A perfect hike, a perfect day

19 Sep

19 September 2022.

Leaving Bettmeralp and the amazing Hotel Waldhaus in snow flurries, we arrived Saturday, north of the mighty Jungfrau to find sun in Lauterbrunnen, the peaks here freshened with snow and a powdered-sugar dusting even in the high meadows. 

The fabulous Hotel Waldhaus behind me as we head for the cable car to the valley. Goodbye, Bettmeralp!

We are “home” here for the next four weeks and settled into our favorite digs at Ey-Hus. We can’t seem to quit this place.

Yesterday (Sunday) dawned cold and bright, a delightful day to take in the views from perhaps the most perfect of easy-hiker hikes, Grütschalp to Mürren. The three iconic peaks are in constant view, watching over us, showing off fresh mantles of snow in the morning sun. The Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau have seldom looked better and the skies have seldom been clearer. The sun teases the 40-degree temperature to feel much warmer and soon we are shedding gloves and unzipping jackets. In and out of forests, over rivulets that become waterfalls as they hit the cliffs, with the little electric mountain train chugging back and-forth along the cliff. The train is filled with passengers intent on the cable car ride to the Schilthornbahn. Every step is picturesque and the only sound our footsteps. Only the cows are missing as the alpabfahrt (descent from high summer pastures) has already occurred for many. 

The last mile or so of the hike is mostly level, with lovely views and in sight of the little train.

All of the work on this hike (featured in our book) is in the first half. With only about 500 feet of gain in a mile-and-a-half, the wide path has no tricky footing and accommodates those who run, those who seek more strenuous connecting paths, and those of us out for a little exercise and to take in the day. The last mile undulates with many flat portions along the tracks as it enters Mürren. I think this path actually made us fall in love with the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Now we have taken it perhaps a dozen times and it never gets old. Especially on a perfect day.

The Eiger (left) and the Mönch. The Jungfrau is out of sight on the right.

After a restorative cappuccino at Café Liv in Mürren we hightailed it to the mountain train and transfered back down to Lauterbrunnen via cable car and on to the eastern side of the valley, taking a cogwheel train up beyond Wengen to a place we know for Sunday lunch, Bergrestaurant Allmend. 

Mürren main drag. No cars!

You have to experience it to understand the transportation here. This area is a wonder of Swiss ingenuity and the ability to efficiently connect multiple forms of transportation to get from car-free village to car-free village while respecting nature and serving the people. Every conveyance coincides seamlessly with the next.

The Wengernalbahn runs between Wengen and Kleine Scheidegg but stops on request at Bergrestaurant Allmend.

Sunday lunch is a thing for us when we are traveling. It is an opportunity to slow down, indulge a bit, and join with the locals. Wherever we are in Europe, we find families gathering on Sunday for a midday meal. Often multi-generational, sometimes groups of friends, and many couples like ourselves. While the tourists are taking photos on the Schilthorn and Jungfrau, we gather at Allmend with families eating fondue, couples enjoying a pre-lunch aperitif, and groups of adults, kids and dogs playing, eating, and lounging in the autumn sunshine. 

My phone said it was 46 degrees at 13:00, but in the sun we peeled off jackets and ordered Radlers and burgers. What a treat at 4951 feet above sea level to gaze upon the peaks, watch the waterfalls, and be served fine food by a cheerful waiter! 

The blue sky followed us back to the valley and the reality of needing to get groceries. Sunday means a lot of closures in this conservative country, so we hopped on a train to a neighboring village that had an open store. What a wonderful way to commute to the market! We arrived home just as the sun slipped behind the western cliff but it lingered for hours on the peaks to the south as we cracked open a bottle of wine. 

A perfect day. 

Our last day at Bettmeralp a chilly but beautiful hike from Fiescheralp to Bettmeralp. Tough downhill for my cranky knees but Ric handled it like a champ.

15 Responses to “A perfect hike, a perfect day”

  1. Kym September 23, 2022 at 16:50 #

    I love to read your blog. It feels like I am there. Love the wonderful photos too.


    • Laurel September 27, 2022 at 23:28 #

      Aww, Kim, thanks! We love having you along! 😉


  2. audrey crocker September 19, 2022 at 19:50 #

    So Beautiful !


  3. Kim September 19, 2022 at 14:17 #

    Absolutely lovely photos and I always enjoy your descriptions. Ric looks like a true Swissman.


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 23:22 #

      Ric is delighted! He tries to blend in wherever we go.


  4. Liz September 19, 2022 at 13:28 #

    We stayed in Wilderswil 10 years ago and had a great walking holiday. Lovely to see your photos and hear about your walks.


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 23:24 #

      Thanks, Liz You should come back. Still lovely if a little more crowded. At least there is no cruise ship port (like the Cinque Terre) to contend with!


  5. Marcia September 19, 2022 at 09:09 #

    The pictures and description just make this magazine perfect. That little town you showed with people walking around must be idyllic as it looks. And that hamburger. Wow. I bet you sleep very well in this location the next 4 weeks.


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 23:25 #

      We do sleep well! I’ve gotta increase my salad consumption, though! I know you guys like the sea, but have you thought about Switzerland? I think you’d love it!


  6. Lori Veloski September 19, 2022 at 08:37 #

    Sounds perfect, Laurel. We have to put this on our bucket list. Thank you for sharing. It seems like a good time of year to go there.


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 23:26 #

      Yes, fall is good. I’d like to come in May sometime, maybe June, but July and August are crowded and it is hotter, of course, than it used to be. Hoping they get rain soon even though it will interrupt my plans.


  7. Janet September 19, 2022 at 07:45 #

    For future reference, please tell me where you got groceries on Sunday!


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 07:56 #

      Coop in Interlaken has always, to my knowledge, been closed on Sundays. Coop in Lauterbrunnen was open on Sundays until 5 days ago, I think, as they updated their hours on Google at that time and last year we remember them being open on Sunday but we were here earlier. (Long explanation to get to your answer!)

      In Wilderswil, a short ride away, there is a good Migros Voi store to the north of the station. The Volg across the street from the station has very limited selection.


  8. pagebypage14 September 19, 2022 at 07:33 #

    Fantastic! The hike looks interesting but not demanding. Don’t you love coming back to old familiar places?


    • Laurel September 19, 2022 at 07:59 #

      We do! So many people ask why we don’t go more places we have not been. We do try to blend old and new but we no longer have the appetite to change locations every few nights and get oriented all over. Settling back into a familiar place is like coming home and we get the chance to explore more in depth, admire (or curse) the changes, and relax. We don’t have to work so hard at the daily itinerary as we know most of the options.


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