Geo: 46.5949, 7.90749
After a week of great rides (over 500 miles) through the Black Forest in Deutschland / Schwarzwald (German for the Black Forest), we rode 5 hours on Saturday, mostly in light rain, on the Autobahn. After 3+ days of a 90+ European heat wave, it was kind of refreshing. We arrived at our first Swiss destination, Lauterbrunnen, up the mountain from Interlaken, in the shadow of the Eiger. This "valley" makes Yosemite look like a small trench. Our photography doesn't begin to capture the full flavor of it's majesty - a lush green valley surrounded by huge rock walls, waterfalls, and glaciers.
Our first trip was a local one, up the adjoining valley to the resort town of Grindelwald, with its awesome views. Although quite touristy, driving up to the end of the road at the foot of the mountain was worthwhile. If you want to spend the money, you can take a train all the way up through the glaciers of the Eiger and Monch to Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe. Before returning home, we continued on up the road from where we are staying, following the canyon to the end of the road at Stechelberg, where cable cars
will take you to the round restaurant made famous by 007 at the top of Mt. Schilthorn. A great first ride!On Monday, our travels through the Jungfrau consisted of a loop across the Thunder See (lake) along cliff hugging roads to Thun, then up into the high country to Gurnigel. After a stop for coffee at the Berhaus Gurginel, a popular stop for bikers that offers a great view of the pass all the way to the lake, we headed back for a visit to Moto-Center Thun, an amazing bike shop that sells BMW, Aprilia, and Honda, with a huge bike and apparel showroom, service center, and a cafe with a full bar. After the requisite t-shirt purchase, we stopped at a grocery store for lunch items and took had a picnic along the lake, enjoying the sunshine. Another great day on the road.Tuesday found Deb under the weather, so Dave and Janet took off for a wonderful ride thru three of the noteworthy passes in the area. After traveling along the south side of Brienzer See (lake) through some of the longest tunnels in the world (one over 6 KM), it
was a rapid climb to Brunig Pass. At one point the road was a corkscrew tunnel that passed over itself twice. Descending down one of the smaller lakes, Lungern, we started another steep, twisting climb, finally arriving at Glaudenberg Pass. A Swiss soldier, on duty to assist hikers, was kind enough to help us activate a cell phone we bought for emergency calls. From there we rode to Schupfheim, then south to Sorenberg, where we started climbing up to the Glaubenbuelen Pass, with its awesome vistas (we are running out of adjectives). A narrow, twisting road led us down the mountain to Giswil, where we headed back to Interlaken, this time on the north side of the lake. It was a spectacular day, although the warm (mid 80) temps continued. At least, the forecast of thunderstorms never materialized.
We spent Wednesday playing like the tourists, with a cable car ride from Lauterbrunnen up to Grutschalp (at 4879 ft) and then the ski train up to Murren (5361 ft), halfway up Mt. Schilthorn (9748 ft). The views from Murren of the Eiger, Monch, and Junfrau peaks were wonderful, as were the scenery in the area and the vistas of Lauterbrunnen in the
valley below. We spent most of the day hiking trails, lunching in Murren, and hiking down to the train stop at Winteregg. In spite of heavy clouds with forecasts of thunderstorms, we all headed out for another loop through the high country north of the lakes on Thursday, enjoying relatively deserted mountain roads on our way to Schallenberg pass, then back again over Glaubenbuellen and Brunig passes. Unfortunately, the low clouds and fog keep Deb and Gun from appreciating the view captured earlier in the week. We stopped in Brienz along the lake for a picnic lunch just as the sun started to shine. Encouraged by the change in weather, we headed to Thun again, this time for a visit to Thun Castle and to check out the old town with a walk along the canals. We got stuck in the 5:00 traffic in the city but made it back to our lair before the clouds rolled in again. Another great day. With the chance of pending rain on Friday evening, we decided to take a ride up to Beatenberg for some spectacular views of Interlaken and the surrounding peaks. Normally, this
is the place to visit at sunset, but we didn't want to miss seeing the views due to weather, in spite of the haze and shadows typical of the morning in the mountains. We were not disappointed in the ride up to the village or the great views, in spite of the less than perfect lighting for our pictures.
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