Sunday, July 31, 2016

More explorations around Switzerland

For a small country, there are sure a lot of areas to explore and seemingly unlimited well marked hiking trails to follow. We've been wanting to go to the Lauterbrunnen area, known for its waterfalls, for a long time. Finally in July after the snow melt and a tremendous amount of spring rain, we found the perfect opportunity. We were not disappointed with the number of waterfalls or the volume of water. 

Just getting to Lauterbrunnen where we would leave the car, is part of the pleasure for Tom. Here's a picture of our navigator. Driving around the switchbacks is something one of us calls "fun". 

parking lot where our hike began and where we saw our first waterfall

Our plan was to walk along the valley from Lauterbrunnen to Lengwald. At that point, we'd get on a cable car. We wouldn't go all the way to the top of the Schilthorn (mountain), but get off at Murren. There we'd change to a funicular to Allmendhube. After Allmendhube, we'd walk at the higher elevation to Grutschalp and then take the cable car back down to Lauterbrunnen.  

Walking along the valley, was very easy on the body. It was basically flat with nicely groomed trails - no need to use our sticks (yet).

fast moving water, but not overflowing its banks

Hi Tom!

the beginning of countless scenic views

It's possible to tour the area via helicopter. We didn't try it, but it would be a good option for folks who are less willing or able to walk. 

balanced rocks are called an inuksuk or cairn - reminds me of Pam and Phil

I can understand why paragliding enthusiasts come to Switzerland to enjoy this activity - such great scenery. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to do it. Way too much adrenaline flowing for me!


We got to watch several para-gliders come in for a landing near our picnic spot. Then we went up the cable car - without any plans to copy them. 

funicular station for the second leg of our transportation up

upper funicular station - we did go higher just under our own power
at the top

As you can see, the weather was perfect for our hike. Beautiful skies and not too hot.

sweet spot for a coffee break, don't you think?

We saw so many varieties of wildflowers! Sadly, no edelweiss. I still have never seen it growing in the wild, only in planters. It's really not that pretty anyway, but I've been looking for it. 


happy hiker!

another inuksuk

soaking in the beauty

we heard the cows before we saw them

very glad to have my sticks on the upper hike


walking through town back to our car

 What a great day out! 

UBS is running a special promotion for travel up the mountain trains. Anyone with a UBS account can go for only 10 CHF! That is definitely a good deal. We've been trying to take advantage of this while it lasts (until October). 

standing in the clouds, August 2015
Last summer, we went up to the Stanserhorn when we had friends visiting. The clouds rolled in and we did not see the expected stunning views

I went again with a friend in July 2016 and we had much better luck.

what a difference!

hat ladies!

very gentle walking trail

Luzern is down there

Another mountain we visited with the same UBS program was Santis. Rather than overlooking lakes, this one stands above farmland. After driving to the base, Santis was feeling shy and hiding in clouds. We followed a walking trail through some farmland and hoped the sky would clear. 

bus/coach stop

Walking right through where the cows were grazing was a little unnerving. We are told every year some people are killed (trampled) by cows. This usually happens when the person gets between the mother and her calf. I don't think there were calves in the field, but I tried to give the cows a wide berth.
wow, I had no idea the cow was looking at me like that!

rocky terrain

goats don't mind the terrain

that's where we're headed - still not great - wait a bit more

no need for sticks today

our picnic spot

Finally done with our walk and we boarded the cable car to the top. We rode up on another just like this.
mountain name in flowers outside the station

entering the clouds
Swiss people are very active ... they are also not risk averse.
colder than expected at the top and windy too!


On our way back to our car, we saw this tour bus.  The goats must not want it to leave!

The ride to and from the destination is often beautiful as well. This trip did not disappoint. 

I know someone who used to live here who was heard saying "seen one mountain, seen them all." She was definitely not enthralled with the natural beauty of Switzerland. I respectfully disagree. The views are not all the same nor is the means to get to the view. Luckily, Tom and I both do not tire of it.