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Adventures of a short vet

Interlaken Adventures

SWITZERLAND | Thursday, 7 April 2011 | Views [1503]

I rose early to catch the train to Lauterbrunnen, from where I caught the bus to Trummelbach where I started my cable-car journey up to peak of the Schilthorn mountain. This top ski run in the Alps offers amazing views of the famous peaks of the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau, and was featured in the first James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a fact that they really do milk to the hilt. I’d decided not to spend almost £150 catching the train to the “Top of Europe” Jungfrau, as you spend most of the journey in a tunnel with 2 quick stops for photos; whereas heading up to Schilthorn you spend all your time in cable-cars or furniculars with amazing views. The first cable-car took me to Gimmelwald, where I wandered around the almost deserted town in the early morning light, before deciding to walk from Gimmelwald to Murren instead of taking the cable-car. It was a bit of a killer walk though, climbing a good few 100 feet, but definitely worth it for the serenity and beauty of the surroundings. I then caught the cable-car from Murren up to the top of Schilthorn, where I spent about an hour wandering around taking photos.
When a guy took my photo and asked me where I was from I replied, “NZ”
“That’s a shame” said he.
“Ah you must be from Australia,” I said.
“Yes, but I was born in England.”
“Oh, that’s a shame,” I replied. Zing!

After a few hundred photos of snow-peaked mountains, I caught the cable-car back down to Murren and set off on a 1.5hr walk to Winteregg and from there to Grutschalp. It was the first time I’ve seen flowers blooming on one side of the road and snow covering the other side! From Grutschalp I caught a very steep cable-car 690m down down to Lauterbrunnen, where I caught the train back home.
Hot, sweaty and more than a little knackered, I was stoked to arrive back in time for happy hour, and settled down in the sun on the terrace with a well deserved ice cold beer.

Another day of clear blue skies and shining sun so this time I decided to head out to Grindelwald to do some rambling along a random “wandelweg”. I would have loved to go up to the glacier but it’s not open until May. It was a good thing I set off early as I managed to get on the wrong section of the train, and then was unable to change at the correct stop where the train stopped for approximately one minute only, as the conductor got in my way as I tried to exit the train! He insisted on checking my ticket and then said, “You are on the wrong train.”
“I know,” I replied, “that’s why I was trying to change at this station!”
So I had to sit on the train until Luaterbrunnen & then ride it back again to the station where I changed onto the correct train.

Grindelwald is bigger and definitely more commercial than Gimmelwald. And yes, it is also the name of some badass wizard in Harry Potter, as a fellow traveler accidentally commented on before realizing how nerdy she sounded. I wandered through the town and then followed a path up to the first cable-car on the way to the Obergletscher (upper glacier). I would have loved to visit the glacier but it only opens in May. My walk began with a nice ramble out amongst the farms and then a steeper climb through the forest. If I were in a movie I would have come across a psycho killer there. Good thing I’m not. I reached a hotel but the sign to the first stop was blacked out. Not letting a little thing like that stop me, I wandered down the road only to be confronted by a three-way split in the road with no further signs. I decided to stop for lunch by the river, which was very peaceful, despite the signs warning about flood dangers. I sat a bit further away from the river.

On my final morning in Interlaken I decided to walk out to St Beatus’ Caves. This is where the monk St Beatus was said to have battled a dragon. It was an amazing walk following the “Pilgrim’s Path” through a nature reserve along the edge of the lake, before heading up steeply through the forested area above the lake. A lovely little waterfall and great views of the lake greeted me at the caves. I didn’t enter the 1km long caves as they were relatively expensive, and unlikely to compare to what I’ve seen in NZ/Aussie & SA. Lunch in the park followed by a short nap was a much more attractive alternative; and I arrived back at the hostel in time to catch a late afternoon train back to Bern. Arriving hot & sweaty I decided to shower before heading out to buy some food, only to find that all the shops were closed as I’d forgotten it was a Saturday afternoon! That’s when you know you’re on holiday!

Tags: dragons, gimmelwald, grindelwald, james bond, lauterbrunnen, mountain peaks, schilthorn

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