Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
67Trip End Dec 22, 2007
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Lauterbrunnen is a small alpine village near Interlarken in the Swiss Alps. To try to describe it in words wouldn't do it justice but here goes: It's set in a deep valley with sheer rock walls rising maybe 500 meters high with waterfalls plummeting from the top every so often. The greenest countryside is broken only by small villages dotting the valley floor and on the ridges, and the imposing snow capped Jungfrau, Shilthorn and Eiger mountains tower high up above... oh bugger it, just look at the photos, you get the idea.
It's possible to spend everyday doing something different here, hiking, mountain climbing, visiting waterfalls, catching trains, cog trains, cable cars, etc. But bring your wallet full cos everything costs money. On our budget we went more towards the cheaper options but still had a fantastic time here. We visited the Trummelbach Falls
Next up we took two cable cars to Murren, a small village on top of the 500 metre cliffs above Lauterbrunnen. Murren boasts some great views over the valley and is a nice town to cruise around. We walked down to Gimmelwald in the daily afternoon rain (which most days turned into an electrical storm) but didn't look around much as we were quite wet. The cable car ride back down was spectacular. The line traverses across to the side of the cliff then drops almost vertically straight down, off the side of the cliff. We had grabbed the best spot at the front looking out the front window and the feeling was like bungy jumping in slow motion. Cool!!!
I said earlier that we took the cheaper options for our day adventures, but Sunday was different. We went the other way and did one of the more expensive trips here, a ride on the cog rail up the 4000 metre Jungfrau mountain. Mandy had done this same ride back in 1996 when she did a Contiki tour of Europe. Our trip started from Lauterbrunnen station and started climbing steeply straight away up the sides of the valley walls through tunnels zigzagging past Wengen and stopping at Kleine Scheidegg, where we changed trains. The temperature was falling rapidly now. The next part of the trip was completed mostly in a long tunnel cut through the Eiger and Monch Mountains. The train stops twice at viewing windows blown out of the side of the mountain before completing the journey at the Jungfraujoch Station, over 3600 metres high
We went out on to glacier and chucked snowballs at each other, and watched all the activities you can do. Tobogan, skiing, snowboarding, ziplines..... and they all cost more money. We didn't have the energy as just staying upright on the slippery snow was exhausting at this altitude. I think Mandy handled better than I did. A few times I felt dizzy and faint but a few deep breathes and I felt better. A mountain climber I'm not, give me sea level anytime. We took the lift up to the observation deck that looks out over the glacier and surrounding mountains, and the supposedly the valleys below, except we were above a dense cloud cover that was obscuring our view. Back down inside the building is the "Ice Palace", a series of tunnels made from ice, with ice carvings every so often. Cold!!!
The ride back down the mountain was a funny one. A large Aussie group from a Contiki tour were seated a couple of rows back and were the life of the carriage, telling funny stories and bagging each other out. I don't think many other people were taking much in but we were quietly laughing to ourselves. We haven't come across many Aussies at all on our European leg, something that has surprised us. We haven't exactly taken the well worn tourist routes though so maybe that's got something to do with it.
Monday 23rd July was a very important day as it was Mandy's Birthday. WoooHooo!!! She received almost 30 emails from everyone at home, got to speak to Robbie, Scottie and kids on skype and she had a long chat with her Mum on the phone. This is the second year in a row we have been away for her birthday. Two years in a row we have missed out on Jill's (Mandy's Mum) roast dinner. Next year we're staying home. Lauterbrunnen put on a fierce electrical storm to celebrate which lasted long into the night. Happy Birthday Mandy!!!
Next we are heading to another new country... Italy.