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September 18, 2014

Swiss Field Report 7 – Day 7

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 3 / raclette 1

Today we went up to Mt Titlis (and I had to endure endless stupid jokes from my husband).

Mt Titlis is famous for it’s rotating cable car, I’ve always wondered about this and it turns out it’s very simple: a normal cable car that’s round instead of square with a rotating “disk” in the floor like in a revolving restaurant. It’s neat, but so simple it’s almost curious as to why there aren’t as many out there!


As you may have surmised from this picture, the weather was not ideal. We had what I call “peek-a-boo” views of the peaks.  Gorgeous but fleeting… and did it EVER change fast!!  From a white wall of nothing to spectacular views back to nothingness in less than a minute.  You had to act fast if you saw a vista you liked!

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And it was COLD up there too!! (3000m / 10000ft) Below 0°C with the wind. We brought hats and gloves and scarves but I think psychologically my body can’t deal with those temps in September!


We had lunch and said to ourselves we’d see what the sky and views were like after – there is a Cliff Walk that tempted us, but the spotty views + crazy cold meant that we just headed back down.


We spent the rest of the afternoon in Lucerne (got there around 3), and just did a lot of aimless wandering and enjoying the city. We’ve already done the major touristy things in Lucerne on previous visits so we took it easy this time.

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One of my favourite pastimes is doing jigsaw puzzles of our vacation pictures (check out the program: brainbreaker), I am particularly looking forward to this one:


We settled on Italian for supper, you’ve probably heard me say before how I like eating by the water so this seemed extra nice….  even if we were starting to get a little testy due to fatigue.


This is one of my favourite pictures from the day; I love the reflection in the water!


Great day! Goodnight!

September 17, 2014

Swiss Field Report 6 – Day 6

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 3 / raclette 1

Another great day, with cooperating weather!

Today the plan was to hike from Kleine Scheidegg down to Lauterbrunnen.


The elevation change from top to bottom is over 1200m so the path takes you through alpine vistas, mountain scenery, forests, meadows, fields etc - something for every mood!

Unlike the time posted on the sign, it took us 2 hours and 30 minutes just to reach Wengen due to all the picture stops!








This particular cow made us laugh because she looked so angry! And she was blocking the latch on the electrified fence (just a cable) that we had to go through. We were too chicken to go near her and didn’t want to antagonize her so we just crawled under the fence instead. ha! I took this picture after we were ‘safely’ on the other side.


We stopped for lunch in Wengen and had what else? fondue!


Then it was back on the trail again. It was only supposed to take an hour to get to Lauterbrunnen from there, but we more than doubled that time since our bellies were so full of fat! It turned into more of a stroll than a hike at that point.

Don’t be fooled by how scenic this appears!


Most of the trail was downhill, and steep!

I have to admit that it was not really very physically demanding overall, sure walking downhill uses more muscle and I was fine with that…  it’s just that my feet were being shoved into the front of my shoes, putting a lot pressure on my toes and after a few hours of that I was looking forward to the end. We both agreed that we could have lasted much much longer if the end of the trail had been flat. The last hour was all steep switchbacks and my toes are not happy! But aside from that one thing, it was amazing. A fantastically scenic day.

After the hike we relaxed and had a drink in a cafe in Lauterbrunnen, then back to Interlaken by about 5:30.

I wanted to go back up to the Harder Kulm (a nearby mountain top – not that high, only about 1300m) because when I was last in Interlaken in 2011 they were building a look-out deck up there and now you can see it from everywhere in Interlaken. I was intrigued to see it for myself, so up we went.

It’s neat… and great views over the city too!

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After that, it was off to find a place for supper and then back “home” to crash.  I am so thankful with the weather over the last few days, I really hope it holds out!!

September 16, 2014

Swiss Field Report 5 – Day 5

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 2 / raclette 1

Finally a PERFECT weather day!!!

We fiiiiiiiinally got our sweeping vistas of the alps on our outing today, I hope this weather continues, it was great; and I won’t even complain about how it became a smidge too hot.

We went for a hike in First. To get there we took the train from Interlaken to Grindelwald, then about a 10 minute walk to a cable car station for a 30 minute ride up to First.





There are over 100km of hiking trails up there, we picked a “relatively” easy trek to Bachalpsee.


It was a bit strenuous in the beginning because the first part was uphill, and there was one part of the path that became a little narrow with no barrier to the precipice below (this was as close to the edge as I was willing to stand!), but in general it was pretty easy.



The weather was perfect! The alps were spread out around us in all their majestic glory…  it was a truly fantastic experience.

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We also made some friends along the way!!

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It took about an hour to reach the lake since we kept stopping for pictures, and what a payoff it was! The closer we got, the more gorgeous it became.

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The hike back was faster since we didn’t stop for pictures as much, plus the end was all down hill. We the rewarded ourselves with a fondue lunch on the panoramic outdoor terrace – magnificent!!




After lunch it was back to Grindelwald – my opinion of the place has not changed: all shopping so it’s not for me. Sure the views are spectacular, but since they are not exclusive to that one town, there is little to draw me back.



We got back to Interlaken around 3, and just wandered the afternoon away. Had some drinks at the Grand Hotel Victoria Jungfrau overlooking the park, then had Italian food for supper.


Uncharacteristically, I also stopped for dessert before calling it a night!


I have not yet checked the weather forecast for tomorrow, but we have similar plans again so I am hoping for similar conditions.

Good night!

September 15, 2014

Swiss Field Report 4 – Day 4

CHEESE COUNT: fondue 1 / raclette 1

I said yesterday I wanted to catch the 8AM train from Bern to Interlaken this morning, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was already too late to get going. I calculated that we would need 2 hours from the time we caught the train to the time we’d be ready to start our Interlaken-Adventures, so the 8AM train meant we’d be “starting” the day at 10AM – half the morning gone! So instead, we caught the 6:30AM train and by 9AM our day was well underway.

Because the skies were clear, we decided to walk along the Lauterbrunnen Valley, visit the Trümmelbach Falls, go to the Schilthorn (think 007 and the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service), explore Murren, then be back in Interlaken by 3-4 ish because I saw that the chances of precipitation in the afternoon increased significantly around that time.

Walking the Lauterbrunnen Valley is something my husband particularly wanted to do; he remembers it so fondly from our last visit in 2011, and this time we walked much further than last time so he was quite pleased.




About an hour down the path are the Trümmelbach Falls – they are quite something! The carving force of water is on full raging (and ear splitting) display, very impressive! Pictures can’t possibly do them justice because it’s the sheer force of the moving water that makes the attraction so awesome, along with the knowledge that your are deep inside the mountain.




From there, we continued about another half hour to the cable car that would take us up to the Schilthorn (actually a series of 4 separate rides to the summit almost 3000m up) and have lunch at the Piz Gloria, a 360° rotating restaurant offering splendid views of the alps.  Wouldn’t you know that’s when the clouds came out!  It was a panoramic view of a white wall.

We did get the occasional glimpse, but it lasted seconds and you had to be quick! Most of the time, by the time I got my Iphone out of my pocket, turned it on and opened the camera app… the hole had closed!  Well, at least lunch was yummy!!!





So, since we were not into the Bond Museum Experience, we headed out of the cloud after lunch and headed down to Murren to enjoy (mostly) unobstructed alpine views!




So much better!!!!

We came back to the hotel to check in and unpack, I think by then it was about 4ish (hardly a surprise that the room was not ready for us when we arrived at 7:30AM) and then feeling refreshed by that little break, we headed out to enjoy Interlaken a bit more.  Still no signs of rain! Encouraging!

We walked around for a while, then had drinks at a cafe by the park and watched the paragliders land… boy I wish I had the guts to try!!!




By 7, we were off to eat – raclette for me, it was a no brainer!! I don’t usually like it served this way: pre-melted in the kitchen, I prefer having a little stove at the table and melting the cheese myself but since I didn’t want a huge portion anyway, this was OK in the end.



Just as we were leaving the restaurant, I think it was about 8:30, we were greeted with HUGE thunder claps… BOOMING! is it because the storm was going to be ferocious or is it an echo-effect due to the mountains? I don’t know, but it seemed to me the Earth was splitting in two. We made it back to the hotel JUST as the Atlantic Ocean was dumped over Interlaken.

The forecast for tomorrow is about the same… keep your fingers crossed for us that the rain only starts again after supper!!