Berner Oberland, Switzerland

Trip Start Jun 14, 2008
Trip End Jul 02, 2008

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Switzerland-Bernese Oberland-Lauterbrunnen- Wengen 2008

I have been coming to the Berner Oberland since 1993, when my friend Tom and I visited the European continent for the first time. We had followed a young travel writer, Rick Steves, and his raves for this region.  We stayed in Lauterbrunnern and after that first visit I was hooked. I have been back over 15 times over the years.

I arrived in Wengen around 3:30 pm and took in the view from my balcony. The view of the 13,500 foot Jungfrau mountain is always breathtaking. Settled in and out for dinner of pork steak, the service was lousy. Too many patrons and one waiter. Up into the mountains in the morning.

Tuesday morning and I purchased a 3 day pass for unlimited travel on rail, cable cars, gondolas and funiculars in the region. The Mannlichen cable car is just across the street from the hotel. Rising over the valley and then up a sheer rock face, it is a good way to start the adventure in the Alps. A hike from the top of the Mannlichen to Kleine Sheidegg is around three miles and mostly downhill. I headed out stopping to take pics and videos. A view of the North Face of the Eiger is with you the whole of the hike. It is amazing to look at the Eiger and imagine how crazy people must be to actually climb the Face. It is a sheer straight up rock face. After an hour and twenty minutes I reached Kleine Sheidegg and trained back down to Wengen. Rested and then took the train down to Lauterbrunnen where the Horner Bar awaited me.

I have visited the Horner ever since coming to Lauterbrunnen. The manager Angie has become a good friend over the years. Angie is from The Netherlands and makes Lauterbrunnen her home. She was written up in Rick Steves travel blog last year as he visited the Horner on his annual European travels. Our friendship blossomed around 10 years ago when Charlie and I were there. We were the only two in the bar and struck up a lengthy conversation. She asked if we had a car, we said no, and she asked if we would like to have her show us around to places that are not reached by train. We agreed at 5:00 pm the next day. Charlie and I had a major hike that next day and lost track of time and how long it would take to get back to Lauterbrunnen. Arriving at the hotel a 4:55 pm, we showered and were ready by 5:00. Angie showed up, took us around the area and we treated for dinner on a terrace overlooking Lake Brienz and had a great time. It is now automatic that I stop and say hi when in town. Angie was there when I arrived, we caught up and then I headed out for dinner. Good dinner, but slow service again. missed one train to Wengen because of it, but on vacation in Switzerland, who cares?!!

Wednesday morning up the Mannlichen cable car again. This time at the top I took a gondola to Grindelwald. It is the longest gondola ride in Europe. Takes a half hour then wandered through Grindelwald to the lift to First. About a twenty minute ride I reached the top to great views and hiked down to Grosse Sheidegg. Hike took an hour and 30 minutes then a great bus ride down to Grindelwald. Train up to Kleine Sheidegg and then down to Wengen. Dinner, service good tonight, then to the room to watch the Germany-Turkey semi final of the Euro 2008. Germany 3-2. Thunderstorm came through and cooled it off a little. We will see what tomorrow bring.
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