A long journey, but totally worth it..

Trip Start Apr 12, 2008
Trip End Jun 18, 2008

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Friday, May 2, 2008

<Brian's brief chronological list of "highlights" (and of whinging)>
- Left early for a 10 hr train journey to the Swiss Alps. The Swiss Alps looked awesome and stunning with the snow capped mountains and forests. There were even patches of snow left on the ground in Murren, where we were staying for 3 nights. The cable car up to Murren gave fantastic views of the city of Lauterbrunnen below.
- Went for a walk down to the tiny town of Gimmewald... saw a few clumps of snow on the way and had a walk on it and had our first snowball fight... the snow was kinda dirty though so probably wasn't the best idea!
- Walked around the town of Murren at around sunset... it was like being in a ghost town as we were the only people walking around. Apparently most of the town people go on holidays during this time as their kids are on school holidays and the winter peak ski season is over... which shows as there are only 2 restaurants open... which are both pretty pricey!
- Ended up eating at the one opposite our accommodation, called the "Stagerstubli". The hash browns there are AWESOME... or maybe I was really hungry...
<Lang's Extended Version>
It was time for us to leave the Cinque Terre as we had pretty much seen all that we wanted, besides, we had a very early train to catch out of there this morning.. We were heading to the Swiss Alps - a place that I had always dreamt of going to ever since I was young, so I was extremely excited, despite a 10 hour train journey with 5 changes..
Our day started off at around 5.15am, when we had to get ready and at the train station by 6am to catch the train to Monterosso. From there, we changed trains and caught the next one to Milan. This journey took roughly 2 hours so I caught up on a little sleep, while Brian played on the DS..
The scenery started changing once we were across the border and it was just spectacular. Everything was so green and there were chalets scattered around the hillside, I don't think the smile left my face for the rest of the journey.
When we reached Lauterbrunnen station at around 3.30pm, we had a 3 minute connection to catch the gondola up to Murren, where we would be staying for the next 3 nights.. We just made it by a fraction of a second and OMG, the ride up was totally amazing. While the town got smaller and smaller, the snow capped alps just loomed from all sides.
The gondola stopped at Grutschalp, where we had to change to a one carriage panoramic train. This ride was even more jaw-dropping for me as on either side we could see snow covering the ground and mini-waterfalls where the snow melted and the water carved its way down the mountain.. I had my fingers crossed that there would be some snow in Murren too and when we got there, there were clumps of it here and there.. I was soooo excited!!
We checked-in at the Chalet Fontana, one of only two places open for business this time of the year and I was kinda disappointed to hear from Denise, the owner for the Chalet, that it actually snowed big fat flakes yesterday.. awww.. just missed out!! It would have been totally magical!
Anyway, Denise suggested that we walk down to Gimmelwald as it would roughly take about half an hour to walk down there, so we gave it a go.. Good old Rick raves on and on about this place in all his guidebooks, but we found it way too quiet and it the smell of manure was some what off-putting.. I guess it's that time of the year where the farmers spray fertilizer on their crops.
Oh, on the walk down, we found a nice big pile of almost fresh snow next to a small river, so went and threw snow balls at each other for a while.. It was the first time either of us had played with snow or even seen it in real life before, so we had so much fun!!
We took our time walking back up the hill and decided to have dinner at the only restaurant in Murren - Stagerstubli, which was just across the street from the Chalet. I had a goulash soup with bread, while Brian ordered and shared the pork cutlet with the Swiss specialty of hash browns (Rosti). The food was great but the prices here are just astounding!!
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