It’s my third night in Switzerland and I am still somewhat taken back at how quiet and peaceful it is here. Coming from Italy, Switzerland is a complete contrast, and perhaps a much needed one when one is still trying to recover from jetlag, drinking, and sightseeing. After a day of transit that lasted 18 hours with a stop off in Milan (second time…still not impressed), we finally made it to the tiny mountain village we are staying at in the Bernese Oberland. We caught the last cable car up to Murren and were walked to our hotel by a nice swiss lady who told us things were “quiet” here in the summer. She wasn’t kidding.
On our first day we decided to rent moutain bikes and bike down to Gimmelwald, then through to the valley and onto Lauterbrunnen, another little town that sits in the valley between the two sides of the mountain; the Jungfrau on one side, the Schlithorn on the other. The ride was absolutely gorgeous and took us through small alpine villages, past numerous waterfalls, and offered many panoramic views of the mountains that surrounded us. While most of the ride was enjoyable, there were certain points where it felt as if we were going to fly over the handle bars of our bikes because the trails became so steep so we actually had to get off and walk them. We eventually wound up in Lauterbrunnen and stopped off at a cheese shop to pick up some Apenzell cheese, crackers, and chocalate. We took the cable car back up to Murren, grabbed some wine from the grocery store and had a lovely afternoon snack on our balcony with the alps as our backdrop. Perhaps it was the wine, but we didn’t do much else during the day and basically only got motivated again to go out to eat dinner.
After a somewhat relaxing day yesterday, we woke up early today and headed up to the Jungfraujoch, the highest train station in the world that sits at 11, 152 feet. It takes about two hours to get there from Murren via cable car and numerous scenic trains that run up the moutain and through tunnels. Tomorroww will actually mark the 100 anniversary of the completion of the station. When one arrives at the top it af first can be a little overwhelming with hundreds of tourists and tunnels directing you to the different activities you can partake in. First we went out to the Sphinx Terrace which overlooks the Monch and Jungfrau peaks. We then went into the section called “Apline sensation” which was a little too touristy and disneyworld for me. Afterwards, we made our way into the Eispalast (ice palace) which took us through ice caverns and tunnerls. From there we went outside onto the overlook which offered unparalleled views of the high alpine mountains we were sitting at the top of. After we warmed up a little bit, we made our way outside to the section called “snow fun.” For additional fees there are all sorts of activities that one can experience, including ziplining, snowtubing, snowboarding, skin, and sleighing. Michelle decided to go ziplining, but my fear of heights got the best of me and I decided to meet her down below to go tubing. We spent the next hour tubing and sledding with mostly little kids, but had a blast. My butt also blasted the wall a couplel of times as I was the only one over the age of five who could not make it down the hill without falling flat on my ass…numerous times! After being thoroughly embarrassed we finally made our way back to the train and down to the valley and back up to Murren where we capped off the night with a light meal of striztl and wine as we sat out on the terrace of the Hotel Bellevue. By 9pm however everyone in the town seems to have gone to bed. The guidebook says that in the basement of our hotel is a lively disco and bar, however we have yet to see any life in the streets past 930pm. Tomorrow, August 1st, will be Swiss Day- the day when all of Swizterland celebrates its independence, so we are looking forward to a little celebration on our last night in the Alps, then it will be on to Lucerne and Zurich.