Switzerland                                                            Home - Europe 2003

May 1, 2003 Thursday - Drove to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, near Interlaken. Had to spend $30 at the Swiss border to drive on their super highways (but its good for the rest of the year). They have some very expensive roads with some really long tunnels.

The Lauterbrunnen valley is amazing. Sorrounded by steep cliffs of several thousand feet, beyond which come the mountains. At the tops of the cliffs, there are several small towns that are reachable only by cable car or by cog railway.

We stayed at an old alpine hotel (Hotel Staubbach). We again had a corner room with two views of the mountains and a shaky balcony. Laura is standing on our balcony:

 

Hotel Staubbach
3822 Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Tel ++41 (0) 33 8555454
Fax ++41 (0) 33 8555484
hotel@staubbach.ch
www.staubbach.ch
 

Here's the view from our balcony:

Lauterbrunnen viewed from Wengen:

We walked up the valley and took a cable car up to Gimmelwald, a tiny farm town with incredible views across the valley. Here's how you get there:

 

   

The highest cat we've ever seen:


 



Laura was afraid we were going to stay in the straw. This is for real http://www.esthersguesthouse.ch/ :

I had rosti for dinner with the local beer, Feldschlossen. Laura had a traditional Swiss fondue.

May 2, 2003 Friday - Took cog railway up to Jungfraujoch (11,000 feet).

On the way up we met a couple from Colorado. We had to get off in Wengen and wait for the next train. We walked around town for awhile and found a nice spot overlooking the valley, and the same couple was sitting there. Things were pretty slow in Wengen since this was their off-season, after skiing and before hiking. The weather was beautiful though (high sixties and sunny). The next train took us up to Kleine Sheidegg. No time to explore here, but it didn't look too interesting. They had a couple of Tee-Pees set up, very appropriate in Switzerland. The next train took us past the famous North wall of the Eiger where many climbers lost their lives. It is unbelievable that anyone could climb this shear cliff. www.climbing.ie/exped/eiger/eiger.html

Then the train entered a long tunnel inside the mountain, stopped a couple of times where views were available, and finally terminated at a station inside the mountain,just below the peak of Jungfrau mountain.

From there there were observation platforms, cafeterias, and an ice palace carved out of a glacier. The train station is at 11332 ft. altitude. The only bad thing was that the few clouds that we had that day were just a little too low and just kept hanging around the mountain top, so no view from the top. We met a couple from Pennsylvania at the top and happened to sit next to them down as far as Wengen. They're the ones who took this picture:



In the ice palace:

 

We walked around our town, Lauterbrunnen for awhile and then had dinner at the same restaurant (the only one open in town). I had rosti and another Feldschlossen.

 

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