Researching somewhere in the Swiss Alps that was not too far from Alsace for a day trip we struck gold with the “Bernese Oberland” a region that I had heard of but did not really know.
We first went to Lauterbrunnen which is most famous for its seven falls cascading down the mountains from all directions. Here we climbed up to a hill overlooking the tallest cascade, to then find that there was a tunnel through the rock that took us right behind the falls. They very kindly provided free hiking sticks at the bottom of the trail and I’m glad I took one because it was quite useful on the slippery rocks.
We then had a picnic lunch and headed to the village of Grindelwald. From here we took a little cable car up one mountain (about 1.3 km of elevation over a 30 minute trip), then a 5 km hike from one peak to another where we took the mountain train (with cogs) down to the bottom. The gondolas are self manned, you just get in and out at the station you want. The view is amazing and of course it is quite thrilling swinging around in the air so incredibly high up in the mountains. You just hope it does not break down. You can hear the cowbells and see the little chalets below as it climbs the mountain.
The trail we took was called the panorama trail and it was cloudy and misty up in the mountain tops so we did not have the big panoramas we could have hoped for. On the other hand it was beautiful and mysterious and we only crossed a few dozen hikers on the trail. I think on a busy day the view would have been better but there would have been crowds of people.
As most people know I LOVE flowers so this hike had an added bonus. The alpine meadows are absolutely full of flowers. Any botanical garden that tries to emulate this does not succeed.
An amazing day. Tolkien visited this area when he was nineteen and they say this inspired his visions of Middle Earth. Walking through the misty trails in the clouds was unforgettable.