Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lauterbrunnen, Mürren and Gimmelwald


When most people think of the Alps, the first mountain that usually pops into their heads is the Matterhorn near Zermatt, Switzerland. This mountain gained a tad more fame in Southern California when Walt Disney added a much smaller replica of the Matterhorn as an iconic image of his wonderful Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California.

I wonder if young Jacob has been there yet?

The Matterhorn is only the tenth tallest mountain in Switzerland at a stunning height of 4,478 meters/14,691 feet. The tallest mountain peak in Switzerland is found on the Swiss-Italian border at an Alp called Monte Rosa which tops out at 4,634 meters/15,203.

The Jungfrau, which you will see a lot in today's blog is impressive to be sure, but is only the 30th tallest Alp in Switzerland at a modest 4,158 meters/13,641.

By comparison, California's Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contigious United States is 3,421 meters/14,505 feet tall.

The Matterhorn at Disneyland
43 meters/140 feet tall


After the short train ride to Interlaken, I boarded another train to that took me up a yet another picturesque, imagine that, Swiss valley to the village of Lauterbrunnen.

Lauterbrunnen is Snow Country

This quaint town is a good base camp to ride bikes, hike, ski, paraglide or just veg out in nature if that is your calling.

Hillside across from the
Lauterbrunnen Bahnhof

Metzger Fuchs

A metzger is a butcher. An appropriate coat-of-arms don't you think?

Lauterbrunnen's Alpine Kirche

Still a lot of daylight left today

Staubbach Falls

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is a waterfall lover's paradise.

As nice as Lauterbrunnen was, it was not my goal dorf (village) on this fine day. To reach my preferred two spots I would have to first take a pair of breathtaking gondola rides from the valley floor (796 meters/2,611 feet) up to the Alpine resort dorf of Mürren (1,650 meters/5,413 feet).

Mürren's view of the Eiger

"Small" hills across the valley from Mürren

That's more like it!

But still, the Eiger ROCKS!!!

Another set of "minor" Alps
to the west of Mürren

Still snow in Mürren

Great Alpine Decor

Lots of snow but it was HOT!

I was just wearing a long sleeve shirt, they said it was 12ºC/54ºF but it felt much warmer to me.

Hello, Dog!

Why, yes, I do know Christie Johnson.

Not Real

Paragliding is BIG near Mürren

That is the Jungfrau in the background.

I told you it was hot in Mürren!

Thank you my Japanese tourist friends

Alpine Game Horns . . .

And heads

The Lauterbrunnen Valley Floor

Nice Shed

The traffic free streets of Mürren

Käse Rösti

Time for lunch at Mürren's Stägerstübli Restaurant that, of course, offered great views with this fine cheese and hash brown treat.

And so good for you too!

They call it a "Snow Blower"

Unknown in Camarillo, it is a great invention.

I wish I'd thought of it.

The Allmendhubelbahn Funicular

I spied this from my table at lunch. It was not on my agenda but I'm flexible so we took another ride further up the mountain.

Mürren vista from the Funicular ride

Allmendhubel is a ski area

Elevation: 1,903 meters/6,243feet

The Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau

Another paraglider

This time over Allmendhubel's large, sun-bathed restaurant patio.

Colorful Skiers dining al fresco

A very fast mini-skier

Sun, Jungfrau and Cappuccino

Life was very good at this moment.

Still, it was time to move on halfway back down the mountain to the very non-tourist dorf of Gimmelwald.

NO, I do not mean the much more famous, tourist friendly resort of nearby Grindelwald. My Swiss friends got a puzzled look on their face when I told them I visited Gimmelwald. I don't think they had a clue that this dorf even existed.

If you want to get away from all of modern day technology in an Alpine setting, this is the place.

Gimmelwald was declared an avalanche zone thus saving it from development. It is a hay growing, cow and goat growing and cheese making dorf and there is not much to see unless you like to quietly sit on a bench, take in the views and ponder your beliefs.

Cheese Storing Hut

It is on stilts to keep the mice out.

Gimmelwald sits at an altitude of 1,363 meters/4,471 feet.

Gimmelwald's Low Meadows

Sometimes being a Mom is TOUGH!

O'K, maybe all the time.

Rustic Door

I wonder if they sell cheese?

Why, yes they do!

A bought a small wedge and ate it as I walked, delicious!

And so good for you too!

Got PLENTY of cow bell, thank you

Schindeln Stones

These stones sit atop many roofs to keep the shingles in place during the violent wind storms that can happen in the Alps.

Old Barnhouse

Gimmelwald's Oldest Building

Named Husmättli, it has stood on this spot since 1658.

Some Alpine Wild Flowers

Some More Alpine Wild Flowers

And so good for you too!

These were for sale at Olle and Maria's B&B which also houses this little shop called "Lilliput - the smallest shop with the greatest gifts."

Olle and Maria were the village teachers for many years and have spearheaded successful efforts to keep Gimmelwald free from development.

Gimmelwald has goats . . .

Who like butting heads!

What I really liked were the rustic storage sheds that are all over the dorf like these . . .

Good bye to the Alps, it was time to get back to football at the Morris Restaurant in Thun.

U-19 Junior Team Meeting

It was held deep in the bowels of the Morris Restaurant. It consisted of a video review of our scrimmage against the Lugano Lakers a few weeks ago followed by play reviews of the game plan for this Sunday's U-19 season opener.

The opponent this Sunday is again the Lakers in Lugano. The Senior team does not play until April 1st.

Spaghetti Dinner

After the 90 minute meeting, it was time for a nice team meal provided by the Morris.

Another great day
in Switzerland indeed!

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