Before we leave Lauterbrunnen some photo’s from around town.
Thursday we had to be out of the nice cabin and fend for ourselves again. I had a reservation up at Pension Suppenalp which was about 30 minutes hike above Murren above us. The weather forecast was cloudy with increasing chance of rain as the day progressed. Not wanting to get wet we decided to 1) leave straight away and 2) take the cable car up to Murren rather than climb the 800 meter to the town. Cable car ticket was Sfr 11 and we were whisked upwards into the mist. It’s getting cold now and we follow the little yellow Swiss hiking signs through the maze of tiny, motorless streets.
Took a wrong turn somewhere but were still headed in the right direction, in fact the GPS said we were hiking up the “river route” trail. Much more rural than the road and 30 odd minutes later we spy the pension above us and we had beaten the rain.
Open the door and we are greeted by Simon who speaks great English. Now it’s a bit tricky to describe the ambiance – Suppenalp is an old, large block building. It is cold & wet outside, not raining but everything is wet. Inside the door is the “restaurant”, a largish room with red & white plastic checker table cloths. It is low light but not quite dingy with a singular fireplace giving off heat. Thought it was wood but it would burn & not burn with a precision that could only come from a gas flame.
Simon comments we are early and I make excuses about beating the weather. Our room is through a “heat door”, that keeps the heat downstairs, up the creaky stairs to a corridor that has doors leading off. Simon rattles off, toilet, shower and a few other places and then one into our room. Three basic single beds, the European concept of a queen bed is simply two singles pushed together. There is a nice window looking to where the Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau should be but all we see is grey cloud.
Simon leaves; we unpack a bit and decide to go for a walk before it gets wetter. We poke our heads into the other doors along the corridor, we’re the only ones there and try to remember the toilet & shower doors.
Outside we head off in any direction, up a hill, meet a few other crazy souls and find a dry bench to consume the sandwiches we had. Man this is too cold and we head back to the pension. Showers are tankless gas fed, hot & plentiful. From there it is under the quilt and slouch the afternoon away. Did I mention there was WiFi? What more did we need.
Supper was at 6:30pm. We venture down at 6 and see that Simon & his cook, Bruno, have been joined by some of the locals, looks like we are the only paying guests. Select a bottle of local Swiss wine, a 500 ml bottle, and have our own little happy hour. Supper is a tasty little salad followed by Swiss Rosti, basically fried hash browns covered with molten cheese and garnished with whatever they want to. Ours had chunky bacon, onions and two fried eggs. Very filling and we had to eat a chocolate tart after it as well. Not satisfied Rose had spied Irish coffee on the menu and I had hot chocolate with rum, hell, what’s another Sfr 15 anyway.
Morning brings partly clouded skies and a 30% rain after 4 pm. We head out after breakfast with a goal of getting over Sefinenfurke pass and down to our next safe refuge at Griesalp. Invigorating to be out and sniffing out whether we are heading in the right direction. Climbing one particular steep section we notice two others gaining on us. Two Brits, father & son, are on a 5 odd day hike also headed up Sefinenfruke which is reassuring as long as we can keep them in sight. Really nice hiking, for some reason it reminded me of, I think it’s called Lost Canyon, as you ascend Sawtooth pass from the backside out of Mineral King.
Crest the pass at 1 pm with the clouds sweeping in and around us and then opening up again, like last call for the theater. Steep descent the other side with a wooden staircase & cable to assist. Steep all the way down over packed soaked scree, we stop for lunch at a nice flat rock and some local cows wander over to see what’s up.
Griesalp is a cluster of mountain chalets & hotels, I have us booked in at the NF Hostel up the roads a bit. Nice sunshine as we open the door, are greeted by Heinz and after a quick introduction I ask for a couple of beers to celebrate the moment.
It’s a real hostel type configuration but with only about 3 groups there. Our room is all wood and large enough for two beds pushed together and only accessible from the feet end. If you know what Wilderness Lodge was like up at Royal Gorge ski resort you’ve got the picture. Supper was a nice salad and this time Alpen Macaroni: Well this was penne paste, swathered in cheese, onion & cut up sausage. Followed by a fresh apple pie. This time we were content with only the 500 ml bottle of Swiss wine.
Next morning at daybreak the valley was saturated with low cloud and just above freezing temps. Not prepared for this so we scuttled any hope of hiking over Hohturli to Kandersteg and took the bus & train instead.
Looked up where we stayed in 1994, it was also raining then although we did make the hike over Hohturli. Hotel was Edelweiss, now closed.
Last day in Switzerland was a travel day as we had to take 6 trains and one Paris metro, first back to Camping Jungfrau in Lauterbrunnen to retrieve our suitcases, then to Basel where we picked up the French TGV train to Paris. Man that thing is fast. Not all the way but while blowing across the French wheat lands I though we are going at a pretty good clip. The coach has a screen with logistics on it and I do a double take as it says 311 Km per hour. Hell that’s the fastest train I’ve ever been on!
Dumped us in Gare Lyon, found the adjacent metro station downstairs and, with some assistance, bought a carnet of 10 tickets to use for our stay. Found the hotel, compact room, nice bed & shower – Let’s see what Paris has for us the next day.