One of the things we had all experienced since arriving in Paris, and perhaps those of us who had arrived several days before, was rain. Every. Single. Day. At first, I thought it was charming but, geez, after a while, let up already! By the time I had arrived in Paris, I was already on my second umbrella!
Somebody must have heard our requests and prayers because it was a simply glorious day when we arrived in Lauterbrunnen…YAY!!! Of course, did I take a lot of pictures of the town? Nooooooo! I must have gone brain dead because of my discovering that my room was on the third floor (in U.S. terms, that means the fourth floor) and besides getting the room with bunk beds, my room didn’t have a shower OR a bathtub! The woman at the front desk told me that my shower was next to the pool, which meant that I was supposed to go down four flights of stairs, walk past the front desk (in my p.j.s?), go down the hall, and up a flight of stairs to the shower! OK, I am admitting to being a total crybaby upon hearing that. Thankfully, Sandro, our bus driver, volunteered to exchange his pink hotel room with mine. That was one of the nicest gestures around. I will always remember his act of kindness.
We had had a long day already so some of us opted to eat at our hotel and we ate fondue for dinner. It was delicious!
The fast-moving hand on the left was Rick’s, who dined at our table with his wife, Lori. Also, there was Jolene, graciously holding the fondue fork for me, her sister, Julie, and their friend, Denise. It was a fun night!
Most of us opted to take the hiking route from Lauterbrunnen to the gondola (I think that’s what they called them…hey, I’m going with it!) to Grutschalp, hiking on what we thought would be a flat path (uh, it wasn’t!) to Murren.
You might not be able to tell because Sue is holding both walking sticks, but Bob’s walking stick is longer than Sue’s. (Sue will be the only one who will laugh at this comment.) ;)
I think that the owners of this house can claim to have the most stunning view from their bedroom window.
We made it to Murren!
From Murren, we had the option of continuing up to the beautiful overlook at Schilthorn, which was (and, I bet, still is!) at 10,000 feet elevation, or we could either take a gondola or hike down to Gimmelwald before heading to Stechelberg. From Stechelberg, we could either take the post bus back or walk back to the valley floor to Lauterbrunnen. Are you confused yet? That’s where all of the adorable Swiss houses and farm animals were, and it was a walk that I wanted to do. OK, I’m admitting to wanting to see the cows being herded home with the huge cowbells hanging off their necks so I could title the photo “More cowbell!” (Mom and Dad, that’s from an old and hilarious Saturday Night Live skit.) I was dying to take the gondola to Schilthorn but chose not to because I would have to go alone.
So if you go into a small market and pick up a refrigerated sandwich and a bottled water and then eat it on a wooden bench, can you officially call that picnicking? If not, then I will lie to you and tell you that we strapped woven wooden baskets filled with meats, cheeses, wine and a red checkered tablecloth on our backs and ate our lunch on a grassy mountainside! And I bet that Julie would have wanted to play, naturally, Julie Andrews. Trust me on this. ;)
I made a decision….we need to redesign our L.A. drinking fountains to look like the above.
So we then took the next gondola down to Gimmelwald and as we wandered around, Sue and I began wondering where the town was because there weren’t any gift shops. All we saw were homes! We realized that we are so conditioned to seeing tourist shops when we travel that we weren’t appreciating a simple and beautiful Swiss town whose townspeople have chosen to hold their traditions close to their heart and not cave in to creating a cheesy tourist trade. Here is their definition of a cheesy tourist trade. (I swear to you that I didn’t realize my pun until after I wrote it.)
By this time, I’m sure that Sue was sick of me whining about my wanting to see Schilthorn. I was gently chastised by a local homeowner because I hadn’t taken the gondola up to see Schilthorn on a rare beautiful bright day. When I asked him whether it would still be clear for me when I got to the top (the weather there changes quickly), the man answered, “I am not a prophet, and the mountains have no religion.” So up I went to take the gondola to Schilthorn, alone if I had to, but Diane and Paul, another couple from the tour, joined me to the top. The three of us, along with a ton of other pushy tourists, took four gondolas, from Gimmelwald to Murren to Birg to Schilthorn.
I have absolutely no IDEA what these signs mean, but the beauty of my blog is that I can put up any old photo, and I can interpret it any way I want! I will pretend that it means that if you slip and fall over the side of Schilthorn, the times indicated on the sign shows how long it will take for you to fall to your death, depending upon the town your lifeless body finally lands in. Stechelberg is at the bottom of the valley so falling all the way to there would hurt for the longest amount of time. In other words, don’t slip and fall over the side of Schilthorn. That would be very, very bad.
The woman on the far right is laughing because she obviously didn’t see the sign!
We finally descended back down the gondolas to return to Lauterbrunnen.
We made it back to the hotel!
Such a beautiful area of Switzerland. And I was there!