Today is the last day of our Alps vacation. It has been a fascinating week. We have spent a lot of time hiking. We took the train down the mountains to Interlaken, and took an afternoon cruise on Thunersee (Lake Thun). I hope the week was relaxing for Julie. Other than the week we went back to the US at Christmas, this has been her only week off since we moved here. Julie has always been a very dedicated and hard working employee, but the last two years has been incredibly hard. Getting ready for the sale of Bemis, and not knowing what was going to happen with her job, made 2018-2019 stressful, and then dealing with the move and getting the new company straightened out 🙂 has made 2019 – 2020 every bit as challenging.
After visiting Lauterbrunnen, we decided to go up. Tuesday we went up the First and took a hike to Bachalpsee and had lunch.
It takes about 30 minutes by Gondola to get from the bottom of the mountain to the top. We were able to have a very pleasant trip with two Gentlemen from Geneva that were also spending a few days here. I think Julieś favorite part of the ride was getting to pet a dog again. One of the gentlemen brought his golden retreiver along. Upon arriving at the destination, your first adventure is the cliff walk. This is a 3 foot wide metal walkway attached to side of the cliff, and you get a little taste of rock climbing. Well kind of a taste, because there is no effort other than walking, and you are in absolutely no danger, but Julie was a little freaked out by the experience, and did not want to stop touching the cliff. I guess she has a little fear of heights! After taking the path Julie stayed at the restaurant and had a stiff drink, while I grabbed my GoPro and took the walk again. I will be editing the video down a little next week, and sharing it with you!
Side note. I am sitting here writing this, and realizing that sometimes I really do not like technology. 🙂 I think I am going to have to have a third post, because a bunch of the pictures are stuck between my iphone and the cloud! I bring three cameras with me everywhere we go. I have the iphone, a Sony Digital camera, and a GoPro for video. It is really easy to sync the pictures from the Digital Camera, the GoPro, and my Google Chromebook (this is my travel computer). However, Apple doesn play well with other infrastructures, so I have to use my iCloud account download the pictures from the iphone. Well, I forgot that iCloud does not sync off of data, and the wifi at the hotel leaves a lot to be desired, so there are about 250 more pictures on my iphone that I can get put in the blog. I should probably take more time, and go through weeding out pictures, but I do not pretend to be a proffessional the intent is to share. So you get them all!
Back to the trip: One thing that is really different here, is that outside you see many elderly people out hiking. The trip to the lake is a little over 4 miles round trip. Up and down some pretty steep climbs, but I would estimate at least 1/2 the people on the walk were over the age of 65. It gives me a lot of hope for our next 30 years! I also got a kick out of the young parents pushing strollers, and carrying kids on their backs. I kept thinking, ¨I really do not miss those days.” That is hard work. Most of the snow was gone, but on the north side of the mountains there were some remnants left, and when I get the pictures synced, I will share some of Julie and I walking on the snow.
On Wednesday, we went even higher. Jungfrauberg (Mount Jungfrau) is one of the highest mountains in Switzerland. It also has the distinction of having the highest elevation for a train station in Europe. We caught a train in Grindelwald, and went all the way up. The trains are kind of fascinating to me. I know they exist in the US, but here cogwheel trains are pretty common. The mountains are to steep for a traditional train, so a cogwheel train has the drive part in the center of the train, and the cogs drive the train up the tracks, and the wheels are there for the most part purely to keep the train on the track.
It takes about an hour and a half to get all the way up the mountain. at the top you are at 11,000 feet. Julie kept complaining that she was feeling woozy. I tried to explain to her about altitude sickness, but I do not think she really grasped it until we were back down the mountain. She kept telling me that one second she was feeling strange, but all of a sudden she felt great. 🙂 The Jungfrau is high enough the snow stays year around. There are a lot of people that bring skis with them on the trip. That seems like a little to much work to me, though, because you can only ski so far down, and then you have to walk back up to ski down again. 🙂 Though if we get the chance to go skiing this coming winter, I think I want to come back here. The ski slopes looked amazing. They are building a new high speed gondola, that will take you from Grindelwald about 3/4 of the way up the mountain in 1/2 the time it takes the train. Most of the people going to the top go for a long hike on top of the glacier, but with Julieś hurt knee we decided not to take that trek. So instead we sat on the glacier and enjoyed hot chocolate and Baileys. (Personally I think we made the smarter decision, but to each their own.)
After spending two days up high, we decided on a change of pace. We are about 30 minutes away from Interlaken, so we took the train all the way down the mountains, and took a lake cruise on Thunersee (Lake Thun). The lake stretches 11 or 12 miles from Interlaken to Thun. The lake is about 2.5 miles wide, and the AVERAGE depth is 440 feet. We got in a little trouble on the cruise, because I convinced Julie to go up and sit on the first class deck. I pretended not to know any German, so the deck hand was actually very nice in explaining to us that we were in the wrong spot. 🙂 Honestly, though it did not make much sense to me. One wooden bench is as uncomfortable as the next one. It was a very relaxing day, the different scenery was still breathtaking. I was very impressed with the road engineering.
So today we are taking our last hike. We have decided to take the gondola to the top of the First and we are going to hike down. We thought about doing it the other way, but that sounded much harder.
I hope you enjoy this batch of pictures. I will get some more up when we get back to Rüshlikon. Next week I will have some video to add as well.