Sep 112010

9/9/10 (Day 8)

(Wanderweg apparently means hiking or walking trail)

Today is a gorgeous day! We were so happy to wake up to the sun again today. We had breakfast at the lodge this morning and made sandwiches for lunch. Then we packed up and checked out of the hostel. From here on out we are staying in hotels rather than hostels.

We took our duffel bag to the train station and checked it through to Lauterbrunnen. It is so wonderful to be able to drop off a bag in one city and have them take it to the next city so we can spend the day hiking rather than hauling luggage.

We boarded the train towards Lauterbrunnen through Kleine Scheidegg and found it full of other tourists all heading for the Jungfraujoch. Today being so clear and sunny, it would have been a perfect day for the Jungfraujoch. Oh well. We got off the train at Kleine Scheidegg and started our hike here. We had a gorgeous panorama in front of us of the Eiger, the Monch, the Jungfrau, and all the other snow covered mountains to the east and west.

I took lots of photos as we started hiking in the direction of Lauterbrunnen. We could even see the Sphinx up at the Jungfraujoch. The hike mostly followed the general path of the railway and it was a beautiful hike. We had views of Lake Brienzersee and Interlaken and the Lauterbrunnen valley as well as all the surrounding mountains. The hike was all down hill, as well. From Kleine Scheidegg we hiked fairly continuously to the town of Wengen. Wengen is supposedly a car-free resort town, but we did see a few cars. I think the tour book meant that you can’t drive to Wengen…you have to walk or train.

Wengen was a cute little town with small streets, typical Switzerland houses and best of all a gondola up to the Mannlichen. We took this gondola which was similar to the Pfingstegg in that it only had 2 cars, one at the top and one at the bottom. The car fit 80 people! But we only had about 15 in ours. The ride up was fast and steep. We were very far off the ground which made for an exciting journey.

Up on the Mannlichen we were nearly on top of the world with views of both the Grindelwald valley and the Lauterbrunnen valley. We ate lunch up here and admired the panoramic views. We could see the afternoon clouds building and even some rain in the distance, but we didn’t get rained on.

Once our eyes had their fill, and we were cold enough, we took the gondola back down to Wengen and then finished the rest of our hike to Lauterbrunnen. The hike down to Lauterbrunnen was down, down, down, with lots of switchbacks. I was amazed to see people running up the other way. There is a Jungfrau Marathon in the next 2 days or so, so maybe they were still training. We should be in Lauterbrunnen for the marathon. That might be interesting. I really don’t know much about it or where it goes.

We arrived in Lauterbrunnen and stopped at the train station to grab our duffel bag. Easy! Then we walked through town to the Hotel Schutzen and took a nap. The room is decent sized, but the most notable part is the ceiling is only about 6’6″ high! It’s a Joanna-sized room. Mark has to duck under doorways and if he stands on tip-toe he will knock his head into the ceiling. The window overlooks the main street and we can see the train going up the mountain to Wengen.

We walked around the main street in the town and found it to be smaller than Grindelwald even though it looks larger than Grindelvald. I think there are just more residential or time shares in Lauterbrunnen. We decided to eat at Hotel & Restaurant Oberland. We each had a type of Rosti which may or may not be a Switzerland dish depending on how you read the menu. Anyway, a rosti is basically grated potatoes with a swiss cheese on top with a variety of toppings. It was very good. We had yummy desserts as well.

During dinner the rains came and we sat happily underneath the overhang watching the rain. The rain finished by the time we left, so all was timed perfectly. Hopefully tomorrow will be another gorgeous day like today. It was in the 50s today which, when hiking, is a decent temperature.

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