Mannlichen and First

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Saturday, October 6, 2012

We woke up early and caught the bus in to Lauterbrunnen. From there we caught the train up to Wengen and then a gondola up to Männlichen. We enjoyed the ride up looking at the town below. You could see where there had been an avalanche years before because they had not re-built in that area. There was a walk described in our guidebook that sounded beautiful and it was an amazing day out once again. We set off from the Männlichen station which was on a ridge and we had great views down valleys on either side. The blueberry bushes were a beautiful red colour and every time we came around a corner there seemed to be more and more bushes. They grow very low to the ground over here, not like the tall bushes at home, so it looks like a carpet of red stretching out in front of you.

We wound our way along a nice wide trail gradually making our way down to Kleine Scheidegg, the station we had transferred at to go up the Jungfraujoch. We walked along the side of the ridge which faced Grindelwald, our destination for later in the day. There were several ski lifts along the way and we could picture all the skiers flying down the slopes. As we neared Kleine Scheidegg we had an incredible view of the Eiger straight ahead and it was really hard to imagine people scaling its sides. We stopped along the way for a good 20 minutes to enjoy the view and of course, take a bunch of photos. Afterwards we walked along a little more quickly to catch the train leaving at 11:33 and to have more time for the afternoon's adventures. We arrived at the train station and hopped on with only 3 minutes to spare.

On the way down to Grindelwald, the colours were absolutely amazing. We passed by several pockets of trees which had amazing fall colours. Anoop was super excited about the views with all the colours in front and rushed to the front of the train to take pics out of the windows (they could open at the front for better shooting opportunities). Once we reached the bottom we walked through town for about 10 minutes and then caught the gondola up to First.

The gondolas could seat 6 people, but there weren’t too many people so we had one to ourselves. The ride was really neat because it had 2 stations along the way. The gondola would slow down, the doors would open and if you wanted to get off, you could. If not, you continued on, the doors closed and you zipped up to the next one! On the last leg we could watch people zip-lining down from the top. It was only a 45 second ride, but they got going really fast! On the way up we enjoyed our sandwiches and the views all around. Anoop also realized that he had lost his sunglasses somewhere on the way – perhaps on the walk earlier or perhaps on the train.

Once at the top we had amazing views once again. This time we were further away from the 3 peaks which we could see in the background. Instead, we had a different set of peaks greeting us. Our destination this time was the Bachalpsee (or "The Lake" as it was labelled on a directional sign), a lake about 45 minutes away. We had seen it in lots of brochures and thought it looked like a beautiful spot to visit. Seeing as we had gained an extra day by not using our pass for the Schilthorn, we considered the whole day a bonus.The walk was beautiful, although much busier than any paths we had chosen before. It was a gently rolling path and we were amazed at how much more difficult the uphill seemed than hikes we had done in the Vosges, even though it was easier! We kept saying we didn’t think we’d gotten so out of shape, but we decided it was definitely just the altitude making the difference. We arrived at the lake which really was beautiful. It was a clear blue colour with a bit of a ripple from the wind. The mountain peaks looked amazing in the background! We hoped for a break in the wind so that we could catch the mountains reflecting in the water, and were lucky enough to see them for a very brief moment. We sat down to enjoy an iced tea and a few cookies for a snack while enjoying the view. There were lots of backpackers around us who had done the hike from Schynige Platte where we had been the day before and there were lots of day-trippers who had wandered up the same way we had. Everyone was admiring the view and relaxing on the grass or benches. We were also amazed at how many wildflowers were still in bloom – we kept seeing purple patches here and there so I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer. It was still fairly windy so we decided to head back before we got too cool. We headed back down to Grindelwald, picked up a few groceries, and then caught the train down the valley and then up the other valley to Lauterbrunnen. Anoop checked with both train stations, but unfortunately no one had found his sunglasses. Regardless, we had an incredible day and were so lucky to have had beautiful weather for 4 out of the 5 days we were in the area.
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