HIGHLIGHTS, DAY 2
Schilthorn. It’s nearly 9800 ft tall. Its restaurant, Piz Gloria, rotates 360⁰ so you can admire the panoramic views. And it was prominently featured in the first James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. From Stechelberg, we rode four cable cars to reach the summit. Once there, we made our way to the Skyline View Platform, where there was plenty of space to walk around and absorb the incredible view of the Alps. Back indoors, we did a little souvenir shopping; bought a magnet and a Swiss cow bell Christmas ornament. We also took a little break at Piz Gloria with two others from our group – my tour buddy, Emily, and her son, Noah. We ordered hot chocolates and apfel strüdel with warm vanilla cream sauce, and enjoyed the view.
The leisurely hike back from Schilthorn, between Mürren and Grütschalp. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We passed through a few other towns along the way with a great view of the valley to our right.
Trümmelbach Falls. We tagged along with two other couples, Russ, Kim, Nate, and Holly, to Trümmelbachfalle. How often do you get to see ten glacial waterfalls inside a mountain? Russ and Kim, who had been there before, highly recommended taking the funicular up to the sixth level and climbing the remaining four levels instead of walking up all ten. Fantastic advice! Many of the steps are slippery and steep. But what an amazing place! If you go, bring along a waterproof jacket.
The walk back from Trümmelbach Falls was just as much a highlight as everything else. According to Google, it’s half hour walk back to Lauterbrunnen. Take a more leisurely pace with lots of picture-taking, it took almost twice as long. But the scenery was gorgeous. We passed lots of pastures, cows, and you could hear cow bells ringing.
A Little More Cowbell
OTHER THINGS IN LAUTERBRUNNEN
Laundry! The laundromat was just down the street from our hotel, and most of our group took full advantage of it. Omar and I threw everything into one washer, window-shopped while we waited, and took turns with others in our group, watching over each other’s stuff.
Swiss Army knives. One of the shops we went to sold watches and Swiss Army knives. We both picked out different pocket knives for our nephews and had them personalized. In case you decide to buy one, the green ones are only sold in Switzerland.
Spring water fountain. A block down from our hotel, there was a large stone fountain with icy cold spring water straight from the mountains. Bring along an empty water bottle and fill ‘er up!
ATM – Need Swiss francs – no Euros here!
JAMES BOND IS A BIG DEAL UP THERE
If you’re a big James Bond fan, you can take your picture with a life-size cut-out of the first James Bond actor, George Lazenby. They also have Bond World as well as the 007 Walk of Fame. And if you’ve never seen the movie, there’s a little theater inside that plays the scene from the movie that was filmed at Schilthorn. Even the restrooms have a James Bond theme.
Image above: the Skyline View Platform on Schilthorn. Piz Gloria is off to the far left, and you can just make out the James Bond cutout to the right of Piz Gloria.
TIME-LAPSE OF VIEW FROM PIZ GLORIA
Throughout the trip, Omar took several time-lapse videos with his DSLR, but this one was the most impressive. Can't beat the scenery!
THE road to Switzerland was a little longer than the last, a little over four hours. But there’s always a break roughly every two hours. As far as bathroom breaks go, Jennifer’s advice was, “Go when you can, not when you have to.”
Time on the road was spent many ways – napping, gazing out the window, reading, journaling, and learning. As we headed to countries with a different language, Jennifer and Åsa would often give us little culture and language lessons. Sometimes they played music from or related to a particular country, or they’d pass out little treats.
HIGHLIGHTS, DAY 1
Hmm…everything? Lauterbrunnen is gorgeous! It’s a verdant, peaceful valley surrounded by the Alps, and it’s known for its 72 waterfalls – ten of which are inside a mountain. How amazing is that?
The view from our hotel room. We had two balconies that faced the valley and mountains. We spent some time relaxing on the balcony admiring the view.
Our group dinner at our hotel, which started with a lesson in making traditional fondue.
Playing the alphorn! During dinner we were treated to musical performances by an alphorn player and an accordion player. And then a few of us took turns trying to play the alphorn. Not an easy task! I managed two notes that could’ve been part of a chord, but it takes some good, strong lungs to play!
Trying Rösti for the first time at our group dinner. It’s a Swiss dish like hash browns. At dinner, it was a side dish served alongside sausage. But the next day, we ordered it as our main dish for lunch. Mine was topped with roasted veggies like eggplant, white asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower. Omar’s came with eggs, bacon, tomato, cheese and pearl onions. They were so good!
Background image & image below: The Alps!