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Published: November 6th 2014
These eyes are scary...
Volerie des Aigles, Kintzheim, Elsace, France
It's a long time ago since our last blog. Sorry for that! One reason is that we did not do much beside working this year. Our jobs have been keeping us quite busy. The other reason is that it was a very bad summer in Switzerland with a lot of cold and rainy days. So, the weather was not really inviting for nice mountain tours. If there was a nice period during the week, for sure, on our days off the weather turned to bad and it was raining again.
Anyway we managed to do 2 really nice walks which we want to share with you. Hike from Leukerbad via Gemmipass to Kandersteg
This is a very famous and easy walk - one of these classic hikes in Switzerland. It connects the region of Valais with the Bernese Oberland. You can walk this hike in both directions. As we had a really tough week and we were quite tired we decided to walk from Leukerbad to Kandersteg. This is much easier as you mainly walk downhill. There is one more advantage. So we will describe this hike from that side. To reach Leukerbad you
can catch a train (i.e. from Bern via Kandersteg). You get of the train in Brig and take another local train to Gampel. From here you take a bus to Steg Station where you can catch another bus up the mountains to Leukerbad. This sound very complicated - but it is not. Everything is well marked and from Berne it will take you approx. 2,5 hours (so get up early in the morning!).
Once in Leukerbad we enjoyed the nice weather by having breakfast and a short walk around the village which is famous for its thermal baths. From Leukerbad it is a steep but beautiful hike up to the Gemmipass (about 1000m of altitude difference). For the lazy ones - you can also take the gondola. On top of the Gemmipass you have amazing views towards the high summits of the Valais region. And of course, on clear days, you can spot the Matterhorn. From now on, the descend starts slowly. It is a leisurely hike around the lake, passing the Schwarenbach Mountain Hotel till you finally reach Sunnebühl. Here you can either take the gondola back down to Kandersteg or you walk down (it is easy to
walk but steep for about 1 hour).
We have done nicer hikes before. It is really an easy hike and there were too many people around for our taste. But it is not bad either and makes for a chilled day! Hike up the Schilthorn
This hike was a bit tougher, but still not really difficult. But, if you really want to do the full tour - we promise, you will have really sore muscles. The full hike starts in Lauterbunnen. You can reach Lauterbunnen easily by train from Berne or Interlaken (or, of course, by car). Starting the hike here means, you have to climb more than 2.000 m of altitude difference! a couple of years ago, we would have done this. But we need much more training today - so, no question, we took the easier way. By cablecar we went up to Mürren. This is a wonderful, old little village on a terrace above the Lauterbunnen valley. Unlike other villages of the region, Mürren has kept its old charme and spirit which makes is peaceful and relaxed. the weather was not great, but we could spot the famous mountains Eiger, Mönch and
Jungfrau. From Mürren we took another cablecar up to Brig which is 2/3rd up the way to the Schilthorn. From here, you have wonderful views over the mountain range - normally. We were greeted by thick fog. From Birg we started walking up the last part to the Schilthorn. The Schilthorn itself is not a particular nice mountain. But the views up there leave you speechless. And, the summit is famous! In 1963 the James Bond "On her Majesty's Secret Service" was filmed here. And James Bond still is big business on the Schilthorn. Hundreds of tourists come here daily (mainly asian tourists), there is a James Bond museum (which is quite fun), a shop.... After the quiet village and the nice hike up the mountains we were a bit shocked by meeting so many tourists. But we have to confess, we had great fun watching them and reminding us that we are also tourists in most places on this planet ;-). Of course we helped people taking pictures. It was nice talking to them and hearing their travel stories.
But we were happy to leave this busy place when we started our hike down. We climbed down all
Nina taking the bus
on our way to Leukerbad
the way from the summit to the village which are 1.400, of altitude difference. It took us about 3 hours. And it was amazing. A couple of steps away from the summit it was quiet again, the views were amazing and it was pure mountain bliss! The first part of the trail took us along a narrov ridge till we continued our descend into a nice, grassy valley. Passing the Rotstock hut we reached Mürren again. We did not meet one single person on our way down, just a couple of cows and lots of marmots. In Mürren we enjoyed a nice dinner before we took the cablecar down to Lauterbrunnen.
We can really recommend this hike. Depending on your level of fitness, you can take the cablecar for certain passages. And there are more nice hikes around Mürren. We are sure, we will be back in winter. We have never skied here before - and the slopes look really promising. A day in France
Further, this summer, my oldest friend from kindergarden got married. She celebrated in a small village in Rhineland-Pfalz which is just across the boarder from France. On our way back
famous for its thermal baths
home to Switzerland, we made a short detour and visited Kintzheim. This is a typical small town in the Elsace where whine is produced. They have an old castle with a refuge for falcons and owls (called "Volerie des Aigles). These huge birds were stunning. And the views from the Elsace to Germany and the black forest was quite nice. Overall, it was a nice break from work.
Now, we are really looking forward to our trip to India in only 3 weeks. We feel extremely exhausted after having worked so much this year, sometimes without even making a break on the weekends. More of our planned 6 weeks in India coming soon....
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