Tag Archives: Wengen

Home again

18 Oct

18 October 2019.

Sleep came, at last, on our sixth night at home, signifying the end of jet lag: 8.5 hours Tuesday night had me rolling out of bed at 05:00. The first full night of sleep truly puts a trip behind us except for the memories and 1100+ photos to be sorted.

The final two weeks of our trip were spent in Lauterbrunnen in our favorite apartment. This was our fourth stay in James’ and Michelle’s apartment and it felt like home when we walked through the door. We’ve already booked a stay there in Autumn 2020.

Even in our sixth visit to the area we are finding new walks, new experiences, new corners to explore.

Wrapping up this portion of our trip, I have some photos from a few of our favorite hikes in the valley and mountains. We plan to publish an e-book about easy hikes in this area. Updating the Val Gardena book and writing this new one for the Lauterbrunnen area should keep me out of trouble all winter.

Playground in the mountains

The Allmendhubel to Winteregg hike starts at a fabulous playground. The children don’t seem to notice the view.

WOman in front of snowy mountains

The Mountain View Trail between Allmendhubel and Winteregg is well named.

Tunnel through rock by lake

The trail from Iseltwald to Giessbach hugs the lake and goes through a short tunnel.

Man in trail in forest

We had a couple of steep climbs on the way to Giessbach.


At the end of the Iseltwald to Giessbach hike, a Victorian Era hotel and a fabulous waterfall.

Mountains with a small train

No matter how many times we do it, always a favorite for us is the walk from Grütschalp to Mürren with a view of the little cogwheel train. Oh, and mountains.

Man at a bench with mountains in background

Another fave is Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. Not too difficult and highly satisfying.

Man on trail with rocks in background

We had a surprise snow overnight before our hike on the North Face Trail.

Mountains vie2wed from a road

Descending at the end of the North Face Trail into Mürren. The sun came out as we hit town. We hiked alone, encountering maybe half-a-dozen people in 2.5 hours.

SNowy Mountain Peaks

Our post-hike view from lunch at about 14:00. The mountain restaurants along the trail were closed for the season.

Man surfing

In Thun (pronounced “tune”), Switzerland, a man surfs in the wake created by sluice gates on the River Aare.

Castle on a lake

Thun is one of the larger towns in the Berner Oberland. Our walk along Lake Thun included four castles on a bright Saturday.


Spotted on a walk near Wengen. One passes from town to farm in the blink of an eye.

View of a valley with waterfall

While weather and lighting did not cooperate to make this the stunning shot I had hoped for, it’s still a magnificent view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and Staubbach Falls.

Road with snowy peak in background

Another walk near Wengen. Snow overnight made higher elevation walking precarious so we found this nice walk above the valley where we could admire the fresh snow.

Goat with valley in background

Goat pasture with a view, Wengen. In less then 30 minutes we went from touristy crowds crowding mountain trains in downtown Wengen to working farms.

If you are looking for a comfortable, convenient roost in the Jungfrau Region, send me a message and I’ll tell you how to get in touch with James. Pictures are online here but you’ll want to reach out personally rather than book through the site.

New Year, New Country

3 Jan

January 1

It is 20:48 and I am already tucked into my fedderbett.  I probably should take a statin drug after what I ate for dinner. At first nothing looked good on the Swiss menu. There were no good antipasti. Surely I would not order pasta here, and certainly not the pizza. Where are the grilled fresh vegetables? So we both went with Rösti and salad.  The former are a little like hashbrowns but worse for you, dripping with cheese. At least mine had sliced tomatoes on them.  Oh my God, get me back to Italy before I kill myself on this food! The wine is marginal, but the country is jaw-droppingly beautiful and the trains are lovely. We’ve been on four different types today coming from Rome to Lauterbrunnen. (Examples below.) Now to sleep as we only had 4 hours on New Year’s Eve.

EuroCity from Milan to Switzerland

EuroCity from Milan to Switzerland

Frecciarosso, top of the line Trenitalia

Frecciarosso, top of the line Trenitalia

Interlaken to Lauterbrunner

Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen

January 2

Cogwheel train to the mountains, filled with skiers

Cogwheel train to the mountains, filled with skiers

With precipitation in the forecast – rain in the valley and snow in the mountains – we decided to head up the Jungfrau side of the valley on the cute cog railway, joining throngs of skiers as well as hikers and those intent on sledding. First stop, Wengen, a resort town in sight of the Jungfrau. The day quickly became about transportation, always popular with Ric. The cog railway goes up very high, ferrying skiers to an array of lifts. They ski down a variety of runs, and in a complex network of lifts and railways, can return for additional runs via traditional ski lifts or rejoin the train for a warm ride to another starting point. We continued on to

Apfelkuchen for 2nd breakfast at Kleine Scheidigg. The apples are barely mortared together with cake. Yes, it was huge. Luckily it was for two.

Apfelkuchen for 2nd breakfast at Kleine Scheidigg. The apples are barely mortared together with cake. Yes, it was huge. Luckily it was for two.

Kleine Scheidigg and in a heavy snow storm there determined hiking down was not in the cards, so we took another train to Grindlewald, a larger ski resort. Luckily the pass we purchased covers all forms of lifts, gondolas and trains for three days as the tickets purchased one-at-a-time are quite pricey. Reversing, we came back to Wengen, the snow stopped, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and we caught a gondola to a magnificent viewpoint at Mannlichen. We rode so many transports we actually amortized the cost of the 3 day pass in one day. Ric was in heaven, and we managed to log over 8 kilometers on foot too.

At Mannlichen, 3 peaks, the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau

At Mannlichen, 3 peaks, the Eiger, the Monch and the Jungfrau

For our flatland readers, sledding is nothing like when we grew up. When we were kids we hoped to find a little hill and take our sleds for a 30, 60, or 90 second ride, then slog back up and do it again until we were soaked through and had blue lips. (Of course as kids in the Upper Midwest, Ric and I also dealt with temperatures as low as -10 Fahrenheit or worse, which led to blue lips pretty damn fast.)  Here, they groom the runs for walking and sledding.  You take a train or a lift to the start of the trail and can sled for several kilometers on

Ric in the snowfield at Mannlichen. Yes, it was cold!

Ric in the snowfield at Mannlichen. Yes, it was cold!

snow packed for your pleasure. And the temp hovered around 28-30 Fahrenheit, practically spring in Minnesota. Then take a lift or train back up and do it again!

People warned us it was expensive here. They were right on some things. For example, a bottle of water that is CHF 2.20 in the valley where we are staying is Euro 1.80, or $2.44. Up on the mountain, that same bottle of water is CHF 5.50!  But everything has to be carted in on the train, increasing costs considerably. I shudder to think the cost of bringing fresh vegetables in. Dinner was on par with prices in Rome, although the wine cost more and was of lower quality. We are spoiled at wine quality and price in Italy: It’s a basic human right to have good wine at a reasonable price in Italy.

I miss hearing and speaking Italian. I never know what will come out of my mouth now. Buongiorno gets a funny look, as does grazie, but guten morgan sounds strange from my lips. Funny, though, I remember my numbers in German although I haven’t spoken it in 40 years. We sat next to four Italian young people on the train this afternoon and I really enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversation. The most priceless statement from one young man, probably 20-22 years old: “I hate the telephone. I never call anyone on my cell phone, except my mamma.” Bravo!

Tomorrow we will attempt a hike on the other side of the valley, magari

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