Published: August 21st 2007August 21st 2007
Still in Grimmelwald. I recommend to anyone visiting Europe to spend a few days in Murren or Grimmelwald to either hike or just chill out and take in the ridiculously amaying scenery.
This hostel (Mountain Hostel) has by far been the best yet. Its extremely low key, a bit older crowd than the bunch at the "party" hostel in Interlaken, but still a great amount of fun. There's a group of really cool English kids who entertain most of the hostel into the wee hours with breakdancing and a few nights ago we had a group of 29 German prisoners who were on some kind of release program for assisting handicapped people in the outdoors, which created a whole different kind of interest from the hostel crowd.
The weather here has not been worthy of the scenery. This is my fourth night here (stays at Florence and Rome are going to suffer) and each day the weather has gotten worse. Two days ago hiked up to Schlithorn, 5,000+ feet up from the hostel to get some conditioning in for my up coming treks. Did another hike the next day with a couple of fun women from Wisconsin, believe it or not, and now my dogs are barking - the legs are very sore. For all the dramatic scenery, I've gotten partial views at best, which has been disappointing. The hikes have been great, other than the fact that all the locals pass me on the trails like I'm standing still.
I did the Schlithorn hike the same day as the local "Inferno triathlon" - where the participants do a swim-bike-mountain bike-run from Interlaken to Schlithorn. Its completely insane as the total vertical gain is at least 7,000' +. for the marathon part. Check this inferno out on the web. The Swiss do not believe in switchbacks. The trails here go straight up and they go straight down. They put all trails in the Pacific NW to shame.
Still, I can't complain. Killing a couple bottles of wine in the hot tub while looking at staggering mountain views across the valley every night makes the pain go away and is a great way to spend a few days. Sure, I take my share of ribbing as I'm easily the oldest guy in pretty much any hostel I stay at (was dubbed "gramps" in the hot tub last night).
I'm going to take off the day after tomorrow to travel to Cinque Terre, an area of the Italian Riveria which is still a bit off the beaten path, but still *very* well known among the hostel crowd.