Views, hikes and yodelling

Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 19, 2011

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Flag of Switzerland  , Swiss Alps,
Saturday, October 1, 2011

I sit here in Wengen on my balcony on my last night watching the sunset over Jungrfau and Siberhorn mountains. I returned for the last three nights to the part of Switzerland that I remembered so fondly on my first trip of Europe with my brother Wade. We came to Lauterbrunnen  for a few days to explore the area and I remember how much I loved it, but unfortunately I was unwell and was unable to explore it as much as I would have liked. I vowed one day to return ,to see if it was a good as I remembered and so these few days have been my chance to explore it once again.

This time I am staying in Wengen a small town above Lauterbrunnen (which is on the valley floor). It is situated with a view to Jungfrau the highest point in Europe and across the valley. As the summer season is coming to a close all of the hotels are also closing and the area is becoming a bit of a ghost town. It was a little difficult finding accommodation and during my stay restaurants closed and hotels have shut up shop on October 2nd so they take a well earned break before the Winter season. Lucky for me my swiss pass covers my trip up to some parts of the mountain with Wengen being one so I have no extra expense for the small cog train that takes me up.

I spent my first afternoon doing some small hikes around Wengen to some look out points over the valley. I didn't want to do too much as I had planned to do a few couple of hour hikes over the next few days.

 I saw when I arrived in  town signs for Jondelbend, which means a yodelling night, I thought it could be interesting and boy was I right. After dinner I wandered down to the school(yes there is a school in town I was rather surprised as well) where I paid my entry fee and walked in, to be faced with something that resembled Oktoberfest without the drunk Australians and huge steins of beer. 99percent of the people were local but I managed to sit at the only table with some English people who live in Wengen for a few months each year. I thought the night was going to be a couple of hours of entertainment. How wrong I was it apparently was to go to 2am with groups from the region showing their stuff and telling dirty jokes(so I am told as they were in swiss german), interval of bratwurst and beer and wine to go round. The people I was sitting with were kind enough to share their drinks with me and so begun a fantastic night of fun. The yodelling groups were fantastic, all in traditional dress and consisted of  a quartet,  the local wengen group which had women in it and the best group, a group of men that as part of their dress all appeared to have a long dangling earring and vaguely resembled pirates. I am glad I went and actually was able to experience a  real yodelling experience rather than a tourist one.  I never quite made it to 2am but I thought 12:30 was a pretty good effort.

The next morning I was up early to get the cable car from Wengen up to Mannlichen where I planned on hiking to Klein Scheidegg for a fantastic view of Jungfrau, Eiger and the Monch.  I left pretty early and found the trails rather quiet.  Before heading off on the trail, at the top of the cable car you can walk up to the highestt point to get a fantastic view across the lakes, the valley and to the peaks. Le’ts just say the walk was a heart starter and I sounded like a steam engine as I climbed the steep gradient. Thankfully the hike I had planned for today was up on the high alpine pass and pretty flat most of the time and once I was on the trail I had a chance to take in the fantastic views. The hike has fantastic views of the mountains and I also witnessed a big chunk of ice breaking off and falling below near Jungfrau which is 4158m. I heard an almighty crack and boom and actually thought it was a jet or something but it was actually a cascade of ice. Was pretty awesome to see.  There were tonnes of paraglider and parachuters  out and I would so love to do it one day. I didn’t see any base jumpers though and this area is well known for them. I made it to Klein Scheidegg where the train then goes up to the Jungfrau as I had done it before and it is insanely expensive I decided to pass on the trip. I did however decide to walk back to Wengen another 2 hours and little did I know quite a bit of it was to be downhill. I found this to be the hardest on the knees and my ankle.

After I made it back to Wengen,  I then caught the train down to Lauterbrunnen and the cable car up the other side to the small town of Murren. It was just beautiful and has fantastic views to the three big peaks(Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch)I wandered around the small town taking it all in. You can also take the gondola from here up to Schtilthorn where James Bond original Casino Royale was filmed. I picnicked here with a fantastic view and by then my legs were weary and it was time for a bit of a rest. So back to Wengen for a well earned hot shower and a beer.

My last day I decided to take a boat on the Brienz lake from Interlaken to visit the Ballenberg museum, a living history museum with houses and traditional ways of Switzerland. The boat trip was beautiful and the water was a gorgeous aqua blue colour , the trip takes around 1 hr 10. The trip back by train was about 20minutes. At Ballenberg you can also by bratwurst, cheese, breads and meats they make on site and even start a fire and cook it. I had a picnic and was joined by some local residents in some huge fluffy hens and a rooster who were eyeing my sandwhich off and hoping I would drop a little. After spending some time checking out the houses and various displays I got back to Wengen where I am know sitting having a local beer(0.90chf from the supermarket) on the balcony and watching the mountains change colour.( I have also just  seen a mouse run under the floor boards, god I hate mice!) I next spend the day in Lucerne on my way to Zurich where I will spend the a couple of nights.
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