walked back to town. The cows were supposed to come down at about 11:00 but we found out that they had not even left the top before 11:00. I waited with some other people right where they were supposed to come onto the main street.
This is one of my favorite cows from today.
I had so much fun seeing them and had to run along with them until they were put into the pasture right near Staubbach Waterfall. I put most of the other photos into collages.
Here are 3 of the young people who helped bring down the cows.
I talked for a bit with the people who brought the cows down. Some of them were putting something on the back of their hands and seemed to be smelling it. I thought it was something sweet-smelling so I asked them what it was. They asked it I would like to try it and I did. It turns out it was just some kind of Apricot Snuff which they called, “Schnupftabak.” Here I am trying it.
I had so much fun this morning. We were lucky to be here when they were having this event because we had heard that it usually doesn’t happen this early in September.
I also took a couple of videos of the cows.
After the parade of cows Shirley and I took a bus to Stechelberg so we could hike uphill and get closer to Schmadribach which is a waterfall we had seen a couple of days ago from a distance.
We saw many hang gliders today. I just love these 5 together close to the cliff.
These are the photos taken on our hike. The river we were walking along was another of the Lüutchine Rivers. This one is named after the Schmadribach. Apparently there are 5 of them. I love these rivers.
We had Raclette for lunch. It was served with curried pumpkin pieces that were absolutely delicious.
We tried to hike high enough to see the whole Schmadribach but did not have enough time. Besides, we were pretty tired from going uphill the whole afternoon. So this photo is just the top of it.
We are really going to miss this area of Switzerland. Before we left Portland, many people wondered why we were planning to spend 9 days in the same area. We barely touched the surface of all the wonderful hiking around here. I absolutely love Murren and our wonderful view of the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Mönch from our room at the Eiger Guest House.
It is hard to believe that we really only have 3 more days in Switzerland.
Today we woke up to a kind of sunrise out of our window. I could see the grey clouds moving behind the mountains.
We had a long trip to get to Schynige Platte today so off we went right after breakfast. We took the train to Grutschalp and the cable car to Lauterbrunnen. Then we transferred to a train to Wilderswil. The weather was warmer than I thought it was going to be so I was already taking layers off.
Here is some information I read about the Historic Schynige Platte Railway when we were waiting for our train.
Operating since 1893 first as a steam locomotive
Operation was converted to electricity in 1914
No significant changes have been made to the tracks or rail cars in over 100 years.
The cogwheel climbs 1400 meters at a maximum speed of 10 km /hr.
Here is the guy who was manually switching the tracks so the train could back-up and we could get onto the train.
We could see down to Interlaken and both lakes with the town in the middle from the cogwheel. I was able to get one photo of Lake Thun.
Our plan was to do the Loucherhorn Panoramic Trail (6.3 km – ascending 350 km and descending back to the cogwheel train). Much to our surprise it was not only pouring rain when we arrived at the top but the rain was going sideways. We put on our pack covers and walked to the restaurant for hot chocolate. It was already noon. A couple of men played alphorns for short time. They were not very good.
At first we wished we had left earlier from Murren. Then I met some people who had arrived at about 11:00 and had started out on the hike. The views were beautiful when they arrived. Then the wind started to blow; the clouds moved in quickly; and they were caught in the downpour.
The weather forecast said it wasn’t going to clear until about 5:00, so we decided to return to Murren. Everything was socked in when we arrived. Here is Shirley in waiting in Wilderswil for the train back to Lauterbrunnen to arrive for our return trip. The wind was not as strong but the rain was coming down.
I am typing this at about 4:30 and the clouds have lifted enough for us to see the mountain again. Go figure.
Well having our plans spoiled on one day out of 22 because of weather is not bad.
The weather became clearer and clearer. We put on our bathing suits and walked over to the Alpine Sports Center. We had a discount card from the Eiger Guesthouse. You could swim in the indoor pool and use the indoor hot tub for free but I wanted to do the saunas and outdoor hot tub. So I paid the 30 CHF. It was absolutely delightful and I spent over a couple of hours relaxing. In addition to the outdoor hot tub, there were 2 different steam rooms, a sauna, a quiet relaxing room, and foot soaking tub and I spent time in them all. Nobody else was in the hot tub with me. What an enjoyable joy soaking in this beautiful tub with the Jungfrau and other mountains reflecting in the water.
We split a pizza for dinner in the restaurant of the Eiger Guest House. We found out it was built in 1890. We sure are enjoying our time here. Everybody is just wonderful to us. This day ended quite well.
Today we decided to Allmendhubel. We walked through town to find the trail.
A bit outside of the town I saw this building with wood stored for the winter. I wondered how they got it all up there.
We also passed this wood stored under a rock. I thought that was interesting.
We were dressed for rain but hadn’t put on our pack covers. As we got a bit higher up the hills, we could look back at Murren. The weather was warmer than we expected and we had to take off layers.
It wasn’t too easy to find the Northface Trail that we planned to take but we persevered.
There was a man working on something outside this old house. We had to stop there to put our backpack covers onto our packs because it had started to rain. I asked the man if I could take his photo. He told us that he was a tourist just like us from Germany. Then he revealed that he was only renting the house for the past 30 years.
It rained on and off sometimes harder than others and it created a muddy trail.
I loved the rock just up at the end of this part of the trail so I took a photo of Shirley.
Parts of the trail were pretty good. Here is Shirley ahead of me.
It didn’t rain all of the time and once in a while the mountains came into view.
The cows were still serenading us a bit. Listening to the creek beds as we passed by them was wonderful.
All in all, the hike was enjoyable in spite of the occasional rain falls. We talked with some of the people who were coming the other way. Some of them were out on the trails in gym shoes and blue jeans. They were certainly not prepared as hikers.
We passed Spielbedenalp but were not ready for lunch. It had been only about 140 meters elevation gain.
By about 1:30ish we had almost reached Spielbedenalp which was our goal for lunch. Our elevation gain has only been about 560 feet.
We were pretty hungry by then and Shirley’s pumpkin soup and my goulash tasted pretty good. Shirley also ordered a piece of delicious chocolate pie. Spielbedenalp also has a few rooms for people to sleep.
I loved the view of the valley below as we continued hiking a bit uphill.
We continued to hike up to Allmendhubel to take the flower walk. But we are not in the right season to view many flowers so we just checked out the posters of flowers. I did take a photo of this “Spent” flower because I have been looking at them for days. I think they are pretty.
It was great to see the mountains as they came into view.
The weather had pretty much cleared. I love this rock face.
I can’t seem to get enough of the glacier views. This is the one we see from our room, but from a different angle.
Blue sky behind the mountains is always a treat to see.
The trail was now a pretty open gravel path. We came to a different unmarked trail and I thought it would be more fun to take it. The beginning of it was pretty slippery and steep. I think we were walking on a cow trail.
We made it down to the Blumental Panorama Trail. What a treat. The views of the mountains was breathtaking. We took photos of each other.
Just before we reached Mürren we noticed a cool waterfall off in the distance. My zoom lens came in handy to check it out.
It turned out to be another day of very enjoyable hiking.
Tonight we decided to treat ourselves and eat dinner at the Eiger Hotel Restaurant. We had made our reservation last night so we had a window seat. I know these photos of us are pretty dark, but it is the mountains in the background that are important.
What a treat to have such delicious salad and lamb dinners and look out the window at the same time.
Today is an prime example of what a cloudy day with rain in the forecast can provide to 2 travelers who are determined to have a fabulous time.
Shirley and I got dressed for rain even though the forecast said that it would not really rain until 2:00. Although we could not see the tops of the mountains, we headed off through Mürren and took a photo of two cute statues.
At the end of town we found the trail to Gimmelwald. The first part of the hike was on a asphalt but very pleasant.
I still love looking at the valley with the clouds hanging low.
The rock faces on the lower mountains were beautiful – especially with the snow dusting on them.
Shirley with her eagle eyes looked down into the field below and saw what we thought were a different breed of deer. It wasn’t until we saw more ibex back in Mürren near the Bahn and examined our photos from earlier that we realized we had seen more ibex.
We walked by some information boards. The first one was about avalanche guards. Then we passed one about Ogi-Bocke – Ogi mountings which I found interesting because I hadn’t seen them before. These Three-leg Mountings are:
Snow slide barriers
Efficient in the starting area of avalanches
Limited lifetime since they are built from wood
They plant young trees around them so they are only used where forests can grow. They help with the growth of the young trees and after 20-30 years, the trees take over the function of the barrier. The full-grown trees are, of course, the best barriers.
Here is a photo from the poster of what they look like in the winter.
These are the ones we saw today.
When we arrived at the outskirts of Gimmelwald, we passed the Honesty Shop. Of course I had to buy something so I found 3 tiny bamboo spoons.
We didn’t actually walk into Gimmelwald because the trail to Stechelberg was right there and that was just where we were headed. It was a downhill trail that we may have considered difficult before all of our other hikes but was actually quite easy for us.
There aren’t many flowers in September, but I noticed this beautiful one.
Walking through the valley floor was so peaceful.. The waterfalls were frequent and beautiful. I loved this double one.
We have seen so many of these water troughs in front of houses in several towns. They each have a faucets with running water. I found out that the water from the faucets is all drinkable.
Here is Shirley coming through the beautiful forest trail.
Shirley took a photo of me near a beautiful rock wall with moss on it.
We passed this sign that showed 2 ways to Stechelberg. That was typical of signposts in Switzerland.
We decided to take the 25 minute route. Shirley said, The 40 minute one is probably easier, but when did we ever choose the easier route?
This beautiful waterfall seemed to be coming right out of the cliff.
I love the red rock in this close-up of it.
We kept passing waterfalls. Shirley told me that there are 72 waterfalls in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
The tree trunk growing over the rocks was spectacular.
We arrived at Stechelberg and stopped for lunch at the Hotel Stechelberg Restaurant. While we were eating lunch I read this sentence in a brochure: “The sound of waterfalls is like music playing amidst the surrounding snowcapped peaks.” Although we weren’t seeing the snowcapped peaks, that quote describes my feelings today perfectly.
The Weisse Lüutchine flows right through Stechelberg. I remember the name from the story about the 2 rivers. I so love these beautiful flowing rivers.
Just another view of the Weisse Lüutchine
We passed so many examples of the wood storage containers.
What an interesting place to grow tomatoes..
We could see across the valley to Wengen up on the hill..
Well, we had dressed for rain and it didn’t disappoint us. We could see it in the distance and we walked right into it.
We reached Trümmelbch Waterfalls. How can I ever find the words to describe this place. Trümmelbch Waterfalls is by far one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. There are 10 glacial waterfalls draining together within a mountain cavern. Trümmelbch alone drains the mighty glacier defiles of the Eiger (3970 M), Monch (4000 m), and Jungfrau (3158 m) with up to a 20,000 liters of water per second. These waterfalls carry 20,200 tons of boulder detritus per year. It’s drainage area is 24 km squared. It is the only glacier-waterfalls in Europe inside a mountain and still accessible. It is truly hard to believe that they built an elevator (which goes part way up), steps, and walkways right inside a mountain so we can view this incredible place. These photos just can’t do justice to what we experienced today.
Shirley and I took photos of each other.
I hope these couple of videos helps to hear the power of these waterfalls.
After this incredible experience, we still had a 45 minute walk to Lauterbrunnen. We passed this man feeding a calf that must have lost its mother.
The color of the grass in the valley was so green…
…and still another waterfall to view.
The rock faces on the way home were so beautiful.
We took the tram and train back up to Mürren. Much to our surprise, there was a small group of ibex eating grass in the field below the Bahn Hoff. Shirley read someplace that it was illegal to shoot any animal near a gondola, tram, or train. This was the moment we realized that we had seen ibex – not deer – earlier in the day.
To top off our fabulous day, the clouds had lifted and the views from the widow in our room were spectacular. Of course I had to use the camera to zoom in on them.
This will certainly be a day never to be forgotten.
This was truly a touristy day without much exercise. When we woke up this morning, the weather was pretty clear. I took these photos from our window.
We decided that we would leave Wengen and go to Mürren today.
Here are just a couple of facts that I read about Wengen and Mürren.
Wengen is at an elevation of 1,274m (4,180 ft) above sea level, It has approximately 1,300 year-round residents, which swells to 5,000 during summer and to 10,000 in the winter.
Mürren is at an elevation of 1,638 metres (5,374 ft) above sea level. It has a year-round population of 450, but has 2,000hotel beds.
You have to get to either of these small towns via train, tram, or gondola. No cars are allowed.
As we were leaving the Bernerhof, I took a picture of the key system It was very unique. The keys to each room were heavy. So as we left the hotel each time, we put our key into the board and turned it. Then you took the lighter key above it to take with you for the day.
I took a photo of the street in Wengen as we were walking to the train station.
We took the train to Lauterbrunnen and I again took photos from the train. I love this place.
From Lauterbrunnen we took the gondola to Grutschap and then switched to a train that went through Winteregg and on to Mürren.
We could see back across the valley to Wengen from the train. I just remembered something from the other night. When we were looking for a pizza place in Wengen, Shirley looked on Trip Advisor. It came up with a place only 3.1 miles away in Mürren. That is how the crow flies. It actually took about an hour to get from Wengen to Mürren by train, gondola, and another train..
We realized that the weather forecast was again for rain in the afternoon so we decided we better get up to Schilthorn before the clouds cover the mountains. So we dropped our luggage off at Eiger Guesthouse. Shirley realized that we didn’t even need to take our backpacks or our walking poles. We walked through the town of Mürren to the aerial cableway for the 30 minute ride up to the summit of Schilthorn at 2970 meters.
I took a photo of the cable for the tramway …
… and a view from it.
We were so lucky to make that decision. There were spectacular panoramic views. I don’t know which mountain is which, but there were views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
They are celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the opening of Schilthorn and the restaurant. The project was started but could not be completed because of lack of money. Then the movie production team for the movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service staring George Lazerby as Secret Agent 007 found the restaurant partly constructed, and contributed financially to its completion in return for exclusive use for filming the movie (released in 1969), in which the building has a prominent role. Afterwards, the restaurant retained the Piz Gloria name of the film location, and currently acknowledges the film’s significant contribution to its commercial reputation
We sure had a lot of fun taking photos of ourselves with the image of James Bond.
We really enjoyed eating lunch at Piz Gloria as the restaurant rotated 360 degrees around its own access giving us views of over 200 mountain peaks. They claim that this was the world’s first revolving restaurant, but actually the first one was the Space Needle in Seattle which opened during the 1962 World’s Fair.
I know it was silly but I had to try the Flaming Mocha dessert.
The clouds started rolling over the mountains and we were reminded of how lucky we were to have made it up to Schilthorn early enough to get the views.
Soon there was nothing but clouds to be seen.
But we continued having fun. After lunch we went through the displays showing glimpses behind the scenes of the 007 Movie. It was really interesting to listen to:
Many of the people who lived in Mürren at the time of the filming tell stories about what happened
Stories about the stunt actors and how one of them broke his seventh vertebrae of his neck during the production and was lucky to survive.
A person who was an extra in the movie and his experience.
Many other stories.
Then we did a virtual ride in the helicopter. We even tried a virtual bobsled ride and pretended to shoot a gun. The first time I did it, I forgot to put on the helmet and goggles.
We were just like little kids having fun.
I did say that this was a touristy day.
By the time we rode the tramway back down to Mürren, the clouds had obscured all of the views. We explored the town a bit. This house had such beautiful flowers around it.
Our room at the Eiger Guesthouse is on the 3rd floor and they carried our suitcases up the stairs for us. At first we were given a room with one bed. Shirley asked if we could have a room with 2 beds and they changed our room to a much better one.
We ate dinner in the Guesthouse restaurant and had wild boar for dinner. I did manage to walk up and down the 3 flights of stairs 5 times today. I guess I can call that exercise.
Shirley is reading all about the area and trying to plan our next few days. With a weather forecast of -2 Celsius as a low and +1 as a high we are wondering what we will do tomorrow. But I am sure we will find something fun to do because we know how to have fun.
This morning Shirley looked at the weather and said it wasn’t supposed to start raining until 2:00. So off we went. We took the train back to Grindelwald. We could see the clouds in the valley from the train. What wonderful sights.
At one point we saw a group of people getting ready to go kayaking. Aside from the fact that it was cold outside, it is hard to imaging anybody kayaking in these rivers. There are just so many rocks.
The water was rushing right through this building.
I love watching the river below us.
We had to transfer trains in Zweillutschinein. A couple on the train told me that the name of the town means two Lütschines. That is the name of the two rivers (one called White Lütschine and one called Black Lütschine. I think the German way of naming towns and the way words are parts of words put together is very interesting.
I looked up the river’s name on the web and found this story:
A story passed on by word of mouth showing friendly banter between villagers that lived on the two rivers is that the people on the Weisse Lütschine said the others “were so dirty it turned the river black” and the villagers on the Schwarze Lütschine claimed the others “never even washed so the other tributary remained perfectly white.”
We took the gondola up from Grindelwald to First (2168 m). It was all clouded when we arrived. We did the First Cliff Walk anyway.
Here are the photos I took.
Shirley and I took photos of each other at the end of the walk.
This is what we should have seen if the weather had been clear.
We then decided to take the walk up 100 meters to Bachalpsee (2265 m). It was still very cloudy and it had actually snowed up here a bit – probably yesterday or last night.
I passed a very tiny hut on the way to the lake. Here is the sign and a photo of the inside of the hut.
I can’t imagine who would be staying at this hut. There was only the dirt floor and it was very tiny.
A couple I met along the way took a photo of me when I was almost to Bachalpsee.
When we arrived at the lake there were even some reflections in the lake in spite of the clouds.
Then it started to hail and sleet a bit. It didn’t seem too bad. We were about to walk back down to First when Shirley and I looked at the sign indicating that there was different way to get down. We did not have a map so we were questioning whether to follow it. The sign had a bike showing that bikes go on that trail. I said, “If bikes can do it, so can we.” So we headed down the trail.
What were we thinking? I said something about what would be better than an adventure. Shirley responded, “How about a hot fire and a toddy?” Neither one of us could imagine how a biker could negotiate this trail. We were gingerly choosing the path over the rough rocks.
Then it started to rain. We passed some people coming up the trail and they told us about a restaurant that we should reach in about 20 minutes.
It started to rain harder. It seemed too difficult to put on our rain pants while walking on this path so we just continued – thinking that it wouldn’t be that far.
Bikers came by just as we had crossed the bridge. We talked with them. I, of course, asked them how they could be crazy enough to ride down this trail. One of them said, “It is like downhill skiing. You just go for it. If you hesitate, you fall.” I still cannot imagine riding a bike down the rocks we had just walked over.
Right after we passed this waterfall …
…we came upon a group of abandoned buildings We saw a sign for the restaurant, but couldn’t find it. After searching for a while we were both thinking, “Where in the hell is the restaurant?”
Then we realized that we hadn’t even put on our pack covers. By now we were soaked.
Finding the restaurant at Waldspitz (1918 m) was sure a treat. We took off our jackets and wet packs. I dried my gloves on the stove.
Shirley tasted the chestnut soup and suggested that we both order it.
It was sure delicious. What a treat.
The path down from the restaurant to Bort was pretty steep, but I loved walking through the woods right after it had rained.
The rain droplets on the stems were so beautiful.
Even though this flower has almost lost all of its petals, I loved seeing many of these.
The water was in the stream was rushing by us.
When we arrived at the gondola at Bort (1570 m), we realized that we would still have 1500 feet to descend to Grindelwald. We had already walked up 100 meters to Bachalssee and down another 2280+ feet to this point. Besides, we didn’t think we could get back to Wengen in time for our dinner reservation at the pizza place.
Here is another photo of the river as we were on the train.
I still absolutely love seeing the rivers that we pass. The are all so raging and beautiful.
When we were on the train, Shirley watched the Fare Collector cross from one train to the next as we were moving. She says she does it every day.
When we got back to our hotel, we unpacked everything and left it all to dry when we went to dinner back at da Sina Pizza place. It is a very cute place and they have a wonderful variety of pizzas. They also have a full menu of other meals. Last night we had gorgonzola pizza and tonight we had chicken and spinach.
This has been another adventurous day in the life of Shirley and Nancy in Switzerland and (as tired as we are) we loved it.
Today was an unusual day for us. It was not only cloudy but raining. But there was an exiting event that went right through Wengen to distract us and provide a very enjoyable day..
The Jungfrau Marathon has been held every year at the beginning of September since 1993 and is one of the most famous mountain marathons in the world. It starts at the Grand Hotel Victoria Jungfrau in Interlaken. The route then leads from Wilderswil, via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen to the Kleine Scheidegg where the runners reach the finish line facing the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
The runners climb over 6000 feet (1,829 m) with a stretch of 305 m downwards) One of the downhill exceptions is last kilometer to the finish line. The difference in altitude is a challenge for everybody. There is no other Marathon in Europe with such great dimensions. There are 5000 people who are allowed to sign up to do this race – 5000 people from over 60 countries who want to run 6000 feet uphill.
We dressed for rain and stood right outside our hotel room and watched the first runners pass by in front of the hotel. This was the 1st runner – #105.
We watched several others go by.
Then Shirley caught a photo of the back of the 1st woman runner to pass. She was sure right up there (no further back than about 10th) with the men.
When this next woman ran through Wengen, they announced that she had won the Jungfrau 25 years ago.
It was raining enough that Shirley and I decided to forgo hiking today and took the train back up to Kleine Scheidegg to see the runners come into the finish line.
We could see some of the runners go by on the trail from the train window.
We could see one of the watering stations from the train.
When we got off of the train, we decided to get a cup of hot chocolate because we thought the train would have beat the runners by a long shot because the runners had 22 km (13.67 miles) more uphill to run and we were on a train. We were wrong.
We still went to the finish line to watch. It was fun seeing them come in. This man was one of the ones that we saw come through Wengen. Shirley asked him if he wanted his photo, but he declined because he was 12 minutes behind from the last time he did this race. Here are both photos of him.
They gave each runner a medal, a rain poncho, and a beer. I don’t think I have seen that in the U.S.
The runners also pick up their shirts and candy at the very end.
Shirley and I then took the train to Grindelwald. Shirley realized that she had left her gloves up above so she asked the people at the train station to call up to Klein Scheidegg where she had bought a pretzel and see if they could be found. They kept saying that it would not be possible but Shirley kept asking them over and over again. They finally called the right people and found her gloves. So we walked around Grindelwald for about an hour and her gloves were delivered by somebody on the next train. Yea. We were going to explore Grindelwald anyway.
This is the one photo I took in Grindelwald. I liked the building and the way the made the sign under the building look like mountains.
A very good part of our delay in Grindelwald was the treat for Shirley on our train back to Interlaken on our way back to Wengen. She was sitting right next to the winner of the race.
His friend took a photo of the two of them. What fun.
His name is José David Cordona. He is from Columbia. The amazing thing is that he finished this very difficult, uphill race in 2 hours 56 minutes and 20.7 seconds. That is so hard to believe.
By the way, the woman who came in 1st place (Maude Mathys who is from from Switzerland) actually finished 9th overall in 3 hours 12 minutes and 56 seconds. The woman who finished 2nd (Michelle Maier from Bavaria) finished 3 hours 23 minutes and 7.3 seconds. And that woman who won the race 25 years ago (Petra Eggenschwiller from Switzerland) came in 3rd in 3 hours 35 minutes and 8.5 seconds. These women are astounding. Actually every one of these racers are astounding. How can anybody run uphill for 26.2 miles.
All in all it was a very fun day. We went out for pizza for dinner. Probably going to rain again tomorrow. I have to remind myself that we are Oregonians. We just don’t like seeing rain in the forecast for the rest of our time here. We have had such a great time so far that we will still be happy.