Finally! The weather was right, the day was right, we had a $53 all-day travel pass (special deal from Coop) so we headed out early on Sunday morning for a day trip to Switzerland’s most famous and amazing Jungfrau region in the Berner Oberland. (in English: Bernese Oberland)
The only hitch in our day was that trusty Tram 6 did not arrive for the 6:38 pick-up time, so we didn’t know if we were going to make the 7:02 train at the HB, which was okay since there would be another one at 7:32. But we wanted an early jump on the day, so we scurried downhill at a quick clip and made it onto the train with a few minutes to spare. Train to Bern (Switzerland’s capital), transfer to Interlaken, transfer to Wengen with a little hop on a bus between transfers. Whew! When we got to Wengen, this was the sight we saw. H said, “We’re going up there!” Look carefully and you’ll see a gondola in the middle of the picture. I decided that my waning fear of heights would not keep me from the viewpoint above.
At the top is the ridge of Männlichen which overlooks the Lauterbrunnen Valley. The gondola whisks you up 3,000 feet in about 5 minutes. If we had hiked it, we might still be there today trying to summit. Once at Männlichen, we took the walk to the highest point. Even though there were some clouds obstructing the view, we could still see many of the amazing snow-capped mountains, including the famous Jungfrau.
After sitting and enjoying for awhile, and eating our packed lunch, we wandered the easy downhill path (like a foot highway) to Kleine Scheidegg where we had heard about some Apfelkuchen mit Rahm (whipped cream).
Although we ordered the Apfelkuchen mit Rahm at the little outdoor cafe by the train station (and we had read that it was huge and we should order only one to share), we decided that it was good, but not great. Not at all sweet (which was fine with us), it really needed some cinnamon, or something. However, that did not, in any way, discourage us from eating the entire thing.
Time for the cog-wheel train down into the valley. Beautiful views all the way down with windows wide open for great photography opportunities.
We didn’t stay in the valley very long, although we could have wandered up and down, admiring the waterfalls. Instead, we took another gondola up to Mürren. We had seen on Rick Steves about renting a bike where you would ride downhill from Mürren and then take it back up on a funicular, but then we heard that the whole ride would be about 20 minutes, so we decided to skip the ride and enjoy the views on foot. We didn’t stay too long in Mürren. It’s a cute little resort town, and if we’d not had the Apfelkuchen earlier, we might have stopped in one of the little restaurants here for some treat with a view.
Another downhill walk (dropping 1000 feet in 30 minutes) led us to the tiny, tiny town of Gimmelwald, put on the map by Rick Steves. You can see his 2-minute video on this town here. Lots of beautiful views along the way. I could not help but stop and take more mountain photos, as well as the views of the town.
At this point, we wandered to the gondola which could either take us up to the Schilthorn (made famous by James Bond) or down to the valley, and all of a sudden, I was tired. We’d been there for 6 hours (having gotten up at 6 a.m.), and although I was not ready to leave, I was ready to be home.
We know we will come back. We counted this as our time to see what was there. This is the Swiss Yosemite for us. With the valleys (we didn’t get over to the Grindelwald Valley this time) and the waterfalls and peaks, it will call us back several more times this year. Every time we leave Yosemite we tell ourselves the things we want to do when we return. On our list for a return trip to the Jungfrau region will be Tremmelbach Falls, the Jungfraujoch, the Schilthorn, valley wandering and Grindelwald.