Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


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September 11th

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.


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September 10th

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.


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September 9th

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.


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September 8th

Another incredible day in Switzerland. Today we woke up to fog in the area so we relaxed for a while in the room. I posted the journal from the 6th. At about 11:00 we saw the fog lifting so off we went.

We took the cable car up to Mannlichen on the Wengen-Mannlichen Areal Cableway. There were so many people in each car so we were a bit squished. When we arrived at the top the fog was intermittently lifting and dropping.

We did the Royal Walk up to the area with 360 panoramic views.

The viewing platform was in the shape of a crown.  It was only a 380 foot uphill walk – easy-peasy.  I took the photos through the fog.

 

I tried to take a video of the 360 degrees of views.

Shirley and I took photos of each other

There were 2 helicopters flying around and landing at Mannlichen. I only got one of them in the air.

They both landed at Mannlichen. We think the pilots just were going to lunch.

Mannlichen was really set up well for children. This cow slide looked like a lot of fun.

Shirley and I stopped to eat the lunch we packed from breakfast. Seeing this little girl in diapers with her own sized walking poles was a treat.

Shirley had done her excellent planning last night and off we went walking to Kleine Schneideggn in the Bernese Oberland Region. It was a relatively flat walk that was supposed to take about 90 minutes. It really was wide, mostly flat and relatively easy. We did great and made it in less than the designated time.

On the way we took photos with Grindelwald in the valley below.

It was fun to see the cows that were at the top of the hill at Klein Scheidegg.  We were at 2,061 m (6,762 ft),

They were so cute that I took another photo of them.

We took the Jungfrau Railway up to Jungfraujoch. It runs 9 km from Kleine Scheidegg to the highest railway station in Europe. The railway climbs steeply and runs almost entirely within the Jungfrau Tunnel, built into the Eiger and Monch mountains and containing two stations in the middle of the tunnel.  The Jungfraujoch is  highest point reachable by rail in Europe. We got out at one of the stations for about 5 minutes.

Here are just a few of the facts about the Jungfrau Railway:

  • It is called, “The Top of Europe.”
  • Breakthrough to the final station on the Jungfraujoch was in 1912
  • Has its own fire brigade
  • Has its own hydroelectric power station
  • Has generated electricity with trains traveling downhill since 1912
  • Every week a railway employee checks the 9.2 km track between Jungfraujock and Klein Scheldegg on foot.
  • The average temperature on the Jungfraujoch is minus 7.9 Celcius.

When we reached the top, it was amazing looking down at the snow and the crevasses below us.

The snow fields were amazing.

We took photos of each other.

 

The views from the top were spectacular

 

We also took photos with the Jungfrau in the background.

We took a tour through the ice-cave which is called Ice Palace

The Ice Palace was created in the 1930s and has to be constantly recut. The warmth created by thousands of visitors means that the labyrinth has to be cooled to minus 3 degrees Celsius. There were Crystal-like sculptures throughout the cave, but the photographs just didn’t do them justice.

We took more photos in the cave with the Jungfrau sign.

After the cave, we went out in the snow which is called the plateau nd took photos of each other in front of Eiger.

Being out in the snow and looking back at the building that is called the Sphinx which is the tallest part of the viewpoint..  It is where we began the tour of the area.

Shirley found a picture of the Sphinx to photograph so I can show what the whole complex looked like from the outside.

We stayed at the top for over 90 minutes before taking the Jungfrau Train back to Kleine Scheidegg. Then we took another train back to Wengen.

 

There was even a very small lake that had a reflection of the mountain in it.

We were pretty hungry when we arrived in Wengen. I asked a woman from here which restaurant was her favorite and she said the Barron. We shared a great lamb dinner. I personally think it was one of the best meals we have had so far.

Then we went to the grocery to buy food for breakfast.

I have been working on this journal post for a very long time tonight and Shirley has again been reading the maps and info to plan our day for tomorrow. I am very lucky that she does that.

I am still overwhelmed with the luck we have been having with weather. It has been so fantastic. This was a pretty easy day as far as hiking goes. It was really spectacular.

September 7th

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This morning train to Broc Fabrique to see the Cailler chocolate factory. The factory was pretty close to the train station. We did the audo tour of the factory. On part of the tour we learned about all of the ingredients that go into the chocolate. We also heard little recorded speeches from the producers of the products.

These speeches were certainly slanted in a way to give a favorable impression of the company. For example the woman from Africa who spoke about being the cocoa growers was very specific about not using an children. There were other examples of this.

We learned that Nestles was actually part owner of the company since before the crash of 1929. Nestles actually helped the owner of collier Callier to save his company.

I found the information on the % of ingredients in white, milk, and dark chocolate interesting.

At the end of the tour we bought a bit (Ha) of chocolate and I put mine into my suitcase.

Our train trips to Wengen involved transferring trains in Bulle, Bern, Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen.   I only took a couple of photos from the train.

*

We found our hotel, Bernerhoff and I took a photo from our room.

After putting away our belongings, explored the town for a bit.

We found out that there was going to be folk singing at one of the hotel bars so we went there after dinner.

I took a short video of the music.  She is playing a button accordion and he is playing a alphorn.

He gave many of us a chance to try our luck with the alphorn. Shirley took a video of me but she can’t seem to send it to me.

The man started playing spoons.

He passed out spoons to many of us and we had a blast playing along with him.

When we returned to the room, I worked on my journal post from the 6th (I have fallen a day behind) and Shirley worked on planning our hikes. She sure does a fantastic job of deciding where we will hike.


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September 6th

Today was a day of rest – well sort of rest. We walked for about 45 minutes on a wonderful, FLAT walkway along the side of Lake Geneva. Montreux has done an inspiring job of landscaping the space between the lake and the walkway. There also were many interesting sculptures and we enjoyed photographing as we walked to Chillon.

 

Several of the sculptures were about gymnastics.

 

We passed a very interesting tree that we thought might be a cork tree.  Shirley was examining the trunk.

This is the tree.

There were a few ducks in the water that we did not recognize.

We also photographed a family of swans. We had never seen juvenile swans before. They came out of the water and onto the grass to eat.

Here are 4 of them together just happily eating the grass.

We got very, very close to them.

I was just saying how different they are from geese when one of the parents hissed a bit.

Our walk ended at Chillon which is a fascinating castle to visit. It is known as Switzerland’s most visited historic monument.  I took a couple of photos of it from a distance

 

Shirley took this photo of the castle from above as she was watching an instructional video while we were at the castle.

Shirley and I both paid for the audio tour which helped to give us information that told us about the daily life of the Court of Savoy and also of the Bernese bailiffs.

I am not very good at remembering facts but these are a few about Chillon that stuck in my head:

  • The entire castle was built on a rocky island which functioned both a natural protection and a strategic location to control the passage between northern and southern Europe.
  • Each hall or room unveils a part of the castle’s history.
  • The architecture of the underground rooms is reminiscent of the Gothic cathedrals of the 13th
  • It was influenced by three major periods: the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period
  • There were 4 different courtyards.
  • Three formal great halls and looked out over the wonderful views of Lake Geneva through the window openings.
  • The chapel has 14th century paintings on the ceiling that luckily escaped the iconoclastic zeal of the Reformation.

  • The fireplace medieval kitchen was very interesting.

  • There were some wooden boards left in one of the crowns of the vaulted ceilings. They are unique evidence that show the medieval method of construction.
  • The latrines were used to evacuate waste, either human or rubbish, right into the water below. There were actually 2 of these holes near one another.  The double openings suggested that they were for communal use.

  • Castles of the time were usually whitewashed, but people of today like to see them in their original stone.
  • The Chevron designs on the walls were the medieval type of wallpaper.
  • Blue color used on walls indicated wealth because it was very expensive to obtain.
  • Francios Bonivard was the castle’s most famous prisoner. He was captured in 1530 due to his anti-Savoyard stance and he ended up chained to the 5th pillar in the prison. He was freed by the Bernese in 1536. In the early 19th Century, the poet Lord Byron lauded him in his “Prisoner of Chillon.”
  • Lord Byron wrote his name in the wall of the prison.

I have made a few collages of the photos I took at the castle (including some that Shirley took of an informational video she was watching. They are not in chronological order.

These are some of the chests from the period that were displayed.

In one of the areas they had a shadow box show with characters moving across the screen depicting the people of the time.  We thought it was cool.

Shirley took a photo of me walking along the ramparts at the castle.

Yes, this was a rest day, but our walk to Chillon and going up and down the multitude of stairs in the castle meant we actually walked over 10,000 steps  today. There were a lot of stairs to climb in the castle.

We took the bus back to our hotel and rushed – no literally ran – to the Gar to catch the train. This is the second day that we have caught a train by the skin of our teeth. We are really good at this.

We only had to transfer trains once today, but much to our surprise – the Gruyéres train stop is not in the village of Gruyéres. We had to take a bus to the village. Since we had about 15 minutes before the bus was leaving, we went to see the Guryéres Cheese factory. The demonstrations were over, but we watched the video on how the cheese is made.

Our hotel in Guryéres is lovely.

We walked all through the town and also visited the Chatteau Guryéres.  Here is a view of the church from the castle.

It was a lovely little town.

We went out for dinner. I had mac and cheese made with Guryéres cheese and Shirley had Raclette with potatoes, pickles, and pickled onions.

Raclette was very interesting. The cheese was served on a device that heated the cheese and melted it from the top. Shirley scrapped the cheese off and put in onto her potatoes. Raclette is a very traditional Swiss dish.

This really has been a restful day compared to the past few


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September 4th and 5th

I am going to start today’s journal post with a joyous moment. On our way to Kinhutte we saw Ibex right across the hill from us and were able to take some photos.

Shirley and I were so excited. We were thinking that this was going to be a great day.

Our day actually started when we took the train to Tasch. We stopped in the information office and spoke to the first information agent that actually had accurate information for us. She was the 3rd person to tell us that this hike was going to be steep. She advised us to go to Kinhutte first before going to the new suspension bridge. She made a phone call to the train station to find out where we could store our luggage.

The taxi to Taschalp was only 10 CHF each. The taxi held about 10 people. The driver had to open a couple of gates on our way up to Tasch.

There were several of those old huts at Taschalp.

Shirley was the last person to get out of the taxi.

This ride up saved us 764 meters of walking. We stopped at the café for hot chocolate and treats. They were delicious.

The houses at Taschalp were typical of others we had seen with stone ovens on the outside of the house – probably to bake bread.

Here I am starting on our walk to Kinhutte. Little did we know what we were getting into today.

We walked up the path for a while and everything was pretty peaceful. Seeing the Ibex was such a thrill and we were having a great time. The elevation gain from Tashalp to Kinhutte was going to be 370 meters which is only about 1250 feet.

I took a photo of another mushroom on the trail

Little did we know that our trail was going to start going down first. Here is Shirley starting down the trail.

I thought the jagged hills were beautiful.

We still didn’t know what we were getting into as we were walking through the woods.

I loved the delicate needles on the trees.

Then it started. The trail became a bit rocky.

We came to a sign showing how we were going to be protected from the rocks.

But some of the protection had been knocked down – probably by rocks.

We went through tunnels…

..And made it through to the end.

Then the rocky part got seriously difficult.  We were going up and down the rocks.

We took a few moments to look back at Tasch.

Some of the rocks had fallen all around a tree long ago.

We walked by very cool rock formations.

I had to cross over a tree trunk

We never expected to be going down so steeply

Or crossing places that were so close to the edge of a cliff. These ropes were supposed to protect us.

Shirley wasn’t too sure those timbers would protect us from falling over the edge.

I wasn’t either as I held on to the rope to pass them.

Shirley said, “F…K! What are we doing here. We had descended quite a bit and were back on the way up.

We looked ahead where the people who had passed us were walking. If you look at this photo right under the black on the rock, you may be able to see the trail.

At a couple of places the rope had even broken. We were thinking that we hoped nobody had fallen off at those places.

It was pretty scary coming around some of the edges.

It was about this time when I said, “I don’t know any friends besides you who you (except maybe Mary Riverstone Williams) who would be with me on this trail. Shirley said, “I don’t know why I am here either.

This next series of photos shows Shirley negotiating on of the difficult places on the trail.

This place was a bit easier than the last one.

That trail ahead of us did not look like much fun.

Shirley made it to the bridge…

…and across she went.

The water under the bridge was very pretty.

We came to the sign where we had to turn uphill to get to Kinhutte.

This is where the trail started really going up and up and up. We looked back down on the bridge and questioned our sanity.

It wasn’t just that we had to climb almost straight up, we didn’t know how we were going to get back down.

I am smiling but I am not too happy about going uphill so steeply. It was just the beginning.

Some of the rocks looked like they had been painted with silver paint.  That gave us a bit of a distraction.

Although there weren’t many flowers along the path, photographing the ones I saw gave me a  break in climbing uphill.

We climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed and finally saw Kinhutte up in the distance. Both Shirley and I were very tired. More importantly we were wondering how we were ever going to negotiate this trail on the way down. That is what we were going to have to do in the morning.

We just had to keep going up the path.

Climbing up the rocks and the wooden steps were pretty exhausting.  We just kept going and didn’t even take photos.

As we got closer and closer, Shirley looked ahead and much to our amazement and joy, she saw an Ibex sitting right on the trail ahead of us. It was hard to believe our eyes. We took photo after photo as we walked slowly (10 steps at a time) towards it. We just couldn’t believe how lucky we were. These are a few of the photos we took.

 

As we got too close, she walked away to the top of a rock.

And she looked right back at us.

 

We just couldn’t believe our luck. This incredible moment gave us just the amount of energy to make it the rest of the way even though we were both pretty freaked about the incredible trail we had just negotiated and would have to go down in the morning.

When we arrived at the Kinhutte, Shirley asked the owners about getting a helicopter to take us back down. Seriously, the trail up had been really hard. I didn’t even get photos of the last part before we saw the Ibex.

Before dinner Shirley sent a text to Eric with a photo of the Ibex.  She wrote that she wanted to tell him that she loved him just in case we didn’t make it down from the Kinhutte.  Eric responded with encouragement and detailed instructions on how to negotiate the trail on the way down.

There were 5 of us at the Kinhutte. There were two German guys and Fritz who had come to the hut from the other direction and had walked 8 hours to get there.   Fritz showed me his topographical map which was much better than the map we had with us.

It turns out that although we thought we were only supposed to have a 350 meter climb all together today, but since we had hiked down so much, the elevation gain was much, much more than that.   The last part (climbing to Kinhutte) was actually just about straight up. No wonder it was so scary.

Shirley and I had our own room. After dinner Shirley climbed into our silk liners and I went straight to bed at about 8:00 pm.

I got up at about 10:30 pm to use the bathroom and looked out the window. The moon was almost full and the Matterhorn was visible. It was very exciting.

When we woke up in the morning, we discovered that we again were extremely lucky people. There she was – in all her glory. How could we be so blessed.

I could hardly eat my breakfast because I just  kept going outside to photograph her again.

Fritz left before us and when I noticed him down below us. He was carefully negotiating the steep steps.

I knew he had almost made it to the ladder which would make it easier on him for a moment.

We got ready to go and as we descended I took one last photo of the beautiful Matterhorn.  I am still just in awe of how incredibly lucky we are.

The Kinhutte was in the shadow but I did get a couple of photographs of it from below. It really was a beautiful place to stay.

Shirley negotiated herself around one of the more difficult places.

No wonder we were so nervous.

We got much lower and I looked back up at Kinhutte.

Had we really hiked up and down that far?

Here are some more photos of Shirley getting down the hill.

I finally found an Edelweiss although it was way past its prime. .

I had to stop to take a photo of the caterpillar and another flower.

 We were doing a great job getting back down the incredibly difficult trail and were amazed at our skill in doing it. The mountains in the distance were spectacular.

Finally we were on the trail to the new suspension bridge.  We had to go across the ridge that i had photographed yesterday.

Silly me to think that after we crossed the ridge, it was going to get easier.  This is one of the first signs we passed.

 

This was going to be another amazing day of hiking for Shirley and me. The cliff edges were really close to us.

But the rocks were beautiful.

We had to go through another cave.

 

I made it all the way through the totally dark cave without using a flashlight.  I actually prefer not having the light which only illuminates a couple of feet in front of my eyes.

There were more rock faces to negotiate.

Shirley was ahead of me.

 She finally was able to turn around and take a photo of me.

We were pretty amazed at ourselves getting over these rock faces.

And then we came to a tree in the path.

We finally made it to the Europaweg Skywalk, also known as the Randa Suspension Bridge.  This is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. It  just opened July 29, 2017. It is the main reason we chose to do the hike up to Kinhutte. In hindsight, it was a bit crazy, but we are both glad that we did it. How else would we have seen Ibex and more views of the glorious Matterhorn.

This is a photo of the bridge I took from the web because it shows it from a distance. The bridge is 494 meters long.

We took off our packs at one end of the bridge and walked it both ways. Of course we took many, many photos.

 

The bridge is only wide enough for the two of us to stand side-by-side.


The glaciers we saw from the bridge were breathtaking.

Looking down on the trees from the bridge was wonderful

The beginning of the trail down to Randa was pretty easy and then it became pretty steep. But it was nothing like what we had experienced yesterday and this morning. We are truly having an incredibly amazing experience.

I took one more photo of a dying flower on my way down. Just can’t help myself.

We finally arrived in Randa and had to walk through the town to get to the train.

We took the train back to Tasch and picked up our suitcases. Then we literally ran with them to catch the train back to Visp where we transferred to the train to Montreux. Our room has a view of Lake Geneva. We took a walk along the lake and had dinner.   The sunset was not spectacular, but it was in Montreux, Switzerland.

We have been in Switzerland for 13 of our 27 days and it has already been a completely amazing vacation. We have been in the right place at the right time (both for seeing what we have seen and for meeting up with the people who have given us advice) over and over again. I cannot calculate how many meters/feet of elevation we have walked either up or down in the last 9 days of hiking and walking but it sure has been spectacular.  If the vacation ended today, it will have been more full of adventure (an understatement) than we ever imagined.  And we still have many more days to go.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest.