Lauterbrunnen (+ a little Interlaken)

We arrived in Lauterbrunnen on Wednesday to a misting rain and may a beeline for our AirBNB. Not because it was raining, but because it had a laundry room! Turns out 10 days of traveling plus all your stuff getting wet on a frequent basis makes for a stinky time. Our AirBNB was adorable and Beat was a great host!

There were three interesting things about the washer: 1) It charged you based on how much your clothing weighed; 2) It seemed to take coins we didn’t have enough of, and 3) All of the directions were in German. We turned knobs, pressed and pulled, and inserted coins from a mutual jar (that we later repaid of course) until…voila! It started. In the end, I think we ended up paying something like $3 dollars to “quick” wash just our socks and underwear. Well worth it!

That evening we took a stroll through Lauterbrunnen to check out the town. Apparently it was the inspiration for the town Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings. I can see why!

The next day we took a series of cable cars to the very top of Schilthorn – Piz Gloria – the filming location of the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Like in Zermatt, we had breathtaking views above the clouds. We even practiced some secret agent poses.

Then we took the cable car town to the town of Murren where we had lunch.

We decided to walk the rest of the way to Gimmelwald, a favorite of our travel icon Rick Steves. We can see why! The walk from Murren to Gimmelwald may just be the most beautiful walk we have ever taken. It didn’t hurt that we had great weather. I felt like we were in The Sound of Music.

In Gimmelwald, we purchased cheesed from a self-service shed, based on the honor system.

Gimmelwald is a very tiny town with one restaurant, that also just happened to serve beer and was one of the highest rated beers in Europe!

At the brewery we had spectacular views and even chatted with other tourists (something we don’t do much). Jane, if you’re reading this, we met your doppleganger. She’s from Houston and her brother works for NASA 🙂

This area was the first town this entire trip with cats! This made me very happy. Here is a series of the beauties I met along the way.

The following day we took a train to Interlaken and decided to go for a hike. Interlaken literally means two joining lakes and the hike was full of stunning views of both. One of my favorite parts was meeting the Swiss cows along the path. They thought of us as their herders and actually began following us!

 

It was also the hardest hike we have ever taken. It took us 2 hours, with several stops, and a wrong turn that resulted in an extra mile. But we finally reached the top  of Harder Kulm and were rewarded ourselves with beer, pizza, pasta, and a slush puppy (plus amazing views). In the end, we hiked a 4,333 ft mountain – bigger than Mount Mansfield where we’re from in Vermont.

 

After that we were pretty much dead. We took the tram back down to town and walked through the city to the train station. That was about all we could muster. We took the train back to Lauterbrunnen, stopped at the Coop for dinner supplies, and had an evening in.

As we were cooking dinner, we heard a really strange sound. We went to the backdoor to see our neighbor practicing on his 20 foot Alphorn in the driveway. Just a typical Friday night in Switzerland!

Overall, Lauterbrunnen was absolutely magical. The pace was nice and slow, the landscape looked untouched and pure, and I can see why it inspired Tolkien to set his book here. I look forward to returning someday!

We’re on our way to Lucerne now, as we wind down our trip. One night in Lucerne, one night in Zurich, and then we fly back.

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