Thursday, May 6, 2010

A valley in the alps

Interlaken, in central Switzerland, is a tourist hot spot so we booked a room and went down to have a look. The weather has been dismal all week and we knew that it was unlikely to improve while we were there but as it turned out we had a fantastic two-day experience.

First we had to get there - we went by train, changing at Berne, and it took less than two hours. It was a good trip because the trains are so comfortable and quiet (apart from an American in the next seat who didn't stop ear-bashing his companions). We left our bags in a locker at Interlaken Ost rail station and headed up the valley to Mürren - we thought. The train conductor told us otherwise. "You are on the wrong train." He said it in a friendly way. "You must get out at the next station and wait ten minutes for the next train. Push the red button on the station building to stop the train, go back one station then get on the right train." So we got off at Lutschental, pushed the button, waited ten minutes while we watched school children heading home for lunch, got on the train and went back to Zweilutschinen where we soon boarded the correct train. Our mistake cost us no more than 20 minutes!

So we were back on plan. Train up the valley to Lauterbrunnen, cable car up the mountainside to Grutschalp, train across to Mürren. We'd never been in a cable car before and given my vertigo problems I was a bit wary but it was great fun and the views were wonderful. But then we hit the cloud level so it was foggy at Mürren and we couldn't see up or down. The town is a stepping stone for the cable to the Schilthorn mountain top where there is a restaurant and a James Bond Museum and fantastic views of the alps - on a clear day. We saw the live webcam views from the top and decided not to go up. All we would have seen was more fog.

So we walked through the village to another cable car going down to Stechelberg in the valley. It was a lovely trip down - as we slowly emerged from the fog we could see the valley and waterfalls on the cliff beside us.

The next plan was to go by bus back to Lauterbrunnen but as we had plenty of time we decided to do the two-hour walk and I'm glad we did. We saw houses, local farms, animals and farm sheds up close, we saw high waterfalls and rocky cliffs and we followed a lovely river all the way back down the valley.

1 comment:

  1. I fully expected Heidi to stroll into the photo.
    Lovely !