Thursday, July 2, 2020

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland - Day 2

Today was our final full day in Lauterbrunnen.  We got up this morning and decided to take the train to Wengen and the Cable Car to Mannlich for a little hiking and sight seeing. 

I took a picture of this hotel because all along the balconies are geraniums.  Seem to be a very popular flower here in Switzerland - we see them everywhere!
 Starting our ride up the mountain

The train ride to Wengen was taking the same train we took yesterday to go to Junfraujoch - just not as far.  We only had to travel about 15 minutes today to get to this cute little town.  Only accessible by train, it was full of cute shops and houses and beautiful views.

From here we took the cable car to Mannlich.  This is a shot 6 minute ride to the top of a mountain to look down across Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, and even Interlaken.  The views were gorgeous.  We did a short (yet strenuous) hike along the Royal Walkway that ended at a beautiful lookout.  The weather cooperated - it was a little cloudy, but we did get breaks to see the towns below.

 The fog would roll in and out.  I told Mat it reminded me of the movie "The Mist"

 There was a herd of cows below and we could hear their bells clanging at the top of the mountain

 This is looking down into Lauterbrunnen where we were staying.  The rock face on the right there is the area right behind our airbnb.  We discovered that this area was inspriation for Tolkien's Riverdell in Lord of the Rings

 This is looking out toward Interlaken and Lake Thun

 Our buddy Jungfrau makes an appearance between the clouds

 The drop off was incredible

Instead of kid pictures today you get Mat and I.  Celebrating our last days in Switzerland 

 Jungfrau and her sounding Alps are something to witness.  We could not get enough

 You can see the path we took up to our viewing spot
 Here we are at the top!

 Back down in the cable car

We enjoyed our time on Mannlich before returning by cable car back to Wengen to look around at the shops before heading back to Lauterbrunnen on the train.  It was a great few hours this morning.

We returned to the Airbnb for lunch and then headed to the waterfall that sits behind the house we rented.  It is called Staubbach Falls.  There is a strenuous climb to the falls where you can look at the town below.  The climb is short, but tiresome.  And a bit tricky with rock stairs that were wet. 

 View from the top of our climb

 The pathway to the falls

We were hoping the hike would take us BEHIND the falls, but no such luck.  It ends in a weird spot where you cannot even really seem them from the end of the walk.  Ah well.  It was good exercise.

After this, we headed back to Basel.  We were originally going to spend one more night in the Airbnb, but the weather this afternoon was awful and turning worse.  Severe thunderstorms and hail and high winds, and it was to last until Saturday.  All we were going to do was get up tomorrow morning and drive back to Basel, so we decided we have too much to do with moving to wait and left today.

It was a great last trip in Switzerland.  My heart hurt on the way home knowing that we won't be back for awhile.  Glad we got to see another beautiful place before we left for good.

In other news:  Masks are required on Trams and Buses here in Switzerland, so I had these ones made for Mat and I.  A little piece of Basel that we can wear here and take with us to the US.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Lauterbrunnen - Day 2

This morning we had one goal - and that was to take the train up to the "Top of Europe" - Jungfraujoch.  It is the highest mountain in Europe and it has been on our list to see for awhile.  11,300 feet (over 4000 meters) in the air - this mountain is something to behold.

The train leaves right from Lauterbrunnen, and we could walk to the train stop from our Airbnb.

Normally I would recommend getting tickets for this adventure in advance becuase it is so popular.  However - in the time of Coronavirus - Switzerland is not allowing tourist really in the area.  So all that are traveling right now are the Swiss and maybe a few people who drove from surrounding countries.  So no advanced tickets were needed.

This is a pricey adventure, but 100% worth it.  The train ride is about 75-80 minutes to the top of the mountain and requires two trains.  The first train takes you to the beautiful mountain town of Wengen - a lot of people got off here to explore.  We got off and had to hop on the second train that took us the rest of the way.  The second train is the true mountain climber - it was so steep - and the reason for the high ticket price.  Kids were cheap, but if you are coming with a group of adults, be prepared to pay for it.

We saw a lot of Swiss cows on the way up and down.  There were even some of the train tracks!

 The view from the train was incredible
 I took this one of the train coming down the mountain - see it in the grass area?  Just to give you an idea of how big these mountains are

 We stopped near the top and they had a picture spot

 At the top!  I love this picture where these enormous mountains are on either side of this deep valley

Once we were at the top, we entered the mountain itself had a few tunnels that lead to various activities we could do.  There are restaurants and cafes, an ice palace, a movie, a Lindt chocolate shop and of course - the outdoor observatories.  We decided to head right for the views first.  No pictures could ever do it justice.  It is magnificent.

 This is Jungfrau

 Looking down in the valley

 Wearing our masks even at a high elevation.  The two July birthday girls taking in the scenery

The temperature was 30F

The air is very very thin.  We were all breathing hard, and even developed headaches while we were there due to the thin air.  We kept our walking to a minimum.  After exploring outside we had fun walking around the ice palace.  And then we had lunch while admiring the gorgeous view of the alps.

 That is Jungfrau behind them

 The ice palace

 We found this funny - a stuffed animal of the Squirrel from the movie "Ice Age" was trapped in the ice

We were there about 3 hours.  I think this was plenty of time to do everything we wanted.  Unless your plan is to snow shoe or hiking around the snow a bit - you don't need much more time.  The train rides down were just as spectacular as the way up.  What a trip.

Today is my 45th birthday so this was a special treat.  I loved that I got to spend my birthday with my family in the Swiss Alps.  A dream come true.