The Big Europe Trip: Lauterbrunnen

24 Jul

Apparently the weather can be hit or miss in early May, which is the shoulder season for hiking in Switzerland. Luckily I’d been keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and switched things around to make sure we were at Lauterbrunnen on the clearest day.IMG_20190501_131257 The valley is so, so beautiful. You’re surrounded by cliffs, mountains and waterfalls (with occasional cowbell sounds in the background).

We had originally just planned on hiking, but found out that our Swiss Travel Passes let us use the gondolas to get to the summit of Schilthorn, so we figured why not! The restaurant at the top was featured in a James Bond film, and there were signs promising we would be able to “touch the snow”. Exciting.

We did enjoy the “thrill walk” around the cliffs. IMG_20190501_105745(It actually was quite thrilling for James, who is a little bit scared of heights).

I also liked this tube suspended over the snow.
IMG_20190501_110512They also had these interactive binoculars that would tell you the height and name of the mountains you pointed them at. I think these ones were Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. MVIMG_20190501_111832We considerately moved our heads so you can see them properly.

Then we took another set of gondolas to the summit (9744 feet – not enough for James to get altitude sickness). Behold, the Piz Gloria from Her Majesty’s Secret Service!IMG_20190501_114807There were a bunch of James Bond things you could take a photo in front of, but we were much more interested in the mountains.
MVIMG_20190501_115325Touch the snow! 00000IMG_00000_BURST20190501115333I wasn’t actually dressed for it. I thought we’d just be hiking, not traipsing around in the snow, so I was wearing cropped leggings.
IMG_20190501_113839So in some ways we both got to touch the snow.

After we’d gotten our fill of snow-touching, we took the gondolas back down and started our hike of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Unfortunately we couldn’t do my top choice of hike because the gondolas that went there weren’t open yet, but it was still beautiful (though not very remote-feeling if that’s what you’re after). There are supposedly 72 waterfalls in the valley but I don’t think we spotted anywhere near that many. I think maybe some of them are subtle. This one was impressive though!IMG_20190501_125432We walked along this pretty creek.IMG_20190501_130217Part of the way through the hike we stopped off at Trummelbach Falls, which is a series of 10 glacier-fed waterfalls inside a mountain. Inside a freaking mountain.

Some of the falls were accessed by funicular. You guys know how excited I am by funiculars.
MVIMG_20190501_134337It was actually quite cold inside the mountain – with the lack of sun it felt colder than the top of Schilthorn.MVIMG_20190501_134825I liked the cool rock formations as well.
IMG_20190501_135511Trummelbach was James’ favourite part of the day. How did they even know the waterfalls were in there? What a mystery.

We were pretty knackered by the time we got back to the train station. I guess maybe it was a good thing we didn’t do one of the longer hikes. Here is our last view of Staubbach Falls before heading into town. Gorgeous!IMG_20190501_151837When we got back to Bern we had some much-needed showers, and then a fancy dinner at Kornhauskeller, which is famous for its impressive interior.
IMG_20190501_175858So yeah, that was our little Lauterbrunnen adventure. If we’re ever in Switzerland again I’d definitely head back to do some more hiking (or snowboarding depending on the season!). But until then, the next stage of our trip was Val de Travers for some cycling and absinthe.

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