Switzerland- first stop Lauterbrunnen

After leaving Bad Waldsee, we were going to drive as far as Meiringen in Switzerland and spend a couple of days hiking there before we had to be in Zermatt but ended up driving to Lauterbrunnen – closer to our next destination and one of our favourite places in Switzerland. The valley there is so striking – with huge cliffs of about 1000m straight up from the valley floor. 

 It was our third time there- once with the girls in 2001 and then in 2012 when we were doing the Alpine Passes hike over about 12 days. We have vivid memories of the day in mid late August when we were walking down from the pass at Kleine Scheinedegg towards Wengen and it started snowing – heavily. By the next morning there was 30 cm of snow on the ground in Lauterbrunnen and much more at Murren where we supposed to start the next day’s hike. We ended up missing out the next 3 mountain passes on the hike due to the amount of snow. 
Our first day on this visit we headed up from Stechelberg at the end of the valley by gondola to Murren and did a hike along the high pastures then back to Murren by cog train. 

The cliffs at Lauterbrunnen- we saw base jumpers taking off here one day
Looking towards the Jungfrau and Eiger

There were lots of wildflowers and some good interpretative material at the start of the hike. I had never realised that Arnica grew only on high alpine pastures.

Arnica flowers

But before long we had our usual thunderstorms chasing us.

We finished the hike in the rain and retreated to a hotel opposite the train station for afternoon tea in Murren. Which turned into dinner, resplendent in our hiking gear, as it was such a comfortable place to spend a few hours – it turned out to be the best hotel/restaurant in Murren (very traditional) which made us feel a little awkward …

The next day we embarked on a more major hike from Stechelberg up the valley. And met these super friendly goats who ended up staying with us for some distance.

Which was fine until we got to a bridge and they wouldn’t move. Shades of Billy Goats Gruff?

Shepherd’s house

Another thunderstorm on its way?

View down the valley towards Stechelberg and Lauterbrunnen

We wished we could have spent longer here (maybe next year) but after 2 days we had to move on to Zermatt to meet our friend Pamela. To get there we had to take a car train from Kandersteg under the mountains to the valley near Visp. An interesting experience!

The train was 3.0 metres high and 2.5 m wide – we are 2.95m high and 2.35 m wide so very little tolerance. We had to drive what seemed like a few hundred metres down the wagons on the train with only 7.5cm clearance on each side – ended up folding in the wing mirrors. The camping van in front of us is narrower than our van.

Next stop – Zermatt. 

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