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Archive for the ‘Switzerland’ Category

Interlaken

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Interlaken is known as the gateway to Jungfrau, but for us it was the gateway to Munich and Oktoberfest. In the style of a travel guide writer like Rick Steves, our visit to Interlaken went something like this:

Need a place to relax after a day of hiking near Gimmelwald? Check out Backpackers Villa, where unlike the Mountain Hostel, showers are included and seem to have an endless supply of hot water. While you’re here, be sure to grab yourself a Rösti from Des Alpes, buy those last minute Swiss Chocolates, and book a train to Oktoberfest through the helpful ticket guy at Interlaken OST – you won’t regret it!    

Interlaken was good, but that Rösti was great!

Interlaken from our window at Backpackers Villa.

The large park/cow pasture in the city center.

Paragliders landing in the city center.

Next stop: München.

Kilchbalm

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

After Schilthorn, the night was spent in the Mountain Hostel enjoying some Swiss beer, perusing the guest book, and chatting with the hostel dwellers. While doing so, we learned about Kilchbalm and its glacier with an ice cave; our last day in Gimmelwald was planned.

Kilchbalm, a glacial cirque in the Bernese Oberland, is quite the sight to behold – mountains, glaciers, snow, waterfalls, and streams make this a stunningly beautiful place, and almost too much to take in at once.

Our two hour hike from Gimmelwald to Kilchbalm culminated at the glacier’s ice cave, where just moments before we bore witness to a “mini avalanche” literally thundering down the mountain in front of us. Since we came this far, we had to enter the cave to check it out, but since the glacier seemed like it was rapidly melting (and after just hearing snow crash down the mountain), we decided it was best not to linger.

I joined John in scrambling out of the cave after exploring some, but not before I topped off the water bottle with what tasted like some of the purest water on Earth. Water and photos in hand, we began our hike back to Gimmelwald and prepared for our trip to Interlaken.

Kilchbalm.  The glacier we hiked to is the white patch on the left.  Notice John standing in the middle for scale.

A mini avalanche that thundered down from the top of the mountain to the ground just above the glacier.

John at the entrance to the ice cave.

The ice cave.  We didn’t linger too long because the ice roof was melting fast.

John scrambling out of the ice cave.

Schilthorn and Piz Gloria

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

At 9,744 feet, Schilthorn is home to Piz Gloria and offers incredible views of the Bernese Oberland. With fresh snow and crystal clear skies, we couldn’t have chosen a better day to summit.

Piz Gloria is the world’s first revolving restaurant, but in the James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it served as Blofeld’s headquarters in the Alps. We missed the memo to join the crowds and come dressed as Bond.

John and I in front of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

Mönch and Jungfrau.

Piz Gloria - the world’s first revolving restaurant (and Blofeld’s hideout).

Schilthorn and Piz Gloria.

Mürren

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

In order to get to the cablecar for Schilthorn, John and I hiked from Gimmelwald to Mürren. Mürren is slightly larger than Gimmelwald, but the views are just as picturesque.

I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.

Near Mürren.

Mürren.

Hiking near Mürren.

The Alps from Mürren.

Gimmelwald

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gimmelwald from my friends that’ve been there, but nothing could have prepared me for that first glimpse of the Alps. John was the first to wake up and look out the dorm window, and his one word remark of “Jesus” pretty much sums it up. Gimmelwald, a small village of 130 people nestled on a cliff amidst the Alps, could possibly be the most beautiful place on Earth.

Luckily for us, the storm that just dumped fresh snow on the mountains had moved on and the weather was perfect for hiking to the nearby village of Mürren and enjoying the views from the Schilthorn. The photos below are from our hikes around Gimmelwald.

The terminator slowly passes over the green hillsides.

Sunrise over the Alps.

A paraglider over Gimmelwald.

Gimmelwald from the Kilchbalm.

All paths lead to Gimmelwald.

Downtown Gimmelwald.