That was what I needed: an entire weekend of 1:1 time with mama. Between our weekending of SUPing and bike riding, farmer’s marketing, shopping and baking blueberry peach crisp, she gently reminded me that I have not finished recapping our Europe vacation. How could I not finish this post series!?
Where did we leave off? Yes, that’s right… Italy, where Cinque Terre stole our hearts.
We reluctantly left sweet Sarah and her B&B and headed due north into Switzerland. It was yet another very long day of train travel, but the people we met in the train cars left lasting impressions, especially a pair of middle-aged Australian women with boisterous personalities. One of the two was on a several months-long European adventure, collecting rubber duckies (yes, yellow bathtub rubber duckies) from each city she visited for a nephew back home. Oh, was she a hoot!
A few train stations and many miles (kilometers) later, we arrived in Spiez, Switzerland: a small town on the shore of Lake Thun in the Berner Oberland region. We hadn’t heard much about Spiez prior to our trip, but we chose it for its proximity to Murren and Gimmelwald — which were high on our bucket list.
Switzerland is as fairytale-like as it is made up to be. For the three nights and two full days we were there, we must have pinched ourselves a dozen times each. Is this real life? Green hills, grazing cows, towering white-capped mountains, cheerful flower boxes, garden gnomes and red window shutters. This is real life!
After a simple dinner at our hotel’s restaurant, we got a good night’s sleep before we ventured to the touristy villages in the Swiss Alps.
After a cold breakfast of Swiss muesli and yogurt (of course!), we caught the train (of course!) towards Interlaken. From Interlaken, we caught a bus to Lauterbrunen, and from there, we rode an aerial tram (cable car) up, up, and up to Murren (which is unreachable by public road). Can I toot our own horn for mastering international public transportation?
Murren was a lot sleepier than I had expected. A few tourists here and there, but the single main street was not lively in the slightest. Some restaurants appeared open, though there wasn’t a lot of action per say. High among the iconic alps, you didn’t need anything else but wide eyes and a gracious heart. After all, the views are what you are there for. They are beyond breathtaking.
On the way up in the crammed tram, there were a few daring individuals with large packs of hang gliding gear. We learned that this was a popular place to do such, so as we sauntered through the quiet mountain villages, we watched for little parachutes against the piercing blue sky.
After moseying around Murren, we took the “hike” (a walk on a paved road) down to Gimmelwald, which we had read about in a Rick Steve’s travel guide. After admiring the petite (also traffic-free) village that is Gimmelwald, we caught the cable car back to Lauterbrunnen. We stopped at Airtime internet cafe for a bite to eat, which turned out to be gem with nutritious, mouth-watering options like the roasted butternut and apple sandwich that Mom and I devoured.
Fueled up with “good mood food”, we rode the bus and then the train back to Spiez where we wandered around town for a bit; a low-key evening and some down time was needed before Day 2 of our Swiss adventures — stay tuned!
Spiez, Switzerland on shore of Lake Thun
Our Swiss hotel on the harbor and adjacent to Schloss Spiez Castle
View of Mt. Nielsen (a.k.a. the Swiss Pyramid) from our hotel room
[sketch courtesy of Rick Steves]
Murren, Switzerland | Population: 450
Simple Swiss style
Taking a sip of refreshing, ice cold mountain water
Murren features a view of the three towering mountains: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau
Mama in Murren
Mom taking it all in as we walked down the mountain to Gimmelwald
“Ain’t no mountain high enough… ain’t no valley low enough…”
The Honesty Shop in Gimmelwald — a self-service shop with antiques, trinkets, and souvenirs
The horizontal structures seen above are for avalanche protection
“Try our good mood food!”
Airtime Internet Cafe | Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Sweet Swiss architeture in Spiez