The best bus ride ever and road-blocking cows

18 Sep

18 September 2021.

Just another day in Switzerland.

After a thrilling bus ride (yes, a thrilling BUS ride!) we arrived at 5905 feet above sea level only to be held hostage for 5 minutes by a herd of very large Swiss cows who decided the big yellow bus did not need to keep to schedule. 

Thus began our day of discovery, hiking above Grindelwald in the Berner Oberland. 

If the Swiss don’t build a gondola to it, they will build a road as seemingly no place is inaccessible in this amazing country. We boarded a Grindelwald bus in the eponymous village and in minutes we were careening along a single lane mountain road, always up, past cows and waterfalls and Swiss farm buildings, our capable driver Francesca blasting the very loud four-note horn at curves to warn oncoming cars of our approach. Those with acrophobia need not apply. This was a ride that demanded the riders’ attention. There were no noses in screens for the riveting 30-minute ascent.

Then came the cows. BIG cows. Blocking the narrow road near the top. One nudged up against the bus and peered in the window, seemingly unable to squeeze past between bus and embankment. Francesca opened the doors. An attempt to scare them or to welcome them on board? Finally a farmer came along and encouraged them to mosey along. I wonder how often they play this game. If you suffer from Bovinophobia this is not the place for you.

At last at the top, the bus disgorged us. The four other passengers headed up the mountain to a restaurant at 8100 feet, a three-hour climb we were told. Ugh. Not easy-hiker stuff. We cast about looking for our hike, the path to Bort, where we would take a gondola back to the valley. One tiny sign pointed over an electric fence down a steep hill with no visible path. Not a great start. 

The big yellow Grindelwald Bus serves mountain residents and hikers.

Undaunted, we instead followed the road the bus had used — thankfully the cows had dispersed — and found a faint trail through a meadow that ultimately resulted in a hike we now count among our favorites. This one will be going in the 2022 edition of “Walking in Switzerland’s Berner Oberland.”

At 4 miles, taking two-hours, the trail is gently descending with some up-and-down undulation, a couple of points where one can shorten the hike by taking a bus, or the potential to lengthen the trek. This hike offers amazing vistas, a charming mountain café as a rest stop, and easy footing. A trifecta for us! As a bonus, we saw only five other people and two dogs on the entire hike and we were back in the valley in time for lunch. 

May have to try one of the other Grindelwald bus routes next week!

Click on any photo for a better view and a slide show.

14 Responses to “The best bus ride ever and road-blocking cows”

  1. Deb Ward September 19, 2021 at 07:06 #

    Your writing is picturesque! Loved my bus ride, the cows and the views! Thank you!


    • Laurel September 19, 2021 at 07:31 #

      Thank you, Deb! Appreciate you riding along!


  2. Kim September 18, 2021 at 16:28 #

    Absolutely beautiful! Love all your descriptions. In hot and humid Midwest right now. Wish I was with you.


    • Laurel September 19, 2021 at 00:37 #

      Thanks Kim! I am all too familiar with Midwest humidity.


  3. wavemama092772 September 18, 2021 at 11:28 #

    Wow, just wow! What a gorgeous hike!


  4. Sheron September 18, 2021 at 11:19 #

    What a lovely day. Thanks for allowing me to live vicariously through your incredible adventures.


    • Laurel September 18, 2021 at 12:44 #

      Thanks, Sheron. Happy to have you along!


  5. chloe erkenbrecher September 18, 2021 at 10:43 #

    That last photo makes one want to move to Switzerland. Amazing.


    • Laurel September 18, 2021 at 12:45 #

      It’s an achingly beautiful place, Chloe. But eye-wateringly expensive!


  6. Marcia Kakiuchi September 18, 2021 at 10:19 #

    The picture with the light streaming through the trees is fantastic. Abs the side of the cliff… what a magnificent site! To find little cafes with delicious foods also amazes me. Thank you for sharing.


    • Laurel September 18, 2021 at 12:43 #

      Ric took that photo. Pretty artsy! It is an amazing place to visit…and why we come back often!


  7. Claudia September 18, 2021 at 09:38 #

    Love the write-up and all the photos. Fabulous photos.


    • Laurel September 18, 2021 at 12:43 #

      Thank you! Hard to top where you have been but we’re doing pretty well. See you soon!


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