Tuesday, June 30, 2020

One Last Swiss Hurrah - Lauterbrunnen

We are less than 2 weeks from our move back to the United States, and we decided we needed to have one more get away before we go.  We are getting sadder and sadder about leaving Switzerland (especially with Coronavirus raging out of control in the states) so I am glad we planned two Swiss trips before we left.

This evening we drove 2 hours south of Basel to Lauterbrunnen.  Deep in the Swiss Alps, we picked this spot due to what is in the backyard of our Airbnb.  Just gorgeous.

We took a short walk through the cute town of Lauterbrunnen this evening after settling in.  Tomorrow we begin to explore.

We took a short walk through the cute town of Lauterbrunnen this evening after settling in.  Tomorrow we begin to explore.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Lake Brienz - Day 4 - Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  And especially to Mat.  I am glad we were able to take a weekend away as a family and treat him to a special trip.  He deserves it for how hard he works for our family.

Today was our last excursion in the Lake Brienz area before heading back to Basel.  We are not home and unpacked and relaxing. 

This morning we went to the Gelmer Fenicular - which is the highest open air fenicular in Europe.  I am not going to lie - riding it was scary.  Arlington and Cainan loved it.  Finley was not a fan - even a little bit, but she was a trooper.  IT was a straight up, open car  - what a thrill!  If you are not afraid of heights, then this is a must for you.

You can see the track in the background.  It goes straight up
 Arlington is extemely excited.
 Up we go!

 I tried not to look

 Up into the clouds

I was not able to take a video of the ride (Because I was too busy hanging on), so if you want to see it in motion - check out this video HERE

After our ride up, we walked around a beautiful lake and rocky cliffs among the mountains.  It was beautiful there.  There was also a dam where they hydroelectric power the towns below.  A great last stop before heading home.

 The dam
 Where the traumatized teenager parked herself after the ride up.  She did eventually recover

 She was sad I wouldn't let her climb down the rocks to the water.  She has problems

There was a suspension bridge we discovered on our walk down, so Mat, Arlington and Cainan went to check it out

It was a great weekend.  I am glad we decided to fit in a few more trips before we moved.  This was something not to be missed.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Lake Brienz - Day 3

Today we started our day a little later.  I was able to get up and enjoy some coffee and a book on our balcony before heading out for the day.

Our first stop was the Ballenberg Outdoor Museum.  This place was great.  Cainan has actually been here before with a school trip, so he was excited to show us around and talk about all the fun things they did before.

There was a small chapel right inside the gate
 We love seeing the cows with bells around their necks

The museum is HUGE.  It was established in the 1970s after Switzerland started to save a lot of the old houses from around the country.  So many couldn't be maintained, but the historical society didn't want to lose them.  So they moved them to this huge plot of land and maintain them for visitors.  It was incredible to see.  The oldest houses/working barns date back to the 1300s.  In total there are 100 houses/buildings on this land that they rescued.

 The girls climbed in with the goats.  They had a great time petting them

 The old windows and notched wood are just fantastic to see in person
 Many houses have designs etched into them

 One of the displays was on the Swiss cow bells.  A favorite of our family - the Swiss cows wear the bells around their necks so when they are grazing high in the mountains, the farmers can locate them.  Most of them wear a reasonable sized on on a daily basis, but the enormous bells are reserved for the festivals when the cows return to the villages after spending all summer in the mountains grazing.
 We spotted another waterfall
 This house was painted

We had a great time wondering around the lands, exploring the houses and shops, and seeing all the animals on site.  A great way to spend a few hours.

After the museum, we decided to check out the Axalp Woodcarving trail.  We drove high into the mountains (What a change in temperature!) to start the trail.  This area was devestated by a mudslide in 1998, and many trees fell.  Out of the stumps, artist began to carve these statues and they remain in place today for people to enjoy along the trail. 

The carvings are amazing.  There are 80 total along the trail
 Gorgeous views from our hike

 Teenagers are strange

 Look at Lake Brienz.  That is not a doctored photo - I could not believe the color!  I could look at that all day

While we were on the path, we came across a group of young cows just moseying along.  The didn't seem bothered by us at all and actually came up to us for a pet.  They didn't seem to want to walk past Mat, so we had to get off the trail so they would continue on their way.  One turned around and headed back the direction he came, and it looked like he was leading our hike.  It was pretty fun.

After that hike, our last stop was Giessbach Falls.  We found it on our drive back down the mountain.  We had it on our list as a boat trip, but since that wasn't available (thanks to Covid) we didn't think we would be able to see it.  However, we came across the park on our drive and we were blown away by the size of these falls.  They were gorgeous and enormous.  They flowed right into Lake Brienz, which we could see from the top where we are.  Outstanding views.  Glad we found it.

 Look!  It's the back side of water!  (ba dum bump)

 That is a very pricey hotel and Lake Brienz in the background

Listen to that roar!

Great day.  Tonight we walked to town to get some pizza at a local shop and now we are packing to head home. (Mat found a Batman carving on our way) We have one more excursion planned tomorrow before we head back to Basel.