Oh boy y’all. The Bernese Oberland. That slice of heaven in the Swiss Alps. It’s taken me so long to get around to this post because there were so many beautiful pictures I couldn’t bear to choose just a few. If you want all of them, just send me a message- I will be happy to oblige.
I saw a picture of a magical place called Lauterbrunnen by chance when I was still living in the United States. I’m pretty sure I audibly gasped at this Swiss village that was literally at the foot of a waterfall. I immediately sent the picture to my boyfriend telling him I had found where we were going to move in our old age. Flash forward a few months and while using a radius map to find interesting places within a two hour drive of Mulhouse for said boyfriend’s upcoming visit, I discover- Lauterbrunnen is only two hours away from me.
Lauterbrunnen means “many fountains” and this town claims 72 of them though one definitely stands out. Lauterbrunnen is the a great launching point for any adventure in the Jungfrau region and as beautiful as it is, most things happen more skyward. Two things about Switzerland in general. 1) it’s expensive 2) they don’t use Euros, even in tourist spots like Lauterbrunnen. The Swiss are proud of their Crowns. So we found some crowns (in an ATM c’mon) and after a surprisingly vegan friendly cafe lunch that was peopled with paragliders we headed off….or rather, up… to Gimmelwald.
After just a few seconds of ear-popping elevation gain we had landed in the town of Gimmelwald. Possibly the most beautiful little village no one has ever heard of. Well, unless you are a fan of Rick Steves who said “If Heaven isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald.”
Being the day after Carson had traversed six time zones to see me, I think Gimmelwald was the perfect place to relax. High up in the Alps, it is a car-free village with 120 residents and many more cows.
Though the weather was less than ideal the idyllic beauty of Gimmelwald was still staggering. After check in with the kind folks at the Pension Hotel we took off on a rainy hike to the next village over, Mürren.
Supposedly the people of Gimmelwald convinced the Swiss authorities that the town was an avalanche zone so no big resort hotels could be built there. In its place there is an air of purity and simplicity. Smoke furls from chimneys of rustic wood cabins with green shutters that dot the hills. Cowbells and sheep bleating are heard in place of cars. Bathtubs abound on the hills…for inexplicable reasons.
As the fog rolled in, the color of the grass and flowers became even more vivid. We came out of the trail and hiked back down along the (car-free) road to get to the Pension on time for supper. The owners had prepared a convivial homestyle meal for everyone in the Pension at 7 in front of the fireplace, being served whatever they made that evening. For me, it was a simple onion soup and fried alp cheese with roasted vegetables and a home-brewed dark beer.
The following morning we set the alarm clock early to check on the clouds. The first couple snoozes it was still foggy but at about 7am I could see the peaks in the mountains that had eluded us the day before. We strapped on our boots and took off! We decided not to cable car down to Lauterbrunnen but hiked instead.
Our last stop was Interlaaken. Interlaaken was somewhat less memorable than the quiet grandeur of the Swiss Alps villages yet it was still a pleasant excursion- and I found a Läderach chocolate shop that was open on a Sunday which I nearly died running across the street to get to.