Gimmelwald (& Lauterbrunnen)


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July 28th 2017
Published: August 29th 2017
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Mummy loves hiking, and one of the places that she loved hiking in most was the Lauterbrunnen valley and Gimmelwald area, that is why we are exploring this area over the next few days. Tomorrow we will take a bus from Lauterbrunnen to Steklberg, and then do a 3 hour hike up to Gimmelwald, carrying all that we need for 3 days within my walking backpack and daddy's big backpack. Apparently, the scenery is truly spectacular (& maybe a little too perfect), so I am excited. The drive from Brienz wasn't too long or draining, and when we got to the hotel, I had a cot to myself, which was quite fun. Mummy and daddy spent a lot of time packing, and then suddenly settled. Mummy and daddy had pizza for dinner, whilst I made a lot of noise with cutlery and my teeth.

Wednesday 26 July

After a light breakfast, where I ate some yogurt and a bit of peach, we drove down to the entrance of Trümmelbach falls - a location where the galacial run-off from the Monch, Eiger and Jungfrau have cut 16 waterfalls into the rock. Children under the age of 4 are not allowed in due to excess noise and potential ear damage - I was very disappointed! Mummy indicated that I had ear muffs, but the attendants just shrugged their shoulders at her. Daddy took the elevator inside the rock, and ascended (and then descended) the length of the waterfalls to see the huge volume of water constantly cascading down, cutting new shapes into the rock. Daddy said that the corkscrew waterfall was the best. Meanwhile, mummy and I met some Indian children at the café who really liked me. 😊

Things got serious, when daddy picked up his big backpack, and mummy carried me (for the first time) in my backpack - it is fun to pull her hair. We walked to a bus stop, panicked that we might not have enough of this new Swiss money called Francs, and then calmed when the bus arrived (they accepted Euros) and carried us the 8 km to Stechlberg. This was a tiny, pretty town, but we weren't there long. We started walking almost straight away. Across the valley floor, over a bridge, and then the start of a really big hill. Daddy and mummy were both huffing and puffing. I was enjoying pulling hair. We (including me) then sat admiring the view whilst eating an apple. Not for long!! The walk must continue! Up, up, up, though forest with little glimpses of how far we had come. Waterfalls and other hikers in similar numbers greeted us as we continued to ascend. I was loving every moment. Mummy and daddy are good at playing ... they blow my hair and push my feet, and then tickle me near waterfalls - heaps of fun. The next thing that I remember was really loud cows with massive bells. A chalet and field opened up to us. We stopped to marvel at the view and eat a hearty lunch. Mummy finished with some liquor chocolates When we started walking again, we realised how close we had been to Gimmelweld. It was just 20 mins (~200m above us). We visited the first unattended "trust based" shop, and then found our "next generation" bed and breakfast, which had a welcome note which told us which room to go to. It was a lovely 'grenier' attic room, with heavy wooden beams and a massive skylight in the A frame roof. We pooked our heads through the skylight to see more magnificent mountain views.

The nearby town, Mürren (1 hour walk), had an alpine music event on that evening, so we put some warm clothes in my backpack and walked there. Mummy and daddy had fondue for dinner in a building with lots of goats' (actually chamoix trophies) skulls hung on the walls. They also sold skins of chamoix and foxes - super soft. Maybe I could sleep on one of those tonight? The sports hall was the venue for the music event. There were lots of wooden tables scattered about, and lots of people drinking beer sitting on tressles. A brass and woodwind band started proceedings, and daddy bounced me on his knee. Mummy was a bit worried that he was "too strong", but I liked his tapping and bouncing. The music was fun, and sometimes a bit loud. Next was the alpen horn with a flag thrower. It was very controlled and serious. Funny chats occurred in between, in a language a little like dutch, only different. The full band came back on and did more jovial music, the sun cast pink shadows on the mountains (mummy wanted to leave and look), and one more alpen horn piece finished it off. I was also finished. Mummy and daddy must have walked back to Mürren in the dark.

Thursday 27 July

After having eaten some lovely boiled eggs and a bit of yoghut (& mummy's milk of course), I was popped into my walking backpack - an early start for a long and awesome hike. After a short cross through the Grimmelweld village, our walk ascended through beautiful alpine meadows. The field had lots of colour from all the flowers, and the noise from crickets was immense. Both mummy and daddy took lots of photos of flowers from weird angles. The hike then wound through forest (with lots of mushrooms - yeah Ruby), and a spectacular waterfall. We walked underneath the waterfall, and mummy took a great photo through the falling water. After a little more hiking/climbing, the forest ended and we emerged onto a massive alpine meadow - we could now see our walking options. A huge cow with a massive bell came up to us (and nearly licked me!) - very pretty. We decided to hike higher and visit a overhanging cliff for lunch. Up, up and up we went, then around the back of hill, across a razorback, and up onto a spectacular knoll. We were at 2550m (the highest altitude I have ascended yet!), the sun was shining, and everyone was happy. The wooden bench beckoned, where we ate lunch whilst overlooking some of Switzerlands highest peaks - in the background was the Birg (2677m) and Schilthorn (2970m) (where a James Bond film was made), and in the foreground were the Eiger (3950m, difficult north face ascent), Mönch (4107m; fair ascent with 1000m fall potential) and Jungfrau (4158m; "easy" ascent). We ate ham, fennel, cheese and tomatoes. I sampled nearly everything, but enjoyed the fennel most of all. It is difficult to explain the elation associated with being so high, in such a picturesque setting, although it was mummy and daddy who did all the work in getting there!

Mummy and daddy had quite a long discussion regarding whether to continue on the razorback, up and around towards the highest peak, or take a early descent option. We chose the later. Again, many more flowers, and more than we could have dreamed about enjoying. Our path home would take another 6 hours, and pictures tell the story, but in simple terms, we crossed the valley, and then followed a trail across to the next valley. We stopped for both a soup, and a lick from a cow; walked more and more. We popped out at Mürren, just in time to buy reserves from the supermarket and then trundled back to Gimmelweld with a donkey load of fruit. It was a blissful day.

There was a sense that our holiday just continued to get better and better, maybe it was that my parents had time away from work, the bonding time or it was just easier to deal with me as I got older and stronger, then again it might just be a lucky trend. Long may it continue!!

Friday 28 July

Today we would descend to Stechelberg, return to our car (at Lauterbrunnen) and then drive to meet our friends in Sion/Ardon. We only needed to get to Ardon by 5pm so could take our time. It was sad to be leaving our picturesque hideaway, but that is what one must constantly do when travelling, I have discovered. We couldn't leave Gimmelweld without having discovered some of the via Ferrata, so both mummy and daddy ventured as far as the big swing bridge. We then picked up all our possessions and started a long windy descent down the hill. We met a lovely local whilst we were admiring the rock climbing area and his description of the Oberhornsee refuge left us determined to go there next time. Thank you Manuel! It was another beautiful day with only hints of the rain that threatened in previous days, so a stop at a sawmill and a swim were quite on the cards. Thundersee at Spiez was a perfect substitute for missing a swim at Brienz. It was colder than expected but the sun warmed us up quickly.

The nominated drive time for the journey to Sion was surprisingly short... after an hour and a €27.50 toll, we began to realise why - we were driving onto a train!!! It was quite exciting - something new for both mummy and daddy. Excitement turned to slight panic just after the train got moving and headed into a tunnel. In complete blackness we were buffeted by great winds. The car rocked an aggressive rock... not like mummy's cuddles!! Fortunately we were not blown from the train, my weight must have been the bit of force that made all the difference! A rocketing train through the mountain was so much faster than going over or around the mountain. I don't think we have any of those back home in Australia!

I must have been asleep when we arrived at the home of Pierre-Jean and Magali, because I woke up on a new mat, and daddy danced to jazz with me whilst wafts from a vegetable stew appealed to my taste buds.


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